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May 17, 2019
The iconic orange color of Thai tea tells a story of trends seeping through borders and street food, setting the stage for modern Thai cuisine. Contrary to popular belief, Thai tea is not an essential component to traditional Thai culture — nor is it orange, it's actually the product of western influence and tourism. The origins of Thai Tea are unclear, but many believe Pibul Songkram, a field marshal in Thailand around the 1980s, was one of the main influences that popularized the idea of adding condensed milk to tea.
So Where Does The Orange Color Come From?
After recognizing the potential Thai tea had when it gained popularity among Thai restaurant goers, western chefs wanted to give it an identity as bold as the dishes in the colorful Thai palate — so they added orange food coloring. Many of you may not know this, but the orange food coloring gave Thai tea an added exotic element, which drastically enhanced its marketability. Thai tea was so inextricably linked to its orange identity that the orange coloring trend found its way to Thai street markets. Tourists expected their tea to be orange, so the competitive street vendors adapted. This set the stage for the rest of Thai cuisine, as many restaurants, albeit progressive, adopted orange food coloring as another key ingredient in Thai tea.
What Ingredients And Flavors Combine To Produce An Amazing Thai Tea?
Tea is new to Thailand, its popularity and prevalence was initiated in the 1980’s after tea was supplemented for opium as a cash crop. Because of this, many of the ingredients that make up Thai tea are a culmination of Asian flavors from nearby countries. All of these ingredients combine to form an undeniably eclectic flavor.
Thai Tea can be enjoyed at anytime. In our professional opinion, we recommend adding a glass of Thai Tea to go with a spicy dish, where the creamy and sweet texture balances the strong piquant flavors. No matter how you choose to enjoy it, Thai Tea will always be a timeless classic that tells the story of two cultures coming together to create a single masterpiece.
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