Saturday, July 31, 2010

Teh Bungkus

Indonesians and Malaysians love plastic. Well, maybe they don't love it, they just seem to use a whole lot of it! And, they are the masters of tying plastic knots for all of your food and drink to-go needs. One of my favorite morning activities in Indonesia was to wake up, take a long walk, and bring along teh bungkus. Bungkus means wrap or package, and teh bungkus translates more or less into "tea to go". Any street stall or warung will set you up with your very own teh bungkus.

Now, here is the really unique part. The tea comes in a plastic bag, that you drink out of, with a straw! Ever sipped hot tea with a straw? I hadn't until these past months, but it's actually not so bad. You get used to it quickly, and it helps me to savour my tea.

In Indonesia, you order "satu teh panas bungkus" ("one hot tea to go"). You will be presented with a lovely plastic bag, filled with a hot and sweet jasmine tea just begging to be enjoyed on your morning stroll!
Teh Bungkus from a small stand in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia

In Malaysia, you want to ask for "teh tarik bungkus satu" ("one pulled tea to go"). Teh Tarik is a specialty of Malaysia and Singapore. It's a black tea sweetened with sugar and condensed milk, then strategically pulled from heights of up to one meter, transferred between two glasses to achieve a frothed and bubbly top to the tea. My favorite teh tarik came from the mamak stall down the road from my hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

The infamous teh tarik!

Thanks for reading!

The Tea Gastronomer

1 comment:

  1. You're right-we are experts at tying the tops of the plastic bags into snug little knots! So novel!

    What a fun and delicious way to rev up your morning....