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Ivan's Secret Recipe

So this morning I accidentally threw an "An Oriental Delight" tea bag into my travel mug instead of good ol' Tetley, and didn't notice until too late. I got it with Chinese food some time ago, I guess. I don't dislike Chinese tea -- I guess it's green or something -- it just doesn't go well with my bagel. Or the milk I put in it. Or morning, if you want to be frank.

Hey, I used to work for a Chinese restaurant. I was a delivery person, for three or four years. The delivery person was always the only white guy working. There are a lot of interesting things that I took away from that job, but today I'm going to tell you about Bubble Tea.

The name of the restaurant was officially Ivangie Tea House, and they had a whole wall of interesting teas, but there was never a lot of interest in that. But the specialty of the place was Bubble Tea, which is a cold drink that comes in many flavors. Here's how to make it:

First you take a martini shaker and pour a measure of sugar water and a measure of syrup into it. The syrup is cooking syrup, or something . . . all different flavors like mango and kiwi and passion fruit, which were my favorites. Or they would use jam for strawberry or raspberry, or just orange juice or pinapple juice or coconut juice. Then you fill the shaker with ice. Then you go to the Tea Machine, which is a big huge tea dispenser: black on the left, green on the right, hot water in the middle. You fill the shaker with the desired tea; you can choose either one, though some combinations work better than others. Then you cap the martini shaker and shake vigorously until the ice cubes don't make so much noise; this means they've melted to an appropriate size. Then you take the top off the shaker and pour it in a glass, with a flourish: moving the shaker up and down, to create more bubbles. Pour about 3/4 of the shaker in, then remove the strainer and pour in the ice. Add a straw with a little bit of paper left on the end, and serve.

Oh man is bubble tea delicious. I guess it's just iced tea, but it's so fruity and sweet and wonderful. And, unfortunately, very difficult to make at home. I mean I guess it's possible, but it would take a whole lot of prep time for one little glass. And you'd have to find that cooking syrup somewhere. So I haven't had bubble tea for a long while, but now that I'm thinking about it, I think I'll stop by Ivangie's this weekend while I'm home for the holiday. Mmm.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 21st, 2001 06:51 am (UTC)
not really much of a secret anymore, is it?
Nov. 21st, 2001 07:45 am (UTC)
some of my best friends are chinese...
Nov. 21st, 2001 10:10 am (UTC)
I had bubble tea at Ivangie once, back in the day. Am I cool?
Nov. 21st, 2001 10:45 am (UTC)
Nov. 21st, 2001 01:41 pm (UTC)
Chinese Tea
Best Chinese tea I ever had -- hell, best Chinese food I ever had, at that -- was from a little Chinese restaurant, a hole in the wall, really, on Hollywood Blvd., smack in the middle of the Walk of Fame, right after I moved here. Most restaurants around there are overpriced and overtrendy, but this one was just tucked away, between the sex shops and adult movie theaters, and was really inexpensive.

I went back to it about three or four times the next few weeks. About the fifth time I went in, the woman told me it was the last night she was going to be open. She'd owned the place for about 40 years, but now she was ready to retire, and she didn't have anyone to leave it to, so she was just closing up. She said I'd been a good customer, though, and gave me a bag of tea and a teapot.

The second time I used the teapot, I forgot about it and left it on the burner for two hours. As soon as I picked it up, the spigot just fell off, and the whole thing was useless. Dammit.

Still, that was good tea. For a few weeks I lived off it -- back when I was eating ramen I'd made in my coffee pot. I'd cook the ramen, then I'd brew the tea.

I'm going to have to try that bubble tea. I'm sure I can find some of the syrup in Chinatown, or maybe in one of the Chinese grocery stores in the Valley.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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