Discovering the Creamy Culture of Teh Tarik in Malaysia

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Teh tarik is a traditional Malaysian beverage that has become a national icon. This tea-based drink is made by “pulling” the tea between two containers, resulting in a frothy, creamy texture. In Malaysia, teh tarik is enjoyed throughout the day, from breakfast to after-dinner drinks. In this article, we will explore the history, ingredients, and cultural significance of teh tarik in Malaysia.

History of Teh Tarik

The origins of teh tarik can be traced back to the Indian subcontinent, where chai tea has been enjoyed for centuries. When Indian labourers immigrated to Malaysia in the early 20th century, they brought their tea-making traditions with them. Over time, teh tarik evolved into its own unique style, blending Indian and Malaysian influences. Today, teh tarik is synonymous with Malaysian culture and has become a beloved national drink.

Ingredients of Teh Tarik

The two primary ingredients in teh tarik are black tea and condensed milk. The tea is brewed strong and then mixed with condensed milk, which gives the drink its signature sweetness and creaminess. Some variations of teh tarik may also include ginger, cardamom, or other spices to add flavour and depth. The tea is typically served hot and poured from a height to create the frothy texture. Ice can be added for a refreshing iced teh tarik during hot weather.

Frothy pulled tea, sweet and creamy, a popular Malaysian beverage.
Source: woon heng

Cultural Significance of Teh Tarik

Teh tarik has deep cultural significance in Malaysia and is often associated with “mamak” culture. Mamak is a term used to describe the Indian Muslim community in Malaysia and is known for its distinct food and beverage offerings. Teh tarik is one of the most popular drinks served in mamak restaurants, where customers can watch the skilled tea-makers pull the tea with great showmanship. Beyond its cultural significance, teh tarik also plays an important role in social gatherings. It is often served at weddings, funerals, and other events, bringing people together over a shared love of the drink.

Teh Tarik, a beloved Malaysian beverage, showcases the art of "pulling" tea to create a frothy and creamy concoction that balances the perfect blend of sweetness and aromatic tea flavors.

Health Benefits and Risks

Like any beverage, teh tarik has both health benefits and risks. On the positive side, black tea has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. However, teh tarik is often made with condensed milk, which is high in sugar and calories. Drinking too much teh tarik can lead to weight gain and other health issues associated with consuming excessive sugar. It is recommended to enjoy teh tarik in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Teh Tarik, the iconic Malaysian "pulled tea," captivates with its silky smooth texture, balanced sweetness, and a mesmerizing pouring technique that enhances the flavors, making it a beloved beverage enjoyed by many.


Teh tarik is more than just a tea-based beverage in Malaysia – it is a cultural symbol that brings people together. From its humble origins as an Indian tea, it has become a beloved national drink that is enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. Whether enjoyed at a mamak restaurant or at home with friends and family, teh tarik is a part of Malaysian identity that will continue to be cherished for generations to come.

Article curated by Lavanyah Magenthiran