Do you ever have this feeling if you see a bunch of people heading out from a small backstreet with a big really yummi looking ice-coffee-something in their hand, that you need to get one as well – not just one, but THIS one?
I do have this urge and I will stalk those people in order to hunt the shop down to get one of those myself.
One very hot and humid day in Kowloon this was exactly what happened. A bit exhausted from early wake-up and a massive sightseeing tour all across Kowloon and Hongkong I needed some fuel to keep me going – and there it was: a huge (and I do mean HUGE) take away cup with a straw inside and something that looked like bubble-milk-coffee. And this beverage didn’t pass me once – NO there were a lot of those crossing my vision. First I took it as a kind of hallucination, like you know “being in a desert and thinking you see a nice oasis with cooling water – but there is none” kind of thing. But this one was real!
Turns out, you can’t exactly stalk people to find out where they got things from, but you can try to retrace their way and if you are lucky enough, find the source where they got it from. In this case it was a small kiosk in a side alley of a backstreet and needless to say the menue was in chinese. Bummer! But there were a few pictures advertising what they had and this amazing milk-bubble-ice-coffee thing was on there as well. But there was one more issue: soya milk – yes I am one of those lactose intolerant, though not allergic people and I felt pretty safe in Asia as most of the locals are having this problem as well. But in a former British infested place, you couldn’t be too sure of it. I took a chance!
“Hallo, do you speak English?” – “A bit!” – giggling
“Do you have soya milk?” – “Sorry, no understand, milk – yes, s… ?” – a second face appeared in the kiosk
“Well is the milk you use made from plants or is it taken from an animal, like a cow?”
At this point there were suddenly 4 faces turning up from machines! – I was slightly remindet of the Muppets and the “manamana-song”- Discussion amongst them… while still watching me closely with a bit of curiousity.
“Why you ask if milk is from cow – milk is from plant!” – common polite giggling and nodding- My first thought: Thank God, soya milk – Asia I love you!!! But how do I get out of this one?
“Well, normally in Europe the milk is from cows, we do have milk from plants or other animals, but those are not that common, your coffee in Europe will in most cases be with cow-milk!”
I’ll never forget those expressions in their faces, and even at that point even the grandmother turned up, who was quickly informed in chinese about the cow-milk story. This beautiful wrinkled face looking at me in disbelief just lost it all – she started to laugh – I don’t mean this timid Asian laugh, hidden behind a hand, no – a really hearty one. As soon as she realized it, she seemed shocked and tried to hide it, but the “damage” was done. I couldn’t hold on to a straight face either and just let it go as well. We basically all ended up peeing our pants laughing. Which made this place the most rememberable place with the most amazing coffee-bubble (it turned out to be black beans or similar)-ice-something I ever had. They didn’t want me to pay for it, but I negotiated my way to at least paying half the price, which we ended up agreeing on.
Unfortunately those pictures got lost only thing I can offer you is a similiar looking beverage (you need to add a mountain of crashed ice to it and remove about 1/2 of the milk – it was way darker), but if you are in Kowloon, get in those sidealleys for coffee, but don’t be stupid to do this in the dark or if your gut tells you not to!