The worst thing to have happened in the post independence Bangladesh is the use of vegetable fat condensed milk in tea. It is the most disgraceful of our inventions. Taste of condensed milk tea can only be compared with a sweetener gone foul. Still, its enduring use has confounded tea aficionados. Maybe, people fell for the pinkish brown colour when condense milk is added to a cup of tea.
When it first entered Bangladesh market in a massive way in the early 1990s, I thought it won’t last more than a few years. But then the companies like Abul Khaer Group and Partex Group, two tobacco makers turned conglomerates, launched a massive nationwide campaign to push its sale even in the remotest parts of the country.
Its arrival also coincided with the spike in addiction of phensidyl across the country. It became mandatory for every Dyl Addict to devour tonnes of sweetened condensed milk tea after a bottle of cough syrup There were also not enough cows to meet the growing demand for pinkish brown tea in villages and towns across the country.
Thanks god, in recent years people in many places, especially in rural towns, have risen up against condense milk tea. In recent visits to rural areas, I haven’t seen a single tea shop selling condensed milk tea in half a dozen villages. Thousands of tea shops have already phased out use of vegetable fat condensed milk and instead are selling pure cow milk tea. And the cow milk tea business is booming.
There is no doubt it is a major sign of rural prosperity. A cow milk tea costs between five and 20 taka depending on where you take the tea and the popularity of the shop. Tea shops have also emerged as the biggest buyers of cow and buffalo milk in villages, keeping the prices of the liquid gold at a robust rate throughout the year. Condensed milk isn’t dead yet. But I won’t be surprised if its sale comes to an abrupt end next year, the 50th anniversary of our independence.
In comments Kawsar Khan Suman, a official said “ When I came to know for the first time that condensed milk was not made of milk, I felt sad, maybe felt a bit cheated also. May be it’s not ethical to call a food item milk which lacks even a drop of it. Isn’t it misleading?”