Sarawak’s famous 3-layer tea for Iftar?

| Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

TEH C Peng Special or 3-layer tea is a favourite local drink that you can find throughout Sarawak.

Okay, for the uninitiated, let’s break up the name definition. “Teh” is of course Malay for tea while “C” is supposed to stand for Carnation brand of evaporated milk while “Peng” is ice in Hokkien. And the “3-layer” is from its appearance.

And some background first. It is said the drink was first enjoyed at the Fresh Food Court at 7th Mile Bazaar in Kota Sentosa, Kuching, before gaining popularity all over Sarawak and even exported to Peninsular Malaysia. This refreshing beverage is an all-time favourite especially for Buka Puasa during Ramadan.

The tea is made up of a unique combination of palm sugar either using Gula Melaka or Gula Apong, together with evaporated milk and red or black tea.

Okay, now, let’s try this recipe.


What you need

For the brown sugar syrup:

150g of palm Sugar or original Sarawak Gula Apong (roughly chopped)

20g brown sugar

30g white sugar

2 pandan leaves

60ml hot water

For the drink

2 bags of tea

70ml of evaporated milk

4 tablespoons brown sugar syrup

260ml hot water

Ice cubes


1. Let’s prepare the brown sugar syrup. Place chopped palm sugar, white sugar and water and rind in a saucepan. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes until palm sugar melts. Add the pandan leaves to give a wonderful aroma to the palm sugar. Stir to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes until the syrup is thick, sticky and turned a rich caramel in colour. Store in an air tight container.

2. Now, the drink. Brew tea bags with 260ml water, allowing tea bags to steep in hot water for at least 2 minutes. Get a tall glass, put in the brown sugar syrup, fill the glass with ice cubes. Pour in the evaporated milk into glass, then lastly pour in the tea. And voila, you’ll your 3-layer tea. Due to the density of each layer, they create separate layers of different colours. Don’t forget to take a picture before you stir it. Enjoy!

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