|Place of origin||Malaysia|
|Region or state||Southeast Asia|
|Created by||Indian immigrants in Malay Peninsula|
|Serving temperature||Hot, Cold|
Teh tarik (literally "pulled tea") is a popular hot milk tea beverage most commonly found in restaurants, outdoor stalls and kopitiams within the Southeast Asian countries of Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Its name is derived from the pouring process of "pulling" the drink during preparation. It is made from a strong brew of black tea blended with condensed milk. It is the national drink of Malaysia.
Teh tarik is formed by two languages: "Teh" which means "tea" and "tarik" which means "pulled". The word "Teh" for tea originates from Hokkien word 茶 tê for tea, the word "Tarik" for pulled originates from Malay.
The origins of teh tarik can be traced to Indian Muslim immigrants in the Malay Peninsula who set up drink stalls at the entrance of rubber plantations after World War II to serve the workers there. Since colonial times, teh tarik has been a popular Malaysian Indian cuisine for many in British Malaya and Singapore. Traditionally, teh tarik has been seen served with the Roti canai which is a popular breakfast set among Malaysians.
An element of showmanship exists in the preparation of teh tarik. The ability to drag a long stream of tea above the heads of the patrons without giving them a shower is an amusing novelty for the locals and tourists alike. In Malaysia, there are occasions where teh tarik brewers gather for competitions and performances to show their skills. Teh tarik has become recognised along with nasi lemak as part of the food and beverage heritage of Malaysia by the Malaysian government ministry.
The mixture is poured back and forth repeatedly between two vessels from a height, giving it a thick frothy top. This process cools the tea to optimal drinking temperatures, thoroughly mixes the tea with the condensed milk, and improves its flavour. This is often compared to the decanting of toddy to enhance its flavour.
Locally and regionally sourced tea used for teh tarik are not of the highest grade. Despite the strong aroma from the common Ceylonese variety, the taste is rather acrid and generally would not go well with a little cream or fresh milk like other fine tea. Hence condensed milk is used to balance any overpowering taste with its creamy and sweet flavour.
The term kurang manis, which can be translated to "less sweet", is a common request for those who are health conscious or not fond of sugary drinks, as teh tarik is typically prepared on the sweet side to taste by most vendors.
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