Have you ever tried “Teh Obeng (Screwdriver Tea)”?

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do”

I  always remember that phrase when going out to someplace new. Be it the local foods or local custom, it’s fun to try and learn something new, right? 🙂

I was in Batam, a small island in Riau Islands of Indonesia. I was having a lunch with local people there when they offered me a drink. One of them asked the waitress for “Teh Obeng” (Bahasa for “Screwdriver Tea”), and I couldn’t help myself to try it and ordered one for me.

When it finally arrived… Ta Da!


Turns it’s a perfectly normal sweet iced tea… But my mind had time to daydream, thinking the connection of the “Teh Obeng” with Screwdriver cocktail. Screwdriver cocktail is a cocktail made of vodka and orange juice, and the drink reportedly got its name because American engineers secretly added vodka to small cans of orange juice and stirred the mixture with their screwdrivers.

The daydream ended when one of the local people said to me that the “Obeng” in “Teh Obeng” is not Bahasa at all, but Hokkien dialect: “O Peng” which means “sweet and cold”. Well… Batam is very close to Singapore, which explain influence in their language and phrases.

Being adventurous won’t always take you to a thrilling journey and discover something new. But let’s keep trying 😀


By the way, if you’re in Batam, go to Adi 8 restaurant at Mas Baloy residential area. Try the Garlic Chicken there, it’s amazing!



6 thoughts on “Have you ever tried “Teh Obeng (Screwdriver Tea)”?

  1. In Melayu, they also called it “teh o peng” but don’t know why malaysians these days call it tea o ice 😛 maybe because of the english influence

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