Yak Milk Tea

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Yak Milk Tea

Category : Food

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Rumour has is that yak milk is slightly pink in colour, but having seen a great deal of it recently, including yak milk cheese, butter and yoghurt, I have to say I did not find this to be the case. But pink or not, yak milk is certainly distinctive, with a sweet-sour taste (and smell) that is unmistakeable.

Along with yak meat, this is a staple part of the Tibetan diet, especially out in the countryside where little else is available. The cheese is dried into hard cubes to preserve it, the butter is stirred into tea for its all-important calorie content, and it is a precious offering to the monasteries where it is used as lamp oil or moulded into intricate decorations.

How to bring this home to share the flavour with family and friends? There is yak milk candy, available in ‘chocolate’ buttons or made into tooth-destroyingly hard ‘cookies’. And there is tea.

If you order tea in a Tibetan tea house, it is likely to come with salt stirred in, but you can also buy sachets of 3-in-1, that is with powdered milk and sugar ready mixed with the tea. You just add boiling water and stir…

I take tea black, so anything with milk and sugar is really not my thing, but having choked down any number of cups out of politeness whilst travelling across Tibet, I did make an effort to appreciate this. But it comes out as a pale beige colour, reminding me of Horlicks, which is enough to put anyone off in the first place. I confess I was not able to drink this, but as I know someone who likes 3-in-1 very much, the rest of the box has gone to a very good home.

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