Wednesday, April 22, 2009

WFMW - Drinks from around the world!

I love a good beverage. Coffee, tea, juice, ... and anything else crazy and exotic. I love exotic.

So - without further ado, some of my favorite fun beverages and where you can find them. And, to see a related post, see A Coffee Story for my history with coffee.

Chai (specifically chai from the subcontinent):

Garam Chai

My family lived on the Subcontinent and while visiting them at Christmas I realized that Chai is everywhere, all the time. Little vendors with little cups of steaming chai run through marketplaces and train stations, so you're pretty much always caffeinated. My mom's recipe for chai is as follows :
Chai for 3: Boil 4 cups of water. Add 2 tbsp. of chai (which you can find at your local indo/pak grocery store, or you can use whatever strong black tea you have) and 1/4 cup of sugar. Boil 2-3 min. add 1 c. milk. Bring to a boil again.--then strain out the leaves. Adjust the sugar to your liking. If you like it Indian style, add a pinch of tea masala.

Boba (Bubble) Tea:

Boba Milk Tea From Boba Station
This one you'll have to get at local bubble tea shop, or perhaps a Taiwanese store. Boba refers to the black balls you see - they are tapioca and they are chewy. Critics say they remind them of eyeballs, but I LOVE them. You can usually get this either smoothie-style or with just a sweet iced milk tea. I either get Hong Kong milk tea, green tea, or taro flavor. SO GOOD.

Vietnamese Coffee:

vietnamese iced coffee
It's just coffee - except thick and strong, and sweetened with sweetened condensed milk. You will be wired. You can find it at any Vietnamese restaurant, or you can make your own.

Thai Iced Tea:
Thai Iced Tea
Milky, creamy iced tea with a unique flavor. Available at most Thai restaurants. Very sweet.

Nopalito San Francisco Horchata

I LOVE horchata. It's a Mexican drink that you can find at most Mexican restaurants and stores. You can buy it in instant powder form, juice box form, or (best of all) fresh. Horchata looks like milk but it's actually white from powdered rice and flavored with cinnamon, almonds, lime, and sugar. Delicious. If you want a recipe,
it's here, but I suggest getting it at a Mexican restaurant.

Aguas Frescas


Following on the idea of horchata,
aguas frescas are essentially juice, mostly Mexican-style but this is also popular in the Caribbean and elsewhere. Horchata is one of them, but I had to highlight it individually because I love it. You will also see aguas jamaica (made with roselle - whatever that is), and aguas tamarindo (made with tamarind). My local Mexican grocery story has an aguas frescas bar with about 10 different flavors, some of which are made from fruits I've never heard of before. It's always an adventure, and I love it.

Greek/Turkish Coffee:

A Sip of Turkish Coffee
Thick, dark espresso with sludge on the bottom. Pure caffeine. Do not try this unless you love coffee. I would also go to a restaurant for this one.

Yerba Mate:

Argentinian MateIn college my friend Andres, who is from Uruguay, would drink mate around campus and it looked like he was using drugs. Other kids thought it was cool and it became all the rage to buy one of their funky little mate cups and buy real mate from South America. It's just herbal tea, and I gotta tell you, I actually don't like it. Too bitter for me. If you're interested, you can buy it online.

Young Coconut Milk (Es Kelapa Muda):

Es kelapa muda

Fresh and sweet, Es Kelapa Muda is big in Indonesia, where I grew up. It looks funky, but it's good. Here in the US you can generally find it at festivals with any significant Hispanic population. It will be sold inside coconuts, with a straw. Yum.

Indonesian Dessert Drink - Es Cendol:

Indonesian Dessert Drink

This drink freaked me out as a kid. Green wormy looking things in my drink? No thanks! Now I like it, but chances are you won't find it in the US unless you live in LA. Read more about it on this blog.
**I keep remembering more!

Champurrado (Mexican Hot Chocolate)

This was my favorite thing to order in the winter in Chicago at the road side stands where I bought homemade tamales. This is hot chocolate but it's thickened with masa so that it's almost... almost like pudding. Except... still drinkeable. It's spiced with cinnamon, anise, and vanilla, and is seriously delicious. The only place I've ever seen it is road side stands... anyone else know where to find it?

Anyone have any to add?


Jaimie said...

Bubble tea! I had some in Philadelphia. I need to see if Houston has a place, because I love that stuff.

Suz said...

Interesting.. I love Chai, but have never had any experience outside of this country, so don't know the "real" thing. Coffee and tea drinks are interesting and fun to me... thanks for sharing your insite and experiences!

Erin @ Closing Time said...

What a fun post! I love chai and the occasional Turkish coffee. I'll have to try out some of these others too.

Kate said...

Very interesting!

I just tried your chai tea recipe, and it's delicious! I think I'll save the extra for iced chai.

"Which Proverbs 14:1 Woman?"

ilovemy5kids said...

That Mexican Hot Chocolate looks great! I love trying anything new food or drink. Great post!

Susan said...

How interesting! I thought *I* liked trying other cultures' foods, but you have left me in the dust. I got some new ideas; thank you!

Kelley said...

Nate's from Argentina and they do mate too. I'm sure they'd claim it as their idea first:) I don't like it much either and we just gave away our bombilla b/c we never used it.

Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom said...

hehehe I'm *obsessed* with bubble tea... LOVE IT!