You probably didn’t hear about it, but the end of August saw an exciting culinary event: Hong Kong’s Best Milk Tea Competition. And it was very serious business.

Pictures courtesy of Sing Tao Media and Tai Hing Group

Locally known as “Pantyhose Tea” because the long, silk filter it brews in resembles a stocking, Milk Tea is served with condensed milk (sans sugar) and some eateries even add a raw egg into the mix as a thickening agent. The beverage can be imbibed hot or cold and is a derivative of the traditional afternoon tea enjoyed by the British during their colonial rule over Hong Kong. Although I haven’t had the pleasure of trying Milk Tea, I’m guessing it is most comparable to Thai iced tea.

Have I mentioned already that Milk Tea is a Big Deal in Hong Kong? Not only is its preparation the subject of heated debate (milk or tea first? oh lord, which?) but there are actually criteria that help the discerning customer evaluate his or her tea.

Ahem:

1) “Smoothiness.” IE: How full-bodied and creamy is my tea?
2) Is there white frothy residue on the inside lip of my cup after the first few sips?

That white froth is an extremely important factor. It shows that the concentration of butterfat in the evaporated milk is high enough. Excuse me while I consider the gastronomical wonder that is butterfat.

Anyway. Milk Tea. According to fellow blogger Josh Tse, Hong Kong’s Milk Tea competition graced the headlines of all local papers the day of the fight… but I only learned of Milk Tea today (at least in this form; I’ve been a fan of bubble tea from first nibble). That said, thinking about this competition, and doing a little research about Pantyhose Tea on the ‘ol internet made me wonder about other regional competitions. We’re here in Brooklyn making soup, sandwiches, cupcakes, bodega dinners, etc… but what are they making in Poughkeepsie? Or Abu Dhabi? Or Heidelberg? Or Cleveland? Food competitions certainly hold our interest — the world over, it seems. So I’m curious: What interesting food-related competitions have you heard about/seen lately? What does your region/country/city/borough compete to eat?

Drop us a comment; we want to know. And if you’ve had Milk Tea (in Hong Kong or otherwise) we want to know about that, too.

Addition Information:
One Blogger’s Milk Tea Experience
A Chinese news report about the competition (Again, this is serious business)
And finally, the Milk Tea Wikipedia entry, which I shamelessly cribbed from.