Sek Pau Mei

The misadventures of the heart and sometimes, the stomach.

Midnight Supper Series: Teh Tarik


Mama used to make me Teh Tarik.

She called it Ah Mun’s Teh Tarik because she only made it for me.

Mama would steep tea leaves in hot water until it changes to a beautiful amber color. Then she would add in two overfilled tablespoons of condensed milk as I watch it swirl and cloud into that familiar milky color of my childhood.

She will then pour the mixture between two big mugs, pulling it higher and higher until it froths and bubbles over; spilling a little everywhere, over the sink, on her hands.

“Higher Mama! Higher!” I plead – the same request I always made, from when I was six years old until two years ago, when I couldn’t any more.

And she will do so just to hear my laughter bubble over like the tea she was pulling. Mama divides the tea into two mugs; an oversized one for me, a smaller one for her.

Ah Mun’s Teh Tarik always leaves me with a milk tea mustache from all that bubble and foam and was a diabetic’s nightmare with how sweet it was.

In short, it was perfect.

Some nights when I miss her, I would go down to the kitchen to make a cup of Teh Tarik.

But try as I may, I can never get mine to taste like Mama’s.


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