Sweet se­crets about milk tea

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - TWOCENTS - By Gao Yim­ing Page Editor: huangyi­ran@glob­al­times.com.cn

One sunny Sun­day af­ter­noon, I re­ceived a WeChat mes­sage from a fe­male friend who was busy writ­ing her lit­er­a­ture es­say in a nearby li­brary. Af­ter many hours of in­ten­sive aca­demic writ­ing, she asked me to join her for some milk tea (also known as naicha). As a naicha lover, this pro­posal would al­low me to grat­ify my ex­ces­sive ap­petite for that de­li­cious bev­er­age.

My friends and I of­ten go for naicha. Some­times we drink it just to kill time and forgo bore­dom. Maybe its sweet taste is just so tempt­ing that we can’t help but be­come nat­u­rally drawn to it. To find out more about why many young peo­ple like me are ad­dicted to naicha, I went out and in­ves­ti­gated.

At the front en­trance of Xi­a­men Univer­sity, I in­ter­viewed Xu and Wang, two un­der­grad­u­ates. The two boys each had a ruck­sack on their backs and a cup of naicha in their hands. When asked about why they love naicha, Xu said, “It is the same as eat­ing snacks. You drink it when your mouth is bored.” But for Wang, naicha helps re­duce the pres­sures of study­ing.

Ziqi, a col­lege girl from Nan­jing, gig­gled af­ter hear­ing my ques­tion. “It’s pri­mar­ily be­cause of its won­der­ful taste,” she an­swered. “Hav­ing a sweet bev­er­age when I’m tired makes me re­laxed and my fa­tigue drifts away.” The 21-year-old doesn’t seem both­ered by the fact that naicha con­tains plenty of su­gar and might cause weight gain. “Just re­mem­ber to do more ex­er­cise to burn the ex­tra calo­ries,” she con­cluded.

Be­sides su­gar, this bev­er­age also con­tains tons of trans fats and caf­feine; con­sum­ing too much and too fre­quently is not healthy. But for lo­cal loyal naicha lovers, the ex­ces­sive in­take of these un­healthy in­gre­di­ents is of lit­tle con­cern. “You can’t see them with your eyes, can you?” laughed Xu. “Any­way, you also eat trans fats in cakes and many other foods. In terms of a healthy diet, it is very dif­fi­cult for young peo­ple.” Wang nod­ded in agree­ment and added, “We al­ready have too many things to worry about in life. Don’t add this kind of petty thing to your worry list.” In re­al­ity, the in­fec­tious naicha frenzy has gone far be­yond Xi­a­men. It can be said that naicha has be­come one of the most pop­u­lar bev­er­ages in China, es­pe­cially among young peo­ple. The phe­nom­e­non has pro­duced a large wave of naicha con­sump­tion in cities both big and small. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port re­leased by China Newsweek, in down­town Bei­jing, the num­ber of naicha stalls to­taled 1,838 as of July of 2017. The num­ber is even higher in down­town Shang­hai.

I ex­pect we will see even more in 2018 and 2019.

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