Recipe & Story by @lilybubbletea
Reminiscing about past travels with chicken char siu baos and meyer lemon ginger cold brew iced tea made with Sonoma Syrup Co.'s Simple Syrups. Sonoma Syrup Co. asked me to create a food+drink pairing inspired by an unforgettable experience so I made this combo inspired by my trip to Hong Kong a few years ago. It was the first time I really had to rely on my Cantonese, and though I resisted practicing it enough as a kid, I won’t forget how proud I was of myself, and grateful for that connection with my dad’s language, during that trip. So, here’s an homage to a couple of HK classics—char siu and iced lemon tea—but with my own Californian vibes added to the mix.
For the food, I roasted chicken thighs in sticky char siu marinade instead of the usual pork, and served it tucked into these “lotus leaf” style steamed bao (less common in Cantonese cuisine) so I could top it with pickled onions, cilantro, and radish microgreens.
For the drink, I took inspiration from the underrated Hong Kong style iced lemon tea. It doesn’t get as much love as HK milk tea but it is so bright and refreshing. For my version, I made a cold brew black tea, which I think tastes much smoother than tea steeped in hot water. But have you ever tried to add sugar to cold tea? It takes forever to dissolve! Using Sonoma Syrup Co.'s artisanal Simple Syrups was the perfect way to add a touch of sweetness and infuse flavor from sustainably harvested, all-natural botanicals.
To make it, start by combining 1/2 gallon cold water with 4 tbsp orange pekoe tea and allow to brew in the fridge overnight before straining. Then, to a 12 oz glass, add:
1 cup (8 oz) cold brew tea
1 1/2 tsp. Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup
1 1/2 tsp. White Ginger Simple Syrup
4+ thin slices meyer lemon
Gently muddle the lemon slices and garnish; I used lemon balm and violas from my backyard to give it a springy look! Since the tea is already cold, I opted not to add ice.
Hong Kong Style Meyer Lemon & Ginger Iced Tea
To make it, start by combining 1/2 gallon cold water with 4 tbsp orange pekoe tea and allow to brew in the fridge overnight before straining.
To a 12 oz glass, combine the Simple Syrups with 8 oz of cold brew tea.
Gently muddle the lemon slices and garnish (lemon balm and violas featured). Ice is optional.