Thai iced tea at Cafe Hoang

img_4174Besides green tea or Riesling with sushi and big red wines with steak, why do the best beverage pairings always have to be so heavy that you get filled up before the food comes? Horchata with Mexican, thick mango lassi with Indian, beer with bar food, and Thai iced tea with Thai food. I love them all and put up with the bloat for the flavors and textures (and heat-cutting capabilities) that have you hooked the second you combine them. After being tipped off to creamy, Tang-hued Thai iced tea years ago, I usually order up a creamy glass of the condensed milk, sugar (and sometimes tamarind or star anise), ice, tea concoction with Thai. The iced tea is served up at Chinatown’s Cafe Hoang in an old-fashioned milk shake glass, black-and-tan-style, with a top layer of cream or milk which turns a progressively deeper shade of orange as you move down the glass. As we started talking about it, we tried to pinpoint the taste of Thai iced tea. It’s black tea, yes, but condensed milk lends a creaminess that isn’t quite sweet but isn’t tart or bitter either. One dining companion, who’s been trying to decide for years if she liked the drink or not, settled on “smokey” while the flavor of those orange Circus Peanut chews my dad eats kept coming to my mind (maybe that’s just the orange food coloring also in the drink). Whatever the freakishly addictive flavor, it will continue to be delicious with my chicken pad see ew. Any other classic food-drink pairings worth a shout-out?

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