In case you haven't heard, the latest cheese fad is in town. No, we're not talking about Osaka's Pablo cheese tarts, which will be setting up shop here in early July.
As cheesy as it sounds, cheese tea is the next big thing here, and leading the pack is homegrown tea brand LiHO.
I can really see this as the next trend in Singapore - that white foam topping the drink isn't your regular milk foam but made of CHEESE!! May sound a little gross to you now (that's how I feel when I first know about it) but really changed my mind after tasting it!! Thick gooey cheese foam goes really well with their signature Jing Syrian Tea ($4.10 for M and $5.10 for L). Personally, I really loved their Cheese Ovaltine Smoothie ($6.90 for L) with those smooth velvety cheese foam covering it. A light touch of savoury-ness along with the creaminess of the cheese! Find them now at Bugis+ third floor! This was a hosted tasting courtesy of @lihosg and @ruderfinn.
Yeah, we know. It sounds dubious - how does cheese go with tea, of all things? Never have there been two things more incompatible with each other than tea and cheese!
Just like you, we were sceptical at first, but now we've been fully converted to the cheese tea cause.
What is cheese tea?
Cheese tea resembles a macchiato, with a thick frothy layer of cream cheese topping off the beverage.
Similar to a macchiato, there are a number of ways to drink cheese tea - either by drinking the cream cheese and tea separately, through LiHO's specially designed cup lid, or by mixing cheese and tea together.
We sampled a variety of cheese teas at LiHO's first outlet in Bugis+. Here's our verdict on four different flavours.
1. Cheese Guan Yin, 50 per cent sugar, cold
Traditional guan yin tea topped with frothy cream cheese sounds like an unusual combination. However, we found that the tea was light on the palate, and paired well with the thickness of the cheese.
The slightly salty cheese, which is made up of a variety of ingredients, including gouda, also added a burst of flavour to the guan yin tea.
2. Honey Milk Tea with cheese, 50 per cent sugar, cold
A familiar flavour of milk tea found at pretty much every bubble tea shop across Singapore, the sweetness of the honey milk tea is complemented by the slight saltiness of the cheese.
We felt that it was a tad too sweet, so next time we will make sure to ask for 30 per cent sugar instead of 50 per cent.
3. Cheese Yam Smoothie with custard pudding, 50 per cent sugar, cold, large
Well, this isn't exactly a tea per se, but we noticed that a lot of LiHO customers were buying the cheese yam smoothie, so we decided to get a cup for ourselves to see what the hype was about. While the yam was very well-blended, it was also thick, which made the drink rather jelat (overwhelming), especially as it was served in a large cup.
Thankfully, the custard pudding topping, which was recommended to us by the cashier, was noticeably less sweet. Its smoothness also provided a welcome break from the thickness of the rest of the drink.
4. Hot Cheese Jing Syuan Tea
Personally recommended to us by Mr Rodney Tang, Managing Director of Royal T Group, which owns LiHO, we were delighted to find that the fragrance of the jing syuan tea, a variety of oolong tea that originates from Taiwan, was not overpowered by that of the cheese.
In fact, we could simultaneously savour the contrast in taste, temperature and texture of tea and cheese. It's no wonder Mr Tang likes it so much, because we do too!
We would recommend that the traditional teas like jing syuan tea or guan yin tea be tried with the cheese, as it adds a unique spin on their familiar, tried-and-tested flavours.
Instead of drawing attention away from the tea, the cheese brings out the lightness and slight bitterness of the teas, making it an utterly delectable drink.
This story first appeared on AsiaOne on May 29, 2017.