Macau's Best Milk Tea

In my Column for Macau Closer last month, I wrote about my favourite spots for milk tea – the pièce de resistance of the cha chaan tengs (local diners).

milk tea

The Cantonese traditional milk tea is available on the menu of all local diners across Hong Kong and Macau- a thick and freshly brewed tea poured on top of evaporated full cream milk with almost the same brew technique, with slight variations. My favourite part is watching the very old school establishment brew it, with hot water from charred kettles probably a few decades old that used to sit on charcoal fires. These days hot water is dispensed from the electric boilers.

Over the last 16 months, I’ve wandered into many Cha Chaan Tengs and have always ordered a milk tea to start and found four wonderful places that serve great milk tea in different styles, but their provenance without doubt from the region.

Kum Ma Lun serves up delicious freshly baked egg tarts and local confectionary over milk tea made with a “tea sock” which gives the drink a finer smoother consistency than if brewed without a sock. My local friends strongly agree that Café Vong Kei in Old Taipa Village serves up a good cuppa milk tea.

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Dumpling Town, round the corner from Livraria Portuguesa serves up delicious noodles and dumplings (my favourite the chicken satay with diced celery), but it is their almond milk tea that tugs at my heartstrings. Almond plays a large role in the culinary scape in Macau, with the famous almond cookies and this variation with unsweetened almond milk in place of evaporated milk distills the very best of its essence in a thick cup of tea. They serve them cold as well – perfect for a summer drink.

Yee Shun Milk Company made is name in Hong Kong for its double skinned milk pudding, but originates from Macau and the same shop stands in the same location. While many make the pilgrimage here for the milk pudding – which I am not a fan of at all, their milk tea served alongside caramelized condensed milk (upon request as you battle the grumpy old ladies), exactly like Dulce de leche giving your milk tea that extra kick.

Finally, at Maquette a cosy bistro in Taipa by chef proprietor Maggie Chiang, a Cordon Bleu trained Macanese who lived abroad and missed the traditional milk tea so much, she re-created the “Exotic Milk Tea” to satisfy her daily morning “spiritual drink” routine while living in Italy.

“This habit was difficult to fulfill when I was living in Italy, with no intense tea leaves and evaporated for a Hong Kong-style milk tea. As I was craving for it everyday, I searched for similar tea leaves when I was in London, I found some good ones and with these special teabags and fresh milk so I can get it anywhere, it became my own Hong Kong European style milk tea, using local and European ingredients and secret spices.”

milk tea ice cream

And if you’re up for milk tea in another form, Jade Dragon‘s Petit Fours come in assorted ice cream flavours and one of them is milk tea!

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