I know it's wonky and I don't care - Chai masala (spiced tea). [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Chai masala (spiced tea). [Jun. 5th, 2009|03:37 pm]
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Hello! I have a puzzle, and perhaps you can help me with it!

I had dinner at one of the Indian cafes on East Ham High Street the other day, and I had a cup of masala tea afterwards. It came in a vessel like the ones pictured — a metal cup inside a metal bowl/saucer.

That wasn't the confusing part, though; the confusing part was that the tea had been poured into the cup so it overflowed into the bowl. Is this normal? I know some British people like to drink their tea out of the saucer, and I seem to remember that there are various drinks around the world that are customarily poured to overflowing (e.g. sake served in a cup inside a cedar box). I haven't heard of this for masala tea before, though. It also made it a bit awkward to drink, since the bottom of the cup dripped every time I lifted it up.

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[User Picture]From: alan1957
2009-06-05 03:14 pm (UTC)

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Dunno, but there's a pdf here http://www.history.sa.gov.au/migration/edu/docs/tea.pdf about tea and on p6 (the second of two bits about Chai Masala, it mentions ways of cooling the tea down so you get a different flavour and consistency. Could that be the answer...you are supossed to drink some from the bowl because it will be cooler and taste different?
Wouldn't do it wearing a white shirt/blouse though!
[User Picture]From: nou
2009-06-05 03:35 pm (UTC)

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Now that's an interesting PDF in itself... so many different ways to drink tea!

I had tea soup last night, Mongolian-style with dumplings in.
[User Picture]From: atommickbrane
2009-06-05 03:47 pm (UTC)

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!!!

...
[User Picture]From: nou
2009-06-05 03:48 pm (UTC)

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I even took a photo, and will link it up when I get to sorting it out! It was... interesting.
From: (Anonymous)
2009-06-05 05:35 pm (UTC)

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Not a tea drinker, but I used to enjoy the tea (supposedly) made with Yaks milk in this Tibetan restaurant a few of us frequented a couple of times in the past. A challenging but strangely addictive flavour!

And slightly on topic I have been craving dumplings for a while now...mmm, dumply!
[User Picture]From: alan1957
2009-06-05 05:37 pm (UTC)

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Not a nony mouse but a alan1957.
[User Picture]From: nou
2009-06-06 01:55 pm (UTC)

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Tibetan restaurant? Was that in London? Does it still exist? Sounds very interesting!
[User Picture]From: alan1957
2009-06-06 02:49 pm (UTC)

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I dunno whether it still exists. It was off of Leicester Square and was the HQ of the opposition.

[...]

I just checked and people are saying it closed down, but I did find this http://www.eatoutgoout.com/Display_Restaurant_new.asp?R_ID=25391&Tab=1&Back=0 (annoying pop-ups).
[User Picture]From: nou
2009-06-07 01:04 am (UTC)

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It does seem to have closed, yes; a pity.
[User Picture]From: therealdrhyde
2009-06-09 08:55 pm (UTC)

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There's some weird hippy tibetan thing on the corner of St James's Market and St Albans Street, in the bunch of grotty little back streets between Haymarket and Regent Street.
[User Picture]From: nou
2009-06-10 01:49 pm (UTC)

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I think that's the Tibet Foundation... though Google Streetview suggests there's a shop of some kind there, I think it's more about art/crafts than food. A shame; the Wikipedia article on Tibetan food makes it sounds quite interesting — barley is the staple rather than rice.
[User Picture]From: rozallin
2009-06-05 03:29 pm (UTC)

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That's a traditional way of serving a "full" tea in South India. You're meant to drink from the saucer and use the cup to top the saucer up. Doing so cools the tea. It's my understanding that this is not so much about the flavour but that it allows the tea to cool.

A "half" tea comes in the same set up, but without the tea overflowing into the saucer.
[User Picture]From: nou
2009-06-05 03:34 pm (UTC)

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Fantastic, thank you! So I should take the cup out of the saucer, set it down on the table, and then just drink from the saucer?

Incidentally, I am feeling the urge to visit Ilford again... would you like to either talk me out of it or meet up with me somewhere in the area, preferably the latter? :)
[User Picture]From: rozallin
2009-06-05 03:48 pm (UTC)

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Yep. It seems counter-intuitive, since the main point of a saucer in this country is to avoid covering the table/tablecloth in rings and drips, but that's how you drink it. It's perfectly acceptable to abdandon drinking from the saucer after a while once the chai in the cup has cooled enough, if you find the saucer awkward to drink from.

Funnily enough, I was just about to write a post about meeting up with friends, since I've been non-social for a couple of months and I feel the need for company. I'm busy with "the book", work (upcoming AGM on Monday) and revising for a Java exam in mid-June, but after that I have a pretty clear calendar. Is there anywhere in Ilford you wanted to try?
[User Picture]From: nou
2009-06-05 04:28 pm (UTC)

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Cool, thanks so much for the info.

Re meeting up — yay! I have my eye on Mandarin Palace, but Kanchans also needs a proper RGL review. Some time in the latter half of this month would be good for me. I can't do Monday evenings, and I'm busy on Thursday 18th, Saturday 20th, and Sunday 21st, but apart from that I'm free.
[User Picture]From: pippaalice
2009-06-10 12:50 pm (UTC)

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There is also a p;lace called, um, elephant royale in gants hill too that is lovely (It has a stream running thru it!) but expensive.

If you do go ilford eating let me know when (Um if you don't mind me joining you! ;))
[User Picture]From: nou
2009-06-10 01:39 pm (UTC)

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Oh, yes, Elephant Royale — I just read a review of the Isle of Dogs one the other day, and it mentioned they had a Gants Hill location too!

Will definitely let you know... it would be great to have you along.
[User Picture]From: thewickermanuk
2009-06-15 12:39 am (UTC)

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That is rather unusual.