Saturday, September 02, 2023


As everybody who patronizes a chachanteng knows, socks are essential to the experience. Without at least one sock, the entire adventure goes nowhere. And it pays to rinse it every few day or so. Lest it get too scrungy. As socks do when in constant use.

The other day it struck me that there are too few chachanteng in Chinatown, or places that do a decent cup of HK style milk tea. And far too many where weak milky slop with tapioca globs are sold.

[Bubble tea is crap. Why, WHY do people drink it?!?]

For Hong Kong Milk Tea you need a sock. Put about a cupful of loose tea in it -- a mixture of Keemun, Assam, Pu Erh, and rose-scented black tea is perfect -- place the sock in the first pot (you'll need two identical pots) and bring water to boil in another pot. Pour the hot water over the leaves. Light the flame under the pot, once it boils turn low and simmer. Take out the sock after a while, and place it into the second pot, pour the hot liquid in over the tea leaves. Pull out the sock, place it into the other pot, pour over. Repeat a few time. Then put the pot with the sock in it on a low flame and bring it back to a simmer. This is the actual tea.

To use, put a big spoonful or two of sweetened condensed milk in a cup or mug, small jigger regular milk, and pour the dark brew into the cup. Stir to dissolve the condensed milk and mix it into the liquid.
As you can tell from the illustration, it's a special sock.
An industrial strength sock. Big, too.

You can buy tea socks and the loopy thing with a handle you fit them on online or at a good cookware store. The socks are reusable.

[All night long I was obsessing about the dimensions of tea socks, and what to keep in mind if making them yourself.
As well as how to make a handled loop out of bendable wires or metal strips. It should fit over the mouth of the pot, and extend nearly to the bottom. Cotton, slight taper, somewhat rounded at the end. But the commercial ones with zippers and fasteners are just so much more convenient, why bother?]

The typical cup of Hong Kong Milk Tea is not a very refined brew. Strong, energizing, capable of sending a man to the moon or back to the office for four more hours of mind-numbing business drudgery. It's an energy drink, not an extended pinky drink.

It's restorative. I could really use a cup after a full day.

In an ideal universe there would be a chachanteng around the corner from my apartment. So that I could "buck up" after I get home. Or better yet, across the street from where I work, instead of the Quickie Mart with the solid and liquid garbage that the locals crave.

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