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Sarawak Three Layer Tea · Teh C Special 砂拉越三色奶茶

Sarawakians are very proud of their three layer tea, also known as teh C special or teh C peng.

It is gula apong (nipah palm sugar) at the bottom, followed by evaporated milk, and the top layer of black tea.

(The defining ingredient is gula apong, nipah palm sugar which is only produced in Borneo island. Gula apong has its own signature taste and fragrance profile different from gula Melaka or coconut palm sugar, and more fragrant / less sweet than jaggery or caramelised cane sugar.)

Three layer tea is always served cold with ice cubes, never hot.

It is drank by mixing the three layers together, either by stirring or shaking the cup. So, we get a blend of layered sweetness plus a bit of tea tannin and fragrance.

Ah Ching 亚进 was supposedly the first to serve three layer tea - he created it at his stall at the 7th Mile Market at Taman Sentosa in Kuching.

Ah Ching 亚进 who created three layer tea now operates from Fresh Three Layer Food Court (a large coffee shop), which is just steps from his old location.

Three layer tea is available practically at every coffee shop, cafe and restaurant in Kuching, Sarawak.

Our first three layer tea was by Ah Ching 亚进 at Fresh Three Layer Food Court, the OG freshly brewed TLT. It is now served in a convenient sealed plastic disposable cup.

It tasted relatively sweet among those we tried during our 6 day self drive holiday in Kuching.

I like the three layer tea at Huat Huat Cafe as it was not overly sweet.

Back in Singapore, we tried the three layer tea at Kantin Jewel at Changi Airport. They call it teh C special here.

I like the version at Kantin Jewel as it is not so sweet, so I can taste the tea a bit more. I also need not worry too much about diabetes 🤭

Where is your favourite three layer tea?

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Written by Tony Boey on 12 Feb 2024

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