If Sarawak had a national drink, that beverage would definitely be Teh C Peng Special.
A drink that you can order throughout Sarawak, it is also known as three-layer tea because of how its ingredients look in the glass before you give it a really good stir.
Basically it is a beverage made of red tea, evaporated milk and gula melaka syrup (a type of palm sugar). It is an upgraded version of Teh C Peng which is iced tea with evaporated milk.
Add on the syrup and voila it becomes ‘special’!
What is Teh C Peng Special?
The commonly known origin of this drink is 7th mile Kuching’s Fresh Food Court. To this day, visitors still flock to this food court to have a taste of the original Teh C Peng Special.
The highlight of the drink is none other than the gula melaka syrup. Gula melaka (Malacca sugar in Malay) is a type of palm sugar made from the sap of flower buds mainly from the coconut palms.
Not all palm sugars are the same as they may differ in composition. Gula melaka can be dense and sticky which is why before you drink Teh C Peng Special, you need to stir it vigorously.
You can always make your own Teh C Peng Special at home as long as you have black tea, evaporated milk and gula melaka.
You can make your own syrup by melting solid gula melaka in some water over a slow flame, or buy a bottle of Teh C Peng Special syrup easily found in most Sarawak supermarkets.
When it comes to Malaysian drinks, the alphabet ‘C’ means evaporated milk. But why the letter ‘C’? Apparently it is inspired by the first initial of the most famous brand of evaporated milk from Nestle called Carnation.
Now comes the teh or tea part: Teh C Peng Special is made of red tea.
Red tea in Malaysia or other countries such as China is actually what Western countries refer to as black tea. It is more oxidised than oolong, green and white teas.
The most common brand of tea in this country is BOH Tea, which is also the largest black tea manufacturer in Malaysia.
Teh C Peng Special makes a great thirst-quenching drink especially in hot weather.