I usually go to Tai Pan Bakery for a fix of creamy, sweet Hong Kong Milk Tea—iced in the summer and hot in the winter. But a friend recently turned me on to their Papaya Milk ($4.25), which she swears by on those muggy, warm days. It's made with fresh papayas—about half a papaya in each order, blended with skim milk, sugar, and ice.
You can tell them how much sugar you want by indicating level of sweetness. I just say, "only a little sweet," and that more or less gets the message across. It comes iced with a frothy top, the drink itself thin in consistency with a light milky sweetness. Though they use fresh fruit, the papaya flavor isn't bold or aggressive, just subtle and clear from the first sip to the last. It's an unexpectedly elegant blend—drink up before the weather turns cold!
Tai Pan Bakery
194 Canal Street, New York, NY 10013 (map) 212-732-2222