It sounds funky, but it makes sense when you try it.
It’s Saturday night around 8 p.m. in Guangzhou, the capital of China's southern Guangdong province, and I’ve just joined a line of about about 75 people in the basement of a shopping mall. But we’re not here to get our hands on a new pair of Yeezys, sneak into a trendy new bar, or standing as part of a larger piece of performance art. Instead, we're queuing outside HEYTEA tea house, waiting to sample tea. But not just any tea; no, this tea comes topped with cheese.
Called zhī shì chá in Mandarin (meaning “cheese tea”), the concept has spread from the street stalls of Taiwan to China, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and even to New York’s Flushing neighborhood, where Happy Lemon serves the tea in four flavors, including chocolate. The West Coast has caught on, too: In Los Angeles, Little Fluffy Head Cafe specializes in small-batch, cheese-topped brews with names like Dirty Mess Milk Tea and Camouflage Matcha.