Sarintip “Jazz” Singsanong is standing over a pot of tea, watching the water take on a burnt ochre color as the mixture gently simmers. “Careful you don’t overcook,” she says, “or the tea will be bitter.” The owner of Jitlada, the beloved Hollywood southern Thai restaurant and a mainstay on Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants List, is in The Times’ Test Kitchen demonstrating the restaurant’s Thai tea.
The method is straightforward: Bring water to a boil, add tea (Singsanong uses a green tea blend found in many Thai markets) and simmer for about five minutes before straining. The ratio of tea to water will vary to taste; Singsanong prefers about 2 cups of tea to 5 cups of water. When the liquid is fragrant, she strains the tea using a Thai filter: a long cotton sleeve attached to a thick wire handle. Singsanong serves the tea in typical southern Thai style, over thick, sweetened condensed milk, carefully pouring the tea over the milk so the liquids remain separate. It’s a simple but striking presentation, and the tea — part beverage and part dessert — is just rich and sweet enough to counter even the spiciest food at Jitlada.