McDonald’s is back with another fascinating ice cream flavor – Thai Milk Tea. Apparently, it’s made a comeback from its successful presence early last year. With the hype surrounding this ice cream, I had to give it a try.
Thai milk tea has grown to become a global obsession in the tea world hailing from Thailand. Considering that McDonald’s had a Hong Kong-style Coffee Milk Tea ice cream on their menu some time ago in Singapore and brown sugar milk tea is massively popular here as well, it’s pretty accurate to conclude that the Lion City is home to a society that adores milk teas.
Say ‘Thai milk tea’ and a tall glass filled with chilled tea with a milky appearance and in the shade of pumpkin-orange pops into mind. The last time I ordered Thai milk tea was to accompany my usual order of green curry some time ago at a Thai restaurant. Milk tea isn’t what I’d normally get (lemon or mint tea all the way!) but I’m constantly intrigued by the array of milk tea selections available here. They’re unique and special in their own ways.
Thai milk tea comprises of a black tea base. A variety of spices are added to elevate the tea – I’ve read that cardamom, star anise and cinnamon are some of the common spices included in the tea. There are seemingly countless variations of this tea, therefore each tea experience and flavor depends on the recipe. The tea isn’t complete without milk and sugar.
Validating what I’d heard regarding its popularity was a lady just ahead of me at the dessert kiosk who ordered the same ice cream I was about to purchase.
The ice cream greeted me with its aroma. It has a nice milk tea/spice scent, which was only a preview of the glorious-looking ice cream I was about to savor. As always, McDonald’s ice cream looks delicious. My favorite part of every McDonald’s ice cream is undoubtedly its swirly shape! This ice cream’s color leans to caramel-brown rather than orange, being closely reminiscent to their cendol and coffee milk tea ice creams I tasted several months ago.
The ice cream itself has a pronounced spice blend and black tea flavor from the get-go (to me at least) which I found pleasing to my palate. I like its sweetness level too – sweet, but not sickly sweet. The combination of tea and spices unite harmoniously in the swirl of soft serve-style ice cream. After two or three bites, my tongue was completely accustomed to the flavor and the ice cream became a tad milder. As a bonus, I’m glad the cinnamon (which seems to be part of the spice component’s flavor from what I’ve heard) isn’t overpowering – which is an important factor for someone like me who has a never-ending love-hate/’frenemy’ relationship with cinnamon!
As I was savoring my ice cream, I was reminded of spice-based teas I’ve shared previously, namely chai and pumpkin spice lattes. Although it’s neither peppercorn-spicy like chai nor pumpkin-y like the PSL, the Thai milk tea’s spices add a lovely boldness to the milk tea, just like the other abovementioned teas. Some spices in Thai milk tea may be identical to those in chai and pumpkin spice. That’s the beauty of spices – they connect different regions through a web of uses. Picture a venn diagram – although different countries possess their very own drinks, certain overlapping ingredients or spices bind everyone together in a global family of recipes.
If you’re looking to spice up the last bits of autumn while staying cool, I reckon this ice cream’s got your name on it. Apart from costing S$1 per cone (US$0.73), this ice cream is a must-try simply because the opportunity of having a dessert with the flavors of tea and spices at McDonald’s doesn’t present itself very often!