The best way for me to test the authenticity and taste of a Hong Kong Café is the tea they serve. It is somewhat of a ‘litmus test’ my friends and I have devised to distinguish the many shops due to the flourishing ‘Cha Can Teng’ emergence in Singapore over the past two years.
Hong Kong-style milk, also known as ‘silk stocking milk tea’ is known for its darker brown colour, and thus a very slight bitter aftertaste. It also has a thickness in the texture which I would find similar to the teh tarik.
So which are my favourite HK tea here? In no particular order…
a) Old Hong Kong Tea House (available at Katong and Marina Square food court).
The signature is the Hong Kong Milk Tea, apparently made from 5 different tea leaves, filtered water and imported evaporated milk. The blend was perfect along with a smooth texture, ending off with a slight bitter tea aftertaste.
b) Central (available at Takashimaya and Vivocity).
This version comes with red beans and chin chow which makes drinking a chewy and sweeter experience. Strange it may sound, it combines the best of both world of chendol and tea.
c) Crystal Jade (available at Liang Seah opposite Bugis).
The Ice Milk Tea ($2.50) claims to come with ‘magic cubes’ – which is actually frozen cubes of tea. So that when the ice cube melts, the tea still retains its thickness. That’s quite unlike most which becomes overly diluted after minutes. A smart idea.