Milk tea masters will serve free drinks across Hong Kong to celebrate the drink's new status as part of the city's intangible cultural heritage. The Association of Coffee and Tea has invited three winners from the 2009 and 2012 international milk tea making contests to demonstrate how to make their signature drinks at a mobile cafe. The vehicle will visit Tai Po and Tsuen Wan today, and Quarry Bay and Wan Chai tomorrow, serving about 1,000 cups of free milk tea to passersby.
This year's international competition will be held at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai from August 14 to 16.
Last month, the government recognised 480 items which make up the city's cultural identity, and therefore needed to be preserved. The list, compiled over seven years by the government, includes local traditions like Cantonese opera, umbrella making and kung fu, as well as food and drink including egg tarts and snake wine.
King George V student Kimberly Lai Kum-yue and Sha Tin College student Henry Lui are both glad that milk tea is being recognised.
"Hong Kong-style milk tea is unique," says Kimberly. "It is where East meets West, and represents the heritage of Hong Kong because of its history as a British colony."
Henry, who is an avid drinker of milk tea, agrees, adding that the local version has "much more flavour than bog-standard, or basic, English breakfast tea".