milk tea store in California is giving drinkers something to cough about with their new flavor that uses a traditional Chinese remedy.
Labobatory in the Los Angeles County city of San Gabriel has concocted a drink called Cough Syrup Green tea that incorporates King To Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa (京都念慈菴川貝枇杷膏), a popular herbal medicine in Asia used to relief sore throat and coughs.
The drink is part of the store’s holiday menu and underlines their aim to “blend premium traditional ingredients and modern twists on ingredients new and old,” Labobatory wrote on Facebook.
Also known as Pi Pa Gao in Mandarin, the medicine is based on a Qing Dynasty recipe created by an official to cure his mother of her cough. It combines 15 herbs such as fritillaria bulb, loquat leaf, licorice root, citrus peel, mushroom, peppermint, and roots in a honey syrup for a taste that is minty, herbal, and sweet.
Pei Pa Koa is now manufactured by Nin Jiom Medicine Manufactory, which was founded in 1946 and currently based in Hong Kong. The name Ni Jiom means “memory of mother” and the logo pays tribute to the act of filial piety that inspired the cure’s creation.
Labobatory isn’t the first to use Pei Pa Koa in food. Chef Jeremy Leung, formerly of Whampoa Club restaurant in Shanghai, once served a steamed pear dessert with Pei Pa Koa and almond cream. In Singapore, a bartender has created a dark rum and Pei Pa Koa cocktail and a bubble tea shop has a milk tea with the cough syrup and grass jelly.
Whether herbal medicine in tea will catch on in China as much as cheese did remains to be seen.