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

Friday, July 30, 2010

Angkringan: A Traditional Javanese Tea Spot

Well, I am back from Indonesia! It was an amazing two months, and although it's good to be home, I'm terribly homesick for my new home (most precisely Yogyakarta, Indonesia). From my small updates abroad, you might notice that I consumed A LOT of tea while away in Asia. It was endless. My usual three cups a day was upped to something more like six cups a day. I was certainly in tea heaven. Expect many updates over the next couple of weeks, sharing tea experiences in Indo!

One specialty of Java is the traditional Angkringkan. These teahouses are open until the wee hours in the morning. You can have a variety of hot tea and jahe (ginger) drinks along with a serve yourself buffet of food. The rooms are typically dimly lit, and it's a wonderful place to stay up chatting with friends. During my last week in Jogja, I went to Lek Min with friends Ria and Octo.
Teh Poci, Indonesia

I had the traditional teh poci. Teh poci is Indonesian for tea pot. At any angkringan, you will find teh poci on the menu. A wooden Javanese tea pot is served to you filled with hot jasmine tea. Inside your glass cup you will find a large lump of palm sugar. Be careful, if you let the sugar sit for too long your tea may become sickeningly sweet. But part of the fun is finding the right balance adding tea and sugar! I am so hooked on Jasmine tea right now, as it is the major tea in Indonesia and everyone drinks it iced and hot, daily. The teh poci was delicious and a perfect way to end a night with friends.Ria and I enjoying tea!