Egg tea. Yeah, that's right. Hot tea with egg in it.
Indonesians, like most people, like a nice cup of tea. Occasionally with milk, and very often with sugar. But I'm not sure which bright spark it was who decided that their cuppa would be considerably improved by adding a beaten egg to it. It certainly doesn't sound like a particularly good idea. Yet, somehow it is quite fabulous.
It was at a Padang restaurant in Tebet, Jakarta where we stumbled across this drink, called teh telur. I'd heard of it before, and as someone who views weird foods and drinks as a challenge, I just had to have it.
As I understand it, the process begins by whisking an egg vigorously (with sugar?) until it becomes light and frothy, then combining that with hot black tea, and sweetened condensed milk as well. The result is delicious, if slightly too sweet, and not eggy at all; rather, it has a creamy custard-like quality to it, particularly the top layer.
Kopi telur (egg coffee) is also available, and so I had to come back a few days later to try it. I didn't like it quite as much, but then again I am much more of a tea drinker than a coffee drinker. Again, it is sweet, rich and custardy.
Both drinks comes with a wedge of lime to add tartness. Given that it already contains hot milk and egg, the idea of squeezing lime juice into it seemed kind of bizarre and potentially revolting. I did it, of course, because, well... it was there. I did this against the advice of my significant other, but I did wait until the end when I was almost finished. The result? Umm, it was okay, I couldn't quite work out whether it was good or not. She thought the lime juice made it revolting.
So try it if you ever get the chance.
I've since tried to make it at home; difficult since I didn't actually see it being made and so I had to consult the interwebs for tidbits of information. My first effort was not great - it tasted like pretty much what you'd expect when you mix hot tea into egg. My second cup was better, but really not something I'd choose to drink, in contrast to the original glass we tried. Learning how to make this properly will be on my to-do list on my next Indonesian trip.