I have a tonne of photos from a trip that I took to Malaysia and Hong Kong last spring, and I’ve finally gone through them all and pulled out all the food-related ones. Enjoy!
I’ve spoken about my small obession with milk tea before. It was my trip to Malaysia that started the obession. The first photo is from a kopitiam, (a kind of coffee shop/hawker cafe), from my first breakfast in Malaysia. (Ignore the tissues – they were actually used to wipe up water on the table.)
The second photo is the Malaysian version of take-out. Yes, that is a plastic bag with a straw stuck inside. They seem to put everything into bags. Soup, drinks… even McDonald’s drinks are put into cups and then put into plastic bags. Everytime I was given food in a bag I had to think of the poor environment. At the same time though, I’m sure the bags are better than styrofoam containers.
Updated to add: Forgot to note that to order milk tea when in a kopitiam, you say “teh” (pronounced “tay”) for milk and sugar tea, “teh-o” for tea with sugar only, and “teh-bing” or “teh-o bing” on there for an iced drink. I didn’t pick up much Malay, but I know enough to be able to order my favourite drink!
Milk tea to go
So Hong Kong announced that they’ve found melamine in some Pocky and Lotte Koala Biscuits (Koala shaped cookies with chocolate cream inside) too. Is there no Asian snack food that is safe anymore?? (Other than dried squid and preserved plums, I mean.)
I still haven’t thrown out my milk tea yet. Every time I open that cupboard I see the giant bright yellow boxes sitting there. I know they’re mocking me. I know I should throw them out, but deep down I keep waiting (in vain) to hear that the tests were a mistake and that my boxes are perfectly fine. Go ahead, you can mock me too.
Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety – melamine tests
I’m starting to wonder if any processed food is safe.
After the spinach E.coli problems and massive listeria recalls, I now see the China milk and melamine scandal affecting products that I’ve eaten in the past or have at home. Today the Canadian Food Inspection Agency recalled three kinds of Mr. Brown instant coffee that was imported from Taiwan and may contain some of that tainted milk powder. Now I don’t drink coffee, so ordinarily that wouldn’t affect me. But I do drink milk tea, and bought some Mr. Brown instant milk tea while I was in Hong Kong as I had a hard time finding it here. That a Mr. Brown product was being recalled set off all sorts of alarms in my head, and I immediately hopped onto Google. To my dismay, I find that Taiwan recalled all the Mr. Brown coffees AND milk teas, and that Hong Kong is doing testing on the products.
Oh and apparently, White Rabbit candy is tainted too. I don’t have any of that at home, but I brought some to work this past summer. I feel so great knowing that I poisoned my coworkers as well as myself.
Edited to add: The New York Times is reporting that the milk issue was discovered back in December 07, and was hushed because of the Olympics. That means if they had actually owned up to the problems before hand I wouldn’t have bought tainted milk tea (and consumed some during my trip)!