What’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween milk and “milk drink”?

HK Magazine - - HOME - – Lacto Man

Taste—and a whole lot more be­sides.

Hong Kong’s food la­bel­ing laws mean any­thing that’s not pure 100 per­cent milk must be la­beled as “milk drink” or “milk bev­er­age.” So, for ex­am­ple, a full-fat milk with added cal­cium would come un­der the “milk drink” la­bel.

Whereas over­seas it’s com­mon to find fresh skimmed or semi-skimmed milk—in which the cream and fat con­tent is taken off the top of the milk—in Hong Kong, many low fat milks are made another way. Much of the city’s low-fat milk is made by adding wa­ter to milk pow­der, giv­ing it that uniquely watery, fla­vor­less taste—and re­ally earn­ing that “milk drink” la­bel. Ex­plains a lot, doesn’t it?

If you’re look­ing for fresher, bet­ter milk, you have a cou­ple of op­tions: There’s “red car­ton” fresh (not UHT) milk, pro­duced by Trap­pist Dairy, Nestlé and Kowloon Dairy; this milk is pro­duced at dairy farms in Guang­dong prov­ince, then pas­teur­ized and bot­tled in Hong Kong. Then there’s im­ported milk, gen­er­ally from Aus­tralia, which tends to be of a bet­ter qual­ity—and a higher price. But if you’re re­ally jonesing for the fresh stuff, then you’ll have to look up Farm Milk (78 Lui Kung Tin, Kap Lung Vil­lage, Yuen Long, 28329218, far­m­milk.com.hk). The farm’s cat­tle are all in Hong Kong, and it de­liv­ers fresh milk in whole, skimmed or semiskimmed va­ri­eties straight to your door.

Why is milk so un­pop­u­lar in Hong Kong? For one thing, it mostly has to be im­ported: It’s way eas­ier to bring in pow­der and make it up on-site than bring in no­to­ri­ously spoil-prone fresh milk. For another, up to 90 per­cent of those of Chi­nese eth­nic­ity have at least some de­gree of lac­tose in­tol­er­ance, which puts in­creas­ing the qual­ity and avail­abil­ity of fresh milk pretty low down the agenda.

My ad­vice: Stick to Hong Kong milk tea, made from evap­o­rated milk. That’s my milk drink of choice.

Moo.

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