Cheese Tea

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Cheese Tea

Category : Food

Yes, you read that right… tea with a frothy cheese topping is now officially a ‘thing’. It seems to have originated in China, and has turned up in Singapore via Taiwan and Malaysia. And not just any old tea – there are kiosks popping up in every mall with a lengthy menu of flavours.

So, once you have decided on black or green tea, not to mention hot/iced, sweet/less sweet, you get to choose between different fruits and vegetables. Strawberry cheese tea? Dragonfruit?? Chocolate, avocado and even taro flavours are also an option, and prices range from S$3.40 to over S$7.

Seeing me hovering over the display, the girl behind the counter at Heetea decided to reel me in with a free sample, which turned out to be a mistake. The cup was the size of a thimble, the green tea topped with a sweet, foamy ooze of what she assured me was cream cheese blended with milk.

Apparently you don’t stir this in, or even sip the tea from the bottom through a straw, but drink through the foam so you get the flavours of both tea and topping at once. Plus a very messy top lip, presumably.

“Drink it in one shot,” I was instructed, and I really did try, but it was truly revolting and I nearly choked. “Cannot take it, eh?” Well, no. Good job I had some water in my bag to wash the taste away. She’s probably still laughing…

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Cheese Curry

Category : Food

This is apparently the national dish of Bhutan, so there wasn’t much choice when it came to ordering a set dinner in the Bhutanese restaurant I tried out for some variety in Kathmandu – the cheese curry showed up in every option.

In Bhutan itself, this would be made with a goat’s milk cheese called churpi. Elsewhere it is anyone’s guess (although there is a fair chance that buffalo was involved here…)

I do like cheese, but this really was a first for me, and it took several mouthfuls to become accustomed to both taste and texture. It was more like a soup than a curry, and had plenty of potatoes and onions in there as well as melting lumps of cheese.

Spooned over rice, it tasted very much like a thin fondue served without the usual bread. I didn’t find it anywhere near as spicy as I was expecting, however, possibly because the chilli cabbage curry it came alongside was really fiery.

On the whole, this was more of a taste adventure than anything else. I quite enjoyed it, but am not sure I would order it again…

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Cheese Oat Milk Tea

Category : Food


I am not sure what possessed me to buy this, except possibly that I had turned down the chance to try skewers of assorted fried bugs at lunchtime (I was in Chengdu) and felt I was letting down the Julietours side. Possibly those crispy scorpions would have been a better idea…

For a start, this is supposed to be the sort of thing you buy in a convenience store and consume on the spot using the hot water provided, but when I tried it at home later I needed a knife to get into the tub and extract the contents.

The cup turned out to contain a packet of powder, a sachet of condensed milk and a tub of damp oat grains. It all smelled awful and tasted bizarre, sort of sweet, cheesy and dusty all at once. If I can mix things up here, it tasted like the smell of milk which has boiled over.

I have no doubt that this is a popular and comforting high calorie meal substitute in China when the weather turns cold, but nothing would convince me to try it again.

oat-tea-3 oat-tea-2 oat-tea-1

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High Security Cheese

Category : Food


cheese sqs

There was a time, in the middle of an economic crisis, when such high value items as steak and sliced smoked salmon were given security tags in British supermarkets. If the big firms were experiencing a profit-trimming wave of shoplifting, then this made perfect sense.

Never, however, have I seen security packaging as elaborate as this, and on processed cheese slices at that! (Mind you, the meat in this particular store was behind glass counters, and you needed a staff member to weigh and wrap it for you – it would have been a lot harder to pinch.)

I won’t specify which major city I saw this in, except to say that it was somewhere in SE Asia where a lot of ordinary people struggle to get by. It was especially striking because other, and to my mind more tempting, items were left unsecured.

It’s a funny world where you have to guard the type of foodstuff which often contains so many additives it is hard to see it as a natural product. This particular item is French, but appears very like an American version which is apparently so far removed from the cheese it purports to be that it has to be labelled as ‘pasteurised process cheese product’. There are even on-line videos which show similar slices blackening like plastic rather than melting like actual cheese.

In America, adverts claiming that this sort of item was highly nutritious and packed with implausible amounts of calcium were banned a long time ago. It’s possible that – sadly – the message has not filtered through elsewhere.

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Oreo Cheese Cake Frappe

Category : Food

oreo cheesecake

This one is all about the picture. I feel bad laughing about it, but this is a classic case of cultural misunderstanding and I am sure I would make some similarly amusing error if I tried to advertise anything in a different language. J Co is an Indonesian company specialising in drinks and donuts, which has expanded into several other SE Asian countries, and this is one of their latest offerings:

Oreo Cheese Cake Frappe, with matching Cheese Cakelicious donut – both of which sound fine, although not when you are desperate for breakfast after a night in a lousy Jakarta hotel. I had a cup of tea instead, and a croissant from the shop next door. But look at the illustration, with the chunks of yellow ‘Swiss’ cheese sitting beside the Oreo cookies. Clearly, the artist has either never tasted a classic cheesecake, or could not persuade the boss that this looked slightly odd.

Funnily enough, I have seen something very similar in a supermarket in Batam, only this was on a packet of ‘cheese and chocolate chip’ cookies (which I did not buy, either).

Maybe it really was Swiss cheese… maybe I need to try it next time…