At our home, tea time has always been an important occasion. It starts at 4pm and lasts till about 5 or 6pm, depending on how many friends have joined the ‘happy tea hour’. Over the years, we have progressed through all the stages of tea-time formalities. From a full silver-serviced tea complete with cucumber finger sandwiches, laid out on a (now antique) silver trolley, to a very informal gathering of friends who know it’s an ‘open house’ time, and drop by bearing treats for tea, in true Malaysian style.
My sister is all for a whimsical tea with cups and saucers like those shown here, as well as in this, which gives us all something to oooh and aaah about. Perhaps it harks back to the days when she used to serve tea very formally to her dolls in a garden setting!
Nowadays, our tea is served in an assortment of colourful mugs, with a mini spread of Malaysian tea-time cakes and treats. Sometimes when there are more friends who arrive with a wider assortment of food, it turns into high tea and everyone moves on to the dining table when seating around the usual living room coffee table runs short.
Whatever the occasion, the camaraderie is what draws our friends to drop by. Everyone has a different preference of beverage. Apart from the traditional western tea, it could be Chinese tea, an herbal concoction or even a ‘teh tarik’ (Malaysian/ Singaporean ‘pulled tea’).
Traditionally, the ‘teh tarik’ is best prepared by the ‘mamak’ (Indian Muslim) vendor but now a similar version is available in sachets – just put it in a cup and pour in hot water from a higher point to create the mandatory ‘froth’.
Incidentally, we have stumbled upon this fabulous website which collates recipes beautifully illustrated by artists, and here are a few recipes for a variety of teas which caught our attention…Pulled Tea (Teh Tarik – by a Malaysian illustrator) , Iced Tea, Honey Milk Tea and Chai Tea.
It is time to put on the kettle and bring out the pineapple tarts I made for tea! Toodles….