Global Eats: Hong Kong-Style Milk Tea

Hong Kong-style milk tea

If someone were to ask me what the taste of Hong Kong would be, I’d close my eyes and say with a smile, “Milk tea.”

Not just any ordinary milk tea, mind you. The only milk tea worth having in Hong Kong is Hong Kong-style milk tea, where evaporated or condensed milk is used. This style of tea is also referred to as “silk stocking” or “pantyhose” milk tea as traditionally, silk stockings were used as filters for the tea leaves. Nowadays, a sackcloth bag is used. This filtering system purportedly makes the tea taste smoother.

Milk tea is ubiquitous in Hong Kong cafes (“cha chaan tengs”) and the mixture of tea leaves used are a closely guarded secret by each establishment that serves it. (It’s usually a mix of pu-erh and ceylon.) Served hot or cold, milk tea is delicious on any given day. In Hong Kong, milk tea holds the same status that coffee does in the West. Milk tea is frequently overlooked by foreigners or tour guides in favor of traditional Chinese tea or high teas. Oddly enough, I’m okay with that; it just means more milk tea for myself and the locals!

The recipe below is a cheat’s version of Hong Kong-style milk tea, as I definitely don’t have access to any closely guarded recipe blend of tea leaves. (I also don’t fancy wrangling with silk stockings over my stove top.) Taking that into account, this is as close as I can get to my beloved milk tea without actually going to Hong Kong and dining at a cha chaan teng.

Hong Kong-Style Milk Tea

Ingredients

  • Two tea bags of a strong, plain black tea (e.g. Lipton black tea, English Breakfast, etc)
  • Evaporated or condensed milk
  • Ice (optional)
  • Sugar (optional)

Directions

  1. Put the two tea bags in a mug. Add boiling water and let steep for two to three minutes.
  2. Remove tea bags. Add evaporated or condensed milk to taste. Stir and add sugar if needed.
  3. If serving iced milk tea, fill a glass with ice and pour the tea over the ice cubes.

Link Love, Vol. 70

link love

A quick scroll through my Instagram and Facebook feed tells me that fall is here, if the copious amounts of pumpkin picking photos have anything to do with it. I’m no exception; I went to a pumpkin patch and apple orchard with a group of girlfriends and had a blast. Not only did I pick a pumpkin, but I also came home with copious amounts of preserves and fresh produce from the farm. I may be a city girl at heart and break out in hives at the thought of living in suburbia, but sometimes, it’s good to go to the countryside for a great afternoon.

In addition to getting in touch with my inner fall farm girl, I got back into the kitchen to experiment with a few recipes for Global Eats. My feelings towards being in the kitchen are still complicated for reasons I can’t quite understand, but hey, baby steps.

Life
So much love to my girl Sweeney for having the strength and courage to write this.

Nostalgia for the cheaper stuff, indeed. Two nights ago I made a Kraft dinner and I have no regrets.

I’ve drifted apart from my fair share of friend groups over the years, so Kristin’s take on friendship nailed it for me.

“The Names They Gave Me” is just about the best thing I’ve read online in a long, long time. Phenomenal writing and a story that left me choking back tears.

Love
It takes two to tango but the tango won’t ever come together if you don’t first know how to choose you, as Carley reminds us.

Online
ADORED Chelsea’s post on the neverending bullshit that is fashion blogging. ADORED IT.

As someone who also started out blogging before the world of monetization and social media, I loved Kerri’s post on why she still blogs.

Work
Couldn’t agree more with Erika’s three simple ways to be happier at work, particularly #1.

Electronics I Want

electronics

I am notorious for using my electronics to the point of where they start failing before I upgrade to a newer model. Case in point: my iPod Classic was seven years old before it finally bit the dust and it took me three years to upgrade my old smartphone despite it not being able to do much else besides make calls in its last few months of life.

There’s something about electronics that make me wary of handing over my credit card immediately, even if I legitimately do *need* the gadget. It probably has something to do with the higher price tags; it’s harder to justify hundreds of dollars as an impulse buy! Still, I’ve got my eye on a mix of electronics. Some of them are wants, some of them will likely become needs soon as my current gadgets die out, but all of them have price tags that make me (and my wallet) weep.

MacBook

I’m undecided if I want the Air or Pro, although I’m leaning Pro. Either way, the price tag on any MacBook model makes me, and my wallet, want to run for the hills. I’ll need to decide which one I want soon as my current laptop is approaching seven years old and sounds like an airplane readying for takeoff every time I use it. I briefly considered a Chromebook, but after weighing the pros and cons I think a MacBook is what I want/need so unfortunately I’m stuck with the high price tag.

Canon PowerShot SX60 HS

I have a nice point and shoot camera that doesn’t get nearly enough action since my smartphone has a camera with the same amount of megapixels. However, I have been considering upgrading my digital camera to a higher end model. My eye is on the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS. I don’t want to invest in a dSLR because my so-so interest and skills in photography don’t warrant that type of purchase, but a higher-end digital camera is a nice stepping stone into the world of photography. Maybe that will mean I’ll finally be able to share nicer photos on this blog and shoot higher quality videos for my YouTube channel!

FitBit

The Asian Pear will have a conniption if I ever invest in a FitBit as she’s very astutely pointed out that I have other needs that warrant the $99 price tag each time I’ve talked to her about potentially getting one. But I can still daydream about getting one! She’s right though, I don’t NEED to splurge on what is essentially a fancy pedometer. However, I’d like to think that it would be motivation for me getting my butt off the couch and getting those steps in for the day.

Kindle Paperwhite

I have a trusty Kindle that I won in a giveaway Nicole hosted a little over a year ago that I love and use almost every day. But sometimes I fantasize about getting the Kindle Paperwhite. Usually, this happens when I want to keep reading yet am in a situation where all of the lights are off! I truthfully won’t ever be able to justify any new Kindle model while I have a perfectly reliable and functional Kindle in my possession, but a girl can dream.

iPod Classic

APPLE DOESN’T EVEN MAKE THESE ANYMORE! *sob, sob* My last iPod Classic lasted me seven years, a remarkable feat in iPod history. A quick glance on the Apple website shows that they only make iPod Touches now, which I have about zero interest in. My smartphone plays music, as does my old iPhone 3G that I’ve been using as a paperweight for the last couple of years. Those’ll do for now, although I would love a new iPod Classic…

How to Beat Jet Lag

How to beat jet lag

When I left for my trip to Hong Kong to see family, some friends expressed concern at whether or not I had built in enough time during my stay to beat jet lag.

“Is 10 days going to be enough to enjoy your time there while also adjusting to the time difference?” they’d ask.

To which my response would be a laugh and say, “Oh, please. I don’t suffer from jet lag when flying between Hong Kong and the States.”

Of course, none of my friends believed me and/or thought I was crazy. To which I say shun the nonbeliever, because it’s true that I don’t really suffer from jet lag after the arrival day in a new timezone! Sure, the day (or night) that I land, there usually is some disorientation. But after the first night’s sleep, I’m usually good to go. Such was the case when I arrived in Hong Kong, as well as upon my return to the States.

My secret to beat jet lag is laughably simple.

DON’T TAKE A NAP.

It’s that simple. Seriously.

Follow the new timezone immediately. Forget about what time it is back home. And above all, don’t nap. Even if this means you would be putting yourself at risk of falling asleep standing up while waiting for on the platform for the Tube in London. (Ahem.)

RELATED: My best packing tip

Is the day of arrival going to be rough after a big timezone change? Most likely, although the severity of that depends on a combination of whether or not sleep was achieved while en route and the time of arrival in the new place, as well as the actual difference in time. I slept decently for my 20+ hour flights to and from Hong Kong, and I landed in the afternoon and early evening, respectively. Both times, I stayed awake till 10 p.m. before crashing for the night, and woke up the next morning at 8 a.m. after a solid night’s sleep.

So yep, my best tip to beat jet lag is to not take a nap. Actually, that’s my only tip. I have no other tips because that’s the only one anyone needs to know. It’s been proven true time and time again each time I cross timezones, which is usually at least a few times a year!

What tips do you have to beat jet lag?

My Favorite Non-English Songs

Earbuds.

I might not as knowledgeable about music as most people considering I don’t have a Spotify account and never listen to the radio, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate some good tunes. Lately, I’ve been getting back into listening to Chinese pop songs, which I listened to ALL THE TIME when I was living in Beijing. In addition to some of my favorite Chinese artists like A-Lin, Wang Lee Hom and Eason Chan, I’ve also been dabbling in a little bit of other non-English songs from other countries.

I don’t really know where to begin delving deeper into non-English songs as the ones I listen to are mainly ones I’ve encountered on my travels or in movie soundtracks. If anyone has any tips or recommendations, please send them my way! In the meantime, here are some of my current top picks for non-English songs.

Balada Boa by Gusttavo Lima (Portuguese)

Ah, the anthem of my time in Buenos Aires! Gusttavo Lima’s “Balada Boa” (nicknamed “Tchê tcherere tchê tchê” thanks to the chorus) is a song that I always, always want to get up and dance to whenever I hear it. It’s such a fun song that embodies the partying culture of South America.

我們會更好的 by A-Lin (Mandarin)

A-Lin is a fairly new discovery of mine. She’s of Aboriginal Taiwanese descent and has a voice that blows my mind away. I’m in love with her whole discography, but 我們會更好的 is a song that tugs at my heartstrings. A song about a love that should be easier and when love isn’t enough — oh, the emotions.

Quelqu’un M’a Dit by Carla Bruni (French)

I can’t help but think of (500) DAYS OF SUMMER whenever I hear this song. (Oh, Tom and Summer.) I had no idea Carla Bruni had a music career before I heard this; I’ve been very impressed with her body of work in music. But this one, I think, is still my favorite song of hers, and one of the first ones that come to mind when I think of French music. (I also don’t know much about French music.)

富士山下 by Eason Chan (Cantonese)

Ah, Eason. My favorite Canto/Mandopop artist ever! Truthfully, I would recommend anything he sings but I’ve chosen a Cantonese song for this post, chiefly because he’s from Hong Kong and, first and foremost, is a Hong Kong pop star. This song is a beautifully slow song that always tugs at my heartstrings. I’m not totally sure what the meaning is behind this song (oops), but it still makes my heart ache. Love it.

Sorry Sorry by Super Junior (Korean)

My first introduction to K-pop was the group Super Junior. While I grew to become more familiar with their Mandarin equivalent, Super Junior M, when in Beijing, Super Junior was still a popular pick at the many KTV parties that filled my year abroad. I’m still in awe of the music video, although I understand that the many elements in it that wow me are standard are in K-pop.

心跳 by Wang Lee Hom (Mandarin)

To me, 心跳 is a song that is the quintessential embodiment of a sappy Mandopop love song. (Well, Guang Liang’s 童话 might take the cake in that regard.) Either way, I love the music in this song, particularly the piano intro. I go back and forth as to what my favorite Lee Hom song is, but this one is pretty high up there.

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