This Article is From Oct 31, 2018

'Chai Tea' Lovers, Padma Lakshmi Has A Message For You!

Indian origin American model, actor and author Padma Lakshmi set the record straight about 'chai tea', which has become popular in America and a number of other countries.

'Chai Tea' Lovers, Padma Lakshmi Has A Message For You!


  • 'Chai tea' is a term used to refer to masala chai in a some countries
  • Padma Lakshmi tweeted to people to stop calling it 'chai tea'
  • " ..youre saying tea tea", tweeted Padma Lakshmi

We've all heard these westernised terms of our much-loved Indian foods and drinks- golden milk (haldi doodh), clarified butter (ghee), naan bread (naan) and that most weird sounding of all, chai tea (tea tea?). India's much loved milky and spiced concoction masala chai has become famous over the world, especially in America. A number of refreshment centers and cafes in America are selling masala chai under the name 'Chai Tea' to delighted tea connoisseurs, who have learned to love various avatars of the masala chai. So while we're delighted that the rest of world is recognising the charm of our much-loved elixir, some Indians are not thrilled about the name that the drink has come to be recognised by. On Tuesday, Indian origin American author, actor and model Padma Lakshmi voiced this same grouse harboured by many Indians.

Taking a cue from a Twitter user who asked her to "please tell white people" to stop using the term 'chai tea', Padma Lakshmi tweeted, "Dear White People, We love you but chai is actually the word for tea in Hindi! So when you say chai tea, you're saying 'tea tea' like the cartoon guy in the pizza ad, and all a billion brown people hear is nails on a chalkboard."

Many more people chimed in to register their own protests against the term. A number of users applauded Padma Lakshmi's efforts to 'de-westernise' the drink's name. "Not all heros wear capes. Thank you", said one user. "R.I.P. in Peace Chai Tea", tweeted another. Somebody pointed out that this confusion wasn't restricted to just 'white people' as the countries where 'chai tea' was being sold, had people from a number of different ethnicities, races and colours. "Right, only "white people" call it chai tea", the user tweeted, to which Padma Lakshmi was quick to respond, saying, "Dude you're right! Dear everyone who doesn't know what chai means: it means tea so you don't have to say it twice!"

While she was at it, she also cleared another food term confusion: "Another PSA: To Whom It May Concern, You don't have to say Ahi Tuna either. Just say you want tuna or Ahi in your poke bowl." 'Ahi' is the Hawaiian term for tuna, which means that the term 'Ahi tuna' just translated to 'tuna tuna'. Well, we all learnt something today!