Food Hack: Happy Lemon Cheese Foam

Words: Dwight Co/Photography: Mylene Chung/Styling and Recipe Development: Katherine Jao/May 3, 2012

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If you thought lining up for “The Avengers” was awful, try going to Happy Lemon.

Happy Lemon’s queues are painfully long that if you combine all the people lining up in all their branches in the Philippines during prime time, you could probably form a human chain from Manila to Tagaytay.

So, what’s their secret? (Part-owner Chris Tiu!)

For those who are unfamiliar, they sell this strange, frothy creation they call their “Rock Salt Cheese Foam,” which is more often than not, a love-hate thing for most people. Obviously though, the endless waves of zombies who line up show that more people love it.

Now, if you’re anything like us and you absolutely detest waiting, you might wanna give this recipe a try!

Happy Lemon Rock Salt and Cheese

Yield: 2-3 servings

Ingredients for the Tea (not exactly Happy Lemon’s)

  • 2 sachet black tea
  • 2 cups Hot water
  • Sugar or Corn Syrup

Ingredients for the Cheese Foam

  • 1/2 cup Cream cheese spread, softened
  • 1/4 cup Condensed milk, chilled
  • 1/3 cup Whipping cream, chilled well
  • Himalayan pink rock salt

Procedure for the Tea

  1. Prepare tea in advanced.
  2. Steep black tea in hot water for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Allow the tea to cool and put in the chiller for at least two hours.

Procedure for the Cream Cheese Foam

  1. In a bowl, whisk cream until a bit thick like syrup.
  2. Add softened cream cheese and condensed milk
  3. Whisk together well. Keep in chiller until ready to use.

Assembly

  1. When serving, pour tea in a glass.
  2. Add in syrup (amount based on sweetness level preference) and stir.
  3. Add 2-3 spoons of cheese foam.
  4. Sprinkle with rock salt. Serve.

Notes

  1. In a hurry? Add ice to the tea to cool it faster. If you’re doing this, make sure to steep the tea longer to have a stronger tea—ice will dilute it. For a totally different flavor, you can also use Iced Chocolate Milk instead of tea!
happylemon

Dwight Co

Managing Director/Founder

When he was nine, Dwight stormed the kitchen and proudly cooked himself his first dish, Spam and eggs. Realizing his immense talent for cooking canned food, he co-founded Pepper.ph in 2012. Aside from directing Pepper.ph's content and design, Dwight also makes websites and runs a tiny ramen house in Burgos Circle called Wrong Ramen. See More.

  • http://www.foodreviewsmanila.com/ Guia Obsum

    Admittedly, not into Happy Lemon’s green tea with rock salt and cheese though some say I should try the cocoa version (but that’s not tea anymore ;p). I love Gong Cha’s milk winter melon tea though, creamy milk foam and all so this recipe would still work for me. Maybe instead of black tea, I can use Hibiscus, I wonder how that would fare, haha!

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      Try it, Hibiscus sounds nice, it might just work!:) haha! I have to try Gong Cha’s milk winter tea, it sounds really good. I’ve only tried their classic green tea with cheese foam. Good luck with your little experiment! Hope you like our cheese foam recipe!:D

  • http://enjoywithjoy.wordpress.com/ Joy Dinovski

    Woah I have to go home I think I missing out a lot :-) Happy Lemon Rock Salt makes sense but cheese and condensed milk? But the adventure side of me is willing to try…have to go to the store to buy the Himalayan salt :-)

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      Hope you enjoy the recipe!:D Tell us what you think!

      • http://enjoywithjoy.wordpress.com/ Joy Dinovski

        Here it is Mylene…I made it! Love or hate it? I love it, just a few changes of the ingredients but it turned out to be a refreshing drink. I do get now why people are lining up, so I guess I beat the line too…lol! Thank you for sharing and looking forward for more :-)

        My version: http://enjoywithjoy.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/pepper-phs-version-happy-lemon-rock-salt-and-cheese/

        • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

          Glad you enjoyed it Joy!! Loving the post as well! You can also try it with iced chocolate milk next time, It’s also divine!:D

    • http://twitter.com/katherinejao Katherine Jao

      Hi Joy! :) you can use any kind of good quality rocksalt. I just find the pink Himalayan to have the right salt level for the drink, it’s not too harsh.

  • http://thepaoloproject.com/ Paolo

    Awesome. I prefer the one with cocoa, though. Will try replicating the cheese foam na lang. Cool!

    • http://twitter.com/katherinejao Katherine Jao

      Hi Paolo! what you can do is buy Chocolait or any choco milk and top with the cheese foam. :)

      • http://thepaoloproject.com/ Paolo

        Chocolait for the win! ;D

  • http://twitter.com/OCFoodBlogger OCFoodBlogger

    I’ve never seen tea like this, maybe besides thai tea, but I wish I can try this.

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      Try it! It’s super good! Don’t forget to tell us what you think!:D

  • http://twitter.com/jynxypanda Tiffany K

    Great tutorial! Do you know how to make the cocoa version (do i just put milk and cocoa? haha!XD)

    • http://twitter.com/katherinejao Katherine Jao

      Hi Tiffany! just use any chocolate milk drink of your choice then top with cheese foam. :)

  • http://twitter.com/laurenisabelong Lauren Isabel

    Hi there! ;D I’d like to ask, where can you buy the Pink Himalayan rocksalt and around how much does it cost? Thank you so much! I enjoyed reading your blog! <3

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      Hi Lauren, really sorry for the late reply! Been a bit busy for the past few days. According to Kat, you can get Pink Himalayan Rocksalt in any Chelsea’s branch! Hope you’ll enjoy the recipe!

  • Summertango

    Where can I get Himalayan rock salt in Manila?

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      Hi Summertango! You can get the rock salt at Chelsea’s! Enjoy!:D

      • Camilleluisadee

        May I ask where’s Chelsea’s? :)

        • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

          So sorry for the late reply, wasn’t able to see this until now. You can find Chelsea’s in Serendra and there’s also one in Podium.:)

  • ea

    may i ask for the brand of cream cheese you prefer for this recipe?

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      Hi ea! We use Magnolia Cream Cheese! It’s actually one of the cheapest brands of Cream Cheese you’ll find in the groceries. Enjoy!

  • anne s

    wow cant wait to try this! was always wonderin how to make that cheese froth :3

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      Hope you like the recipe Anne!:D

  • May

    Yes! I knew this could be done at home. Would normal rocksalt suffice though? :(

    • http://twitter.com/mylenechung Mylene Chung

      Yes it will still work. But it might be a bit more salty than Himalayan so be sure not to put in too much.:)

      • May

         Thank you! BTW I’ve been following you since DA! :)

  • Queenie Tan

    Looks good! I will definitely try this but with wintermelon tea :)

  • Nikki

    Hi! Where can I buy Himalayan pink rocksalt? 

    • Joseph

      Health food and supplements stores, sm groceries, salcedo market. Meron din sa Bizu. It’s quite expensive, around 800-1000 pesos, pero meron din minsang tingi na tig-50 per small pack. 

      • Nikki

        Thank you :)

  • Achat

    Definitely, I would like to try this recipe. By the way, what type of whipping cream ( Dairy or Non-dairy)?  Any recommended brand of Whipping cream ? Thanks

    • Ed

      I saw how they prepare it, they are using Anchor Culinary Cream.

  • Joseph

    Thanks. I checked he price for the pink rock salt, it was expensive. 

  • Joyce Romero

    Actually tried doing this recipe. And… I didn’t die making it! Wuhoo! Props for Pepper.ph for making newbies like me venture safely into the kitchen world. 

    http://alittlemoreaction.tumblr.com/post/28574515036/so-i-tried-doing-pepper-phs-food-hack-of-happy

  • Aikko Aragon

    I can not wait to try this one! but instead of black tea, will try it with wintermelon tea – just like Cha Time’s. Thanks so much for the recipe :) – Aikko

    • Rebecca

      Try gongcha’s house special wintermelon milk tea, the best!

  • Kokey

    Hi, we tried this but didn’t get the cheese foam to float. Any tips :-D

    • May

      My cheese foam is so thick and heavy it doesn’t float :( I can’t get it into the same consistency as Happy Lemon’s. But what I do to make it float is I put a lot of ice so the foam would sit on top of that :)

    • Louie Mani

      I was at happy lemon the other day. I saw them whipping their cream to stiff peak. You could try doing that. I have yet to try this recipe. :)

  • valerie

    hi i would just like to ask if you have any tips on how to avoid the cream from curdling? i made some earlier and left it not for more than an hour and the cream already curdled :( i was hoping to make the cream and store it for future use. thanks!

    • Ed

      Given the right circumstances, any milk or cream product will curdle (a process in which the curd protein, casein, coagulates and forms clumps). Acid, heat, and salt are the antagonists, all of which cause curdling. The milk has only one defense mechanism, which you don’t want to hear about — fat. The more fat it contains (and the fresher it is), the less likely it is to curdle. There is a dramatic difference in the ability of heavy cream vs. light cream to resist curdling. To bring skim milk into the equation is almost asking it to curdle.

  • Blup

    Prepare tea in advanced. > Prepare tea in advance.

  • tiki

    what is that powder they put on top of each drinks? it doesn’t look like rock salt. it is just cocoa powder or green tea powder?

  • http://www.facebook.com/thanislim Thanis Lim

    Going to make this and blog about it ~~ thanks for sharing this recipe :)

  • Ed

    You got it right on the cheese foam.

    I knew there was condensed milk in it & Anchor Culinary Cream.

    I saw how they prepare it, and saw them pouring a box of Anchor Culinary Cream.

    As for milk, they use Harvey Fresh. It is displayed on their shelves.

  • Ed

    I’m not impressed with their cocoa with rock salt & cheese. I don’t why people are lining up for this. A lot of uneducated palette, hmmm. Their cocoa drink tasted like nesquick. their cheese float, doesn’t taste like cream cheese, it tasted exactly like Anchor Culinary Cream & Condensed Milk

    • May

      Or maybe it’s not that they have an “uneducated palette”, it’s just that people have different preferences.

    • Eropan

      Quite ironic that you used palette instead of palate.

  • Nurie

    I used Swiss Valley Cream Cheese, Carnation Condensada & Elle et Vire Whipping Cream to try and make this Cheese Froth but it doesn’t taste the same. It is much, much more mild in comparison to the Happy Lemon froth I tasted yesterday. I am guessing I need to be using Anchor Culinary Cream as well as Magnolia Cream Cheese to get the right “flavour”? Please let me know. Also, for the chocolate milk, should I use Chocolait? Thanks in advance. :)

  • Miles Ong

    I have been searching for this rock salt and cheese thingy. I haven’t tried happy lemon’s yet, but I sure loved the version from Gong Cha and one local milk tea house. I can’t wait to try this recipe and serve it with Assam tea, maybe…

  • Angeline J. Tan

    can i use nestle cream for this? all purpose cream?

  • kikaysikat

    I knew there was condensed milk. How do I keep my extra “rock salt and cheese” mix from spoiling? How long can I keep my mixture in the fridge?