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Category: bubble tea Page 1 of 6

OneZo Tapioca 丸作

After dinner we were looking for something sweet to end the night on. My guest has been meaning to visit this bubble tea shop in Burnaby for a while now. And she hasn’t until now, given the long lines and its original opening popularity.

We arrived just in time to beat the rush. With limited seating, you are lucky to be able to grab one of their two tables, or row of bar seats facing the wall.

This bubble tea cafe is better known for their house-made pearls. They don’t deal in the regular black tapioca balls, but smaller pearls flavoured in a variety of popular Asian ingredients and seasonal flavours.

You place your order at the counter, and like most other bubble tea cafes, you can choose your sweetness and amount of ice by percentage. They had all the familiar milk teas and slushes; as well as the new trendy dirty brown sugar tea series, fruit blended green teas, real taro smoothies, and even a collection of “healthy teas” which included honey and sesame teas.

Next, you pick your pearls. The “crystal” tapioca is white in colour with no distinguishing flavour. Purple tapioca is taro, black is black sesame, and yellow is mango. Only the black sesame tasted like it promised. I barely got any mango, and had even less from the taro. They also have a rotating seasonal flavour, on this visit it was “cactus”. I would have liked to try such a unique offering, but they only have their seasonal pearls available during the weekends. Instead I got their “Onezo tapioca”, three of the above flavours mixed together. Seeing as it is all pre-mixed, you can’t choose which three you get. They also don’t offer you samples of their pearls, so you take a chance on not getting what you want, or a flavoured pearl that might not compliment your drink. As for the pearl itself, I found them small, and the chew less desirable as a result, but still very fresh. However, the mix of pearl flavours I wanted to try, ended up taking away from my drink.

I had the “Jasmine green tea milk tea”, which is one of their most popular drinks. I ordered it as intended with 80% sugar and 100% ice. I liked how I was able to enjoy it as a smaller cup, which gave me a better ratio of pearl to sip-of-drink.

My guest, the bubble tea fan, went for the “oolong milk tea” with 50% sugar, 25% ice, and the crystal tapioca. She found that the white ones tasted like sesame.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Another bubble tea option in Burnaby, giving you a differing reason to visit them, instead of their competitors. Don’t deny your cravings.

ONEZO
4929 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H 2E5
(604) 423-4929
onezotapioca.com

Xing Fu Tang, Burnaby

This one has been a long time coming. I have tried to visit this Taiwanese import for a while now, but kept encountering lengthy lines at its original location. So with its second in Burnaby, in a less frequented area, with plenty of parking to boot; a visit is much more feasible.

Its all windowed exterior and bright interior lights make it a beacon in the night. Easy to spot driving by, where everything else is shuttered for the evening. There menu is televised above the counter and taped up on a pillar by the door. It is easy to read and make your choice by sight. 11 specialty drinks and your typical teas with the possibility to add in pearls.

My guest is already a frequent customer so knew what she was getting, the same thing she gets every time. Their trademark specialty drink, the one that they are most famous, and the one the menu highlighted with a larger photo of.

“Brown sugar pearl milk”. An additional level of decadence is added to your typical pearl milk tea. The tapioca pearls are mixed in with melted brown sugar. The latter has a sticky toffee-like consistency, adhering to the pearl and the cup; making it look “dirty” (another nick name used to describe this class of drink). This combining of pearl and brown sugar is done throughout the day, when they sell through of one batch. If you visit at the right time, you will be treated to the show of them making it, and the scent of a room sweetened by cooking sugars. A specialty wok is placed at the counter, set behind glass for a hygienic view point. Here is where the magic happens, and the pearls stay until they are scooped in to cups using a specialty curled metal spatula.

As for the drink itself: It is a scoop of these brown sugar extra sweeten pearls, milk, cocoa power, and a vanilla cream foam topping that is torched. You can smell its burnt caramel flavour just by holding it. But surprisingly it is not as sweet as you think it would be. Drinking it without stirring, it tastes like slightly chocolatey milk. But after a good mix, folding the foam into the milk and having its torched heat warm up the serving, it is pretty darn tasty. A sweetness that is great the first few sips, but wears on you after a few more. No complaints from my guest who admitted that this was her second one in as many days.

I preferred the “bunny jelly mango smoothie”, this was also recommend by the laminated colour menu. A larger photo to have the allure of a rabbit on your drink lure you in. It was impressive that they were able to make the drink thick enough to have the coconut jelly moulded bunny sit a top of the drink without sinking. This too was sweet, but better with the tartness of their mango and the blended ice that helped to thicken it. In this drink you don’t get the regular black pearls, these were called “pink pearls”. They were squishier and popped more than the regular pearls, but not as juicy as juice pearls. A nice in between with less chewing, and equal parts sweet and tart. But the rabbit was my favourite part, a dessert on its own. Tasty coconut jelly you can either try to break down and have with your drink, or coconut jelly you can fish out of your cup and eat as is. Two desserts in one.

Worth noting is that their cups feel smaller than the ones at other bubble tea places, but at the same time I don’t think you need anymore. They were filled to the brim, and then some with the spill proof lid in place.

And while you are waiting for your drink to be made to other, you can also get your fortune told. A Taiwanese tradition that has you picking a red tipped wooden stick out of a collection of 100. Each one is numbered. The number corresponds to a number on a little drawer, from the fixture adjacent. You open the drawer to retrieve your paper fortune. A sheet that you can take with you as a souvenir. Based on the ones my guest and I got, it feels very romantic and relationship driven.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
I am not a big fan of bubble tea and sweet things, but from what I tasted, and comparing it to others, I definitely like their brown sugar pearl drink the most (haven’t tried many to date). Worth trying if you haven’t already. They are on a different level with their bubble tea gastronomy. Don’t deny your cravings.

XING FU TANG
2675 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5R 5H4
(604) 423-3773
xingfutang.ca

Buns + Boba

I have often passed by this cafe for my daily commute, and today I finally had the time and stomach space to check it out.

With the cafe’s spacious seating area and natural lighting, they make for a great place to meet up with a friend or to sneak a quiet moment for yourself. You order at the counter, situated at in the centre of the room, across from it, a collection of kitchen goods for purchase. Swedish dish cloths, salt bowls, and patterned spatulas.

Up front are shared tables and individual surfaces, at the very back is a living room setting with couches and a book shelf. Plenty of comfy corners meant to entice guests to linger.

Given the name of the place I made sure to try one of their buns with boba. Boba in their house “B&B milk tea”. The bubble tea was pretty standard, made with powder, it had plenty of caffeine for a decent pick me up. With it, I was able to grab the last of their pearls for the day. Half an order, which I offset with half an order of coconut jelly in this “large” cup.

Now the bun were something special. The taste of the dough and the flavours offered weren’t new, but how the dough was shaped was. The braiding allowed you to peal off bites in strips, with crispy pieces and spongy sections interwoven like art. Visible behind glass, you can order each bun based on it colour. Red for the tomato sauce and herb bun, yellow for the cheese and scallions bun, white on the coconut and honey drizzled bun, dark brown for cardamom, and light brown for cinnamon and sugar.

I ordered the last matcha based on its popularity, and was not disappointed. And because of it, I would like to try a few of their other buns, or maybe one of their made to order sandwiches and/or savoury toasts.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Not a destination, but a great place to stop for a snack if you are walking past. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BUNS + BOBA
327 East Broadway, Vancouver BC, V5T 1W5
604-879-2770
bunsandboba.com

Edge Yuandian tea and juice bar

Looking for an after dinner dessert option, my guest suggested the newly opened bubble tea place “Edge Yuandian tea and juice bar”. Truth be told, she sold me by describing its decor.

With all the other places for bubble tea in Vancouver you have to find a way to stand out, and here, “Edge” certainly has… or should I say, they have an “edge” in the game. Their pink cafe screams Instagram worthy, with a great selfie being reason enough to visit.

A minimalist approach on furnishings, but where they shine is in their decoration. One pink wall featured a collection of blown glass vases, empty and hung in disarray; they looked like bubbles coming from out of the wall.

The other had pastel rainbow cotton tuffs, clouds in this candy sweet wonderland. We were able to take our photos uninterrupted, by coming early and avoiding the after dinner crowd. As the only bubble tea game in the area for miles around, I can imagine them the popular kid on the block. And seeing this installation live I can definitely recommend coming down to see it in person.

As for the drinks, I didn’t find them especially different from anything or anywhere else, although the pearls were solid. My lactose allergic friend got one of their black teas with coconut milk and the traditional tapioca pearls. It was as expected, overwhelming with the distinct flavour of coconut. She ordered it with less ice and less sugar, opting for the ability to customize her drink further.

I had the Matcha milk with fresh strawberry and pearls. This, after a long agonizing decision on what to get. They had a few interesting sounding combinations to consider. But ultimately I made my choice based on what looked most appealing to me. A choice made easier with their collection of photos on an iPad. Each photo gave you more than just what the menu listed them as, with some names being more mysterious than other’s: “Avocado panna cotta”, “twin stars”, and “pink teddy”. They didn’t have an English description, but a line of Chinese character/, so you are forced to ask the clerk behind the counter what things are, if you are ordering based on taste.

The actual drink was matcha heavy, what I thought would be a creamy tea based beverage, was actually light like matcha powder stirred into luke warm milk. Luckily the strawberry chunks that it comes with and the addition of pearls that I ordered, made the drink more interesting. I enjoyed all the chewing through watery mouthfuls. But what I didn’t consider was how the drink looses something when you do as the clerk says, and stir it all together before you drink.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
A great edition for bubble tea fans in the area. Pretty drinks in one heck of a whimsical setting. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

EDGE YUANDIAN
106-950 West Broadway, Vancouver BC, V5Z 1K7
604-423-2808

On Yogurt, new February menu

Today I was at “On Yogurt” to try out their latest seasonal offerings. For the month of February they have five new specialty items launching.

To celebrate their 3rd year anniversary they are jumping on the brown sugar pearl trend. They have found a clever way to incorporate the sticky pearl’s popularity into their line of ice fried yogurts, shaken teas, and pressed waffles. These “dirty” treats are available from now to the end of February.

The “Bubble waffle dirty cup” is at its essence a dressed bubble waffle, but made into a parfait. Served in a plastic cup with a spoon, this rendition is easier to travel with and to eat. It is their original bubble waffle ripped apart and top with a yogurt cheese foam, black sugar pearls, and cocoa powder. “Dirty” is definitely the right work to describe this. Fun to eat and tasty with the classic salty and sweet pairing. Chewy with pearls, creamy with cheese foam, and crispy with baked waffle. I enjoyed the pearls like this more than at the bottom of any bubble tea.

However if I was to choose between the two, I would get the “Taiyaki dirty fish”. Same yogurt cheese foam, black sugar pearls, and cocoa powder; but in a crispy pressed Taiyaki shell instead. Half croissant and half bubble waffle, the flaky pastry is further filled with a black sugar spread. The crispiness of the taiyaki held up, even after it cooled, but the middle is the best part, with its phyllo dough core.

And starting on February 14, they have 3 Valentine’s Day themed drinks and a dessert that will also be available until February 28th.

The “Rose Ferrero Rocher” ice fried yogurt gelato with strawberry and edible gold flake was very photogenic. The ice cream is beautiful with the bits of brown chocolate and shredded pink rose petals. And everything is always made better with a sheet of gold topping it. The chocolate in the ice cream was great for texture and crunch. Whereas the flavour of the rose water was what you tasted. It was good, but not a flavour I couldn’t see myself finishing, due to its specific nature, therefore this would be best shared.

The “Fresh taro milk with white pearls and Ferraro rocher” was as interesting idea and it gave me a few firsts. I have never had a taro drink that used mashed, steamed taro before. And this was my first time trying agar pearls. Together with warm milk and cold ice cubes, the result was a murky cup that tasted a lot better that it looked.

Originally I wasn’t too keen on the white agar pearls above, but grew to like them more in the “Rose tea with cheese milk foam”. It has a texture similar to cartilage, but chewier. They offered something to grind through as you avoided the rose petals floating up. They petals are edible, but I wasn’t keen on their texture and how much they dominated when you got one between your tongue and teeth. Although as annoying as fishing out petals and spitting leaves was, I would still go back for more. Overall this was a super tasty drink, and I have never had anything like it in my life. I suggest trying each layer when you first get it, then mixing it all together: juice and cream for a completely new drink.

In short, I suggest heading down to “On Yogurt”, and trying out each of these for yourself. And from Feb 19-24, the first 5 dirty fish or dirty cup orders for the day, will be free. And after that, 10% off for everyone else.

 

ON YOGURT
95 Smithe Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 1C2
778-788-8691
onyogurt.com

Vancouver Foodster’s Ice Tea Challenge 2018

This summer I had the pleasure of being one of the three judges to help taste and rate the six contestants of this year’s Vancouver Foodster’s ice tea challenge. Vancouver Foodster hosts competitions all around the Lower Mainland, inviting restaurants to compete in specific themes, (I also had the honour of judging the caesar competition last year). This extra bit of fun helps to bring extra visitors to each of the participating establishments. Individuals who might never have heard of the restaurants anyway else travel to try their creations. Truly I have never heard of a handful of these places, and might not have gone out of my way to visit them, if not for this social media forward competition.

Not only did the judges have a say in who is the best at quenching Vancouver’s thirst with an iced tea, but anyone was able to participate in the judging process. Like it is with all of these competitions, you need only visit all the participants to try their offerings, then you cast your vote at http://vancouverfoodster.com/ice-tea-challenge/. This blog is written as a recap, therefore the iced tea contest has now ended and the winner has been decided. But to try your hand at judging, or to lend a hand a second time, the next competition is already running, and is in need of your palette and ballot. This is the “Best Sundae Challenge”, for more details visit: http://vancouverfoodster.com/category/stories/challenges/

The following ice teas and how I critiqued them are in the order of me trying them. For a few of these cafes I had more than the competing drink and was therefore able to blog about them as well. Read the ice tea reviews, then visit the link to learn a little more about each restaurant.

 

At “Sencha Tea Lounge” their competing beverage was the “Honey Camellia Milk Tea”. I walked in expecting a traditional ice tea, a clear brown fluid over ice with a slice of lemon. Although none of those things, this rendition technically was an iced tea. It would set the tone for the competition, given that majority of the competitors were bubble tea shoppes and their contributions had pearls. This made sense, if you consider Vancouver’s landscape.

The “Honey Camellia Milk Tea” was featured on their regular menu. It was a pleasant milk drink with hints of floral and chewy balls of tapioca. However, I expected a little more panache, not only from “Sencha”, but from all the other cafes simply highlighting a drink you can get anytime of the year, and ones that are already fairly popular with their customer base. This would have been a great opportunity and platform to highlight their creativity, and a unique opportunity to cultivate new customers from Vancouver’s Foodster’s large following. If he endorses you and you have his name associated with your product, you are basically getting a green light recommendation that you are visiting the right place for something great.

Although many of the competing cafes did go into detail as to why their drink deserved to compete, whether it was in house made syrups and toppings that they were using, or the rarity of their ingredients and the difficulty in procuring them, or even an extra embellishment from them that you can’t find from their competitors.

Overall I didn’t find the “Honey Camellia Milk Tea” all that special, it was a great bubble tea, a flavour that wasn’t too sweet that I can see myself ordering again. But if they came to win, this wasn’t their best try. Especially when I saw their potential for the different and creative with their black sesame bao-burgers. To learn more about them and the restaurant, and why they are worth checking out, visit the link below.

Sencha Tea Lounge

 

At “The Vietnamese Tea House” their ice tea entry was a pandan flavoured milk tea made with steeped pandan leaves. A milder version of this was served to all dinners as complimentary cups of hot tea. I was impressed by the work that went into sourcing their own pandan syrup for this drink. The leaves are imported, and the ones not steeped are ground and heated up to create their concentrated green, sweet syrup. I am a fan of pandan, so am a little biased here. Its flavour is one of my favourites, and the fact that it is rare in Vancouver, makes me like it all the more. I have had other pandan flavoured bubble teas before, but this tasted the most pure and rich in its unique flavour. I just wish I had more of in the drink. Although, the way they prepared it for the competition was perfect, a milder beverage for those new to the leaves or unfamiliar with the flavour.

To learn about the bounty of authentic Southern Vietnamese food they offer on top of their fresh fruit slushes and bubble teas, check out the link below.

Vietnamese Tea House

 

 

At “Boba Monster” their ice tea entry was their best seller, the “Boba Monster Milk Tea”. A traditional milk tea with extra drink toppings. More to chew than just the traditional pearls, There was also a generous helping of grass jelly, egg pudding, and even a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the cup. This one was definitely fan service to their large teenage customer base, students from the neighbouring high school visiting during lunch and after school for a sweet treat treat to beat the heat. I visited with two grown adults, not familiar with bubble tea and the nuances of chewing their drink. Therefore the sensation and extra textures was not as enjoyable to them as it was for me. I liked the fully loaded drink and the excess it gave a fan of bubble tea.

For some of their other extra concoctions, that are also best sellers, check out the link below.

Boba Monster

 

 

In a similar approach “T-Go Tea” also served up their most popular bubble tea as their ice tea challenge entry. The “Matcha Smoothie” was not holding back in its matcha flavour. It was deep and punchy, a great offering for matcha lovers. I liked the fact they scooped in the pearls last, to best showcase how thick their blended drink was. Although the extra cold drink had the pearls firming up from the blended ice, and losing their ideal chewy consistency.

To learn more about “T-Go”, their other beverages and their bubble waffles, visit the link below.

T-Go Tea

 

 

“Taan Char” was the only competitor to create a special flavoured ice tea, just for this competition, they truly took advantage of this platform. Although visiting their location, and taking in their decor and signage, I can see they are already well known for their creative and limited edition drinks, giving you good reason to visit them again and often. For example, this month was a black currant tea, which was a first for me. This “Peach and Strawberry Green Tea” was also more close to what I expected when I embarked on this challenge as one of its judges. A refreshing beverage that focused on the tea aspect of the drink, and to it added ingredients and notes to elevate and create something new. Fruity and sweet, but balanced by the bitter tang of the strong green tea. Their cup is also super cute. Incorporating the Vancouver straw band, this cafe has made due with a sippy cup lid covered by a miniature heart cap. A little stopper keeping your full cup spill proof, until you are ready to drink it.

 

The “Champagne Jasmine Ice Tea” from “Treasure Green Tea Company” was another more literal ice tea contestant. It featured jasmine tea, grapefruit, and honey. Everything is mixed in a martini shaker, giving the beverage a foam top and an airy essence, similar to the fizz of champagne. The quality of tea used made all the difference here. The jasmine tea was floral and delicate, it was given some sweetness from the honey, and some depth and citrus tang from the candied grapefruit rinds. The latter also offered something to chew on as you drank, as well as giving you a digestive aid to end on. For more on their martini shaken, cocktail inspired ice teas, and the history of this over 35 year old traditional Chinese tea shop, visit the link below.

Treasure Green Tea Company

 

With the tallying of points I gave out for taste, originality, and presentation; I personally ranked “Champagne Jasmine Ice Tea” from “Treasure Green Tea Company” as first place, the “Pandan Milk Tea” from “Vietnamese Tea House” as second, and “Taan Char’s” “Peach and Strawberry Green Tea” as third. To see the winner as a total tally of votes from all three judges and diners, visit Vancouver’s Foodster’s results page.

Vancouver Iced Tea Challenge Winners

 

Treasure Green Tea Company

Today I was in Chinatown, visiting one of its staple tea shops for the Vancouver Foodster ice tea challenge. I was one of 3 judges tasked to visit all competitors and score their offering by tastes, originality, and presentation. “Treasure Green Tea Company” has been open and operating since 1981. They are a family run shop that has been pass down from one generation to the next, with the one location move and a name change in between. All to become what we have here today.

Just walking in you know they mean business when it comes to tea. There is a bamboo platter with leaves drying by the door. The shop itself is wall to wall shelves housing dried leaves in tins and porcelain paraphernalia to serve them in.

The brand and make of all the teas that they carry is specifically sourced by them, through independent farmers. There is no middle men, thus ensuring the quality of all the fine teas that they carry. This is a list that spans several pages. Each category it’s own laminated page listing over 35 varieties to choose from. And they have gone so far as to make notes of the tea’s flavour and body under each name, to help narrow down your choice. Bold and fruity, aromatic and smooth, rich with cocoa notes, or subtle and sweet? All possible combinations and then some, between black, dark (including puer), oolong, yellow, green, and white teas.

If all these options still has your head spinning, I suggesting speaking with the charismatic shop owner, she knows her way around a pot and is not shy about showcasing this knowledge. Through a series of questions she will find the perfect brew for your drinking needs. Even what you like to eat is considered, all to help narrow down options and identify your palette. Eg: I like strong tea, but what is strong to you may not necessarily be strong to me. Something to aid in digestion, a blend to help clear your complexion, or maybe a tea high in caffeine to replace your regular cup of coffee?

During my visit she took the time to tour me through some of her favourite blends. The “Treasure greens emerald silver” green tea was one of their best sellers and exclusive to them.

The “Gu shu yunnan” is a black tea with larger leaves procured from ancient trees. The result, larger dried leaves, hand picked and handled with care to ensure the uniform golden tips stayed in tack for a most aromatic beverage.

For any tea enthusiasts, they have so many unique blends worth trying, therefore the best way to filter through them all is signing up for their $20 tea tasting. This is an experience that is catered to what your are looking for. Your experience with Chinese tea is considered, as well as what your tastes are, and what is in season. All this is done in house behind their tea bar, with a tour of the origins of the teas you will be drinking, done utilizing a map. For a more adult theme they also host private functions where they will shake up tea martins featuring their authentic premium teas.

Today, their ice tea challenge contender was one of their premium ice teas shaken with ice and mixed to mimic your favourite cocktails, without the alcohol. If you wanted, you had the option of adding to it bubble tea pearls. Here they sourced artisan pearls, tapioca of higher quality, to best pair with their fine tea blends.

The “Champagne jasmine” was up for voting, it was a more literal ice tea contender. It featured jasmine tea, grapefruit, and honey. Everything is mixed in a martini shaker, giving the beverage a foamy top and an airy essence, similar to the fizz of champagne. I won’t be going into any more detail of the drink here, as the competition is still running. Instead, I will invite you to visit my blog after August 5th to see how I judged this and all the other ice tea creations.

But I did get to try all the other premium ice tea cocktails, so will be reviewing them below. These are all mixed in martini shaker over ice, then poured into tiny porcelain cups for tasting. You are able to sample each one, then purchase the flavour you want to commit to a full serving of, in a plastic cup.

The “Organic white mojito” featured organic white tea, lemon, mint, and honey. It tasted very much so like a mojito, with the mint being so forward. It was then brightened with the citrus tang of the lemon. A great drink to help you cool down with.

The “Organic oolong with orange” was the strongest iced tea made with organic oolong tea, orange peel, and honey. The dark roast of the oolong was slightly bitter, a bold brew, giving you that kick a black cup of coffee would; meaning that this would make a great alternative to a cup of joe.

The “Green dragon” was their newest premium iced tea. It highlighted their signature green tea and flavoured it with longan fruit and goji berry, then sweetened with honey. This was the most refreshing drink out of the three with the logan being the flavour that stood out the most.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
This is a great place to learn a lot more about Chinese herbal teas and all the health benefits they have. And in house they have come up with some pretty creative ways to get customers into their shop, offering more than just dried leaves. Here you get an experience and a lesson on culture through a cooling cup. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

TREASURE GREEN TEA
227 East Georgia Street, Vancouver BC, V6A 1Z6
604-687-4181
treasuregreen.com
Treasure Green Tea Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

T-Go Tea

Seeing as I live in Burnaby, I don’t often get out to Richmond, and especially not just for bubble tea; given all the offerings around the lower mainland that are comparable. But today I was on a mission, as one of the judges of the Vancouver Foodster’s Ice tea challenge this year, it was my duty to travel and try the offerings from each competitor and submit my findings to be judged on taste, originality, and presentation. This duty brought me to “T-Go” in Richmond, where they are the only bubble tea shop serving this newer developed area on Alexandra Road.

Their narrow shop includes a chalkboard the length of their counter listing each and every one of their mixed and blended drinks in English and Chinese, but without any descriptions underneath, you may need to consult with the clerks behind the counter. This is especially if you are trying to figure out what a “sea salt milk cap” or “teapresso icy diamond” is. Or if you are newer to bubble tea and unfamiliar with many of the floral tea flavours or tea blend names like golden buckwheat tea, purple rice, or osmanthus.

“T-Go” prides themselves on using all natural ingredients, no artificial powders or syrups to mix with their full tea selection, all imported from Taiwan. They consider the family friendly neighbourhood offering fruit blended slushes with no caffeine. And they also cater to those in search of a more healthier lifestyle with kale and other fruit and vegetables smoothies. And for those adventurous types like myself, they have specials featured by season with limited availability like the sweet peaches, avocado, and oreo cookie smoothies this month.

Their ice tea challenge contribution was one of their most popular bubble teas, and the owner’s favourite. The “Matcha Smoothie” used all natural matcha powder sourced for the highest concentration for flavour and antioxidants. The fact that they scooped the pearls into the cup last, best showcased how thick their blended drink was. I won’t be going more into how the drink tastes here, as the competition is still running. Instead, I will invite you to visit my blog after August 5th to see my candid thoughts on each drink and how I scored them.

During this visit, we also tried one of their “Roasted milk tea” customizing it by asking for 30% less sweetness.

And enjoyed it with one of their eggy bubble waffles. These are best eaten warm so it is still crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. I just wish they came in other flavours, or maybe with the ability of having it topped to your dessert desires.

They have a cute seating area in the very back, a boxed in space that is decorated with paintings and drawings done by three different artists, all for purchase with collections rotating regularly.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Currently this is their only location, but they are planning to open more. Not necessarily a destination, but a great shoppe serving their community, and a great stop when you are in the neighbourhood shopping and are looking for a refreshing beverage in between. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

T-Go
4720 Mcclelland Road #1810, Richmond BC, V6X 0M6
604-332-9111
T-Go Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Boba Monster

This afternoon I was at “Boba Monster” checking off another ice tea off my list. For Vancouver Foodster’s ice tea challenge, this fun cafe is offering more than you can chew, literally. Located across the street from a high school this shop caters to its community. With their cutesy monster logo, a shelf of boardgames and electronic dart machines in the corner; they invited you in to drink, sit, and linger. Although during our stay we saw many more take their sealed cups to go.

Their ice tea entry was their best seller, the “Boba Monster Milk Tea”, a traditional milk tea with extra drink toppings. More to chew than just the traditional pearls. In the full cup was a generous helping of grass jelly, egg pudding, and even a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This one was definitely fan service to their larger teenage customer base. The clerks behind the counter even admitted to serving their drinks sweater than normal due to the requests of said customers. Although they made a point to mention that they are also able to sweeten or dilute any cup to your preference. They make their own grass and egg jelly in house, making sure to do so with no additional sugars. They even use herbal powers to get more of the grass jelly taste out. I won’t be going more into how the drink tasted here, given that the competition is still running. Instead I ask that you check back to my blog after August 5th, to see how I judged each beverage competing.

“Boba Monster” allows you to customize your own drink starting from $4. You choose your flavours between creamy, fruity, fresh fruit, or ice cream. Each category offering a handful of options including passion fruit, black sesame, kiwi, mocha, and hedgehog. Next you choose your base between a green tea or black tea base. But they also give you the option of having no tea. This is ideal for younger kids who need to go caffeine-free, or my guests who preferred their bubble tea like a blended, cake-like dessert. After, you choose the style in which you want your drink prepared, either shaken with ice or blended into a slush. And lastly you choose your topping(s), if any. They used the term “topping” to describe the bits and bobs at the bottom of your drink in which you slurped up through a straw. Red bean, popping juice pearls, lychee jelly, and even miniature tapioca pearls; to name a few.

Today I visited with two grown adults, not familiar with bubble tea and the nuances of chewing their drink. Therefore the sensation and extra textures was not as enjoyable to them, as it was just so foreign. I often find this the case for many first time bubble tea drinkers. Instead they preferred the other two drinks we tried below, claiming it to be more like dessert in a cup.

We would order off their “top 8” menu. Playing it safe with number 3 and 5. Number 3 is their “mango sago”, a creamy smoothie with whipped cream, real mango chunks, mango stars, and sago. It was like drinking a mango mousse cake, as fun to scoop as it was to sip. Very bold in its mango sweetness.

The “strawberry cheesecake” had mango stars and tangy juice filled pearls that popped when you bit down. It was topped with whipped cream, a strawberry drizzle, a fresh strawberry, and chunks of actual cheesecake. The drink was blended with strawberry cheesecake flavoured ice cream from local purveyor of ice cream: “Mario’s Gelato”. They prepared a special blend just for “Boba Monster” and their 5th most popular drink special. Like the mango, this too you drank in thick. It was a creamy milkshake with jelly chunks to keep bites interesting.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
They are a great bubble tea place for the area. They cater to their customers with customizable and creative drinks, as well offering them a comfortable place to enjoy their specialty beverages within. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BOBA MONSTER
5766 Fraser Street, Vancouver BC
778-838-9043
Boba Monster Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vietnamese Tea House

Today I was at yet another restaurant competing in the Vancouver Foodster iced tea challenge. This is a newer Vietnamese restaurant on Hastings Street, on a strip already saturated with numerous restaurants offering Vietnamese food. So what sets them apart? An owner hailing from Southern Vietnam, bringing with her authentic Southern Vietnamese cuisine, and slight differences we would learn through eating.

Previous to them moving in this was a sushi restaurant. The change of management brought about a renovation that included pink walls and purple painted detailing. They were a contrast to the homey red tables and matching cushioned chairs. And all the mismatched potted plants offering their green leaves as colouring. This all pointed to a family run business, something that was later confirmed by the owner herself. She spoke to the toils of having to lay the laminate underfoot themselves and the uneven paint job of non-professionals, all done while she was pregnant with her second child.

Other than that it was a nice setting, it was an open space, one that was comfortable to sit in, where many such restaurants try to maximize their dining area with one to many, tightly crammed together tables. Here things were evenly spaced allowing you breathing room and the ability to hold a more private conversation from the table to your right. Everything was also kept very clean.

Their ice tea entry was a pandan flavoured milk tea made with ground and steeped pandan leaves. These leaves were also used to flavoured the cups of water they served, although very mildly, and I wouldn’t have even notice, if this wasn’t pointed out to me. I won’t be going into the actual flavour of the drink here, as the competition is still running. Instead, I will invite you to check back on my blog after the competition has ended, to read my thoughts on each of the drinks competing.

Instead, I will move on to all the food we enjoyed. The “Green papaya salad with beef jerky” was a fresh start to our meal. Thin shreds of carrot and daikon with lettuce, cilantro, beef jerky, fried shallots, and peanuts. It was spiciest at the bottom, where the sauce pooled. Therefore to best enjoy it, you stir up, mixing everything together. Note, it is easier to scoop what you want, then pour the sauce over it. And you will go back for several scoops, as this made for a lovely palette cleanser with a nice cooling crunch. I didn’t notice any of the beef jerky though.

The “Pork spring rolls” were light, crispy, and pretty standard. We got exactly what we expected from this, and was able to dunk each third into plenty of fish sauce.

The “Garlic butter chicken wing” was delicious on first bite. You immediately got the promise of its buttery flavour, peppered full with garlicky goodness, that evenly coated each crispy wing. This was the most memorable dish that we had, and one what I would come back for.

“Lemongrass chicken on rice” is my guest’s go to for Vietnamese food. Whenever she is at any new Vietnamese restaurant, this is the dish she orders, which she then uses as a gauge of food flavour and quality. She liked “Vietnamese Tea House’s” version plenty, but I found the meat a little dry and the amount of ginger textured lemongrass off putting. More so when I was surprised biting into a piece of chicken decorated with it.

The “Chicken curry” was most memorable to my guest. This is the first time she has had a sweeter curry like this, She enjoyed the creaminess of it thanks to its coconut base. Milder curries like these are my preferred type of curry. This one was rich and creamy, with a hint of spicy heat. It is made with tender pieces of dark meat chicken, mashed tomato, and softened potato cooked in a blend of coconut and homogenized milk. You had the option of enjoying it with either rice or bread, we choose the later given that we had rice in the dish before. All this only to learn that the bread that would accompany our soup-sized serving of curry would be the same type of baguette used in their banh mi after. Here we would pinch off bits and use it to sop up liquid curry like a sponge. The bread is the only thing they don’t make from scratch here.

The “Chicken sub” not only used the same bread as above, but the same type of tender and juicy dark meat chicken above as well.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
A great destination for Vietnamese food. Everything was consistently prepared and I have no complaints, especially after learning that they focus on using only fresh ingredients and prepare everything themselves in house from the sauces and spreads, to all the pickled products. Not necessarily worth driving all the way for, but worth choosing before its neighbours. Don’t deny your cravings.

VIETNAMESE TEA HOUSE
2526 E Hastings, Vancouver BC, V5K 1Z3
604-620-5922

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