Tag Archives: bubble tea

Taïwanvore Digest #3

The Taiwanvore Digest is a carefully curated, ;), list of cool stories and links for you to peruse.

Chinese Food Pop Culture
Last year, Lucky Peach featured an issue on Chinese food. Of the articles posted online, we follow Fuchsia Dunlop to London’s Chinatown, and take a (food) trip down memory lane with Hua Hsu’s family tales of enjoying Chinese food in America’s suburbia.

Giant Bubble Tea (fb/626 Night Market)
Giant Bubble Tea
(fb/626 Night Market)

Bubble Tea Fever
If there’s doubts as to whether Hanlin 翰林 or Chun Shui Tang 春水堂 first invented bubble tea, the latter is surely positioning itself as the bubble tea flagship in Taiwan.

In addition of the Cultural Tea House at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, in Taichung, where visitors can experience how to make bubble tea, Chun Shui Tang has bigger plans in the works, namely, a bubble tea museum! Maybe, they will even make some space for the giant bubble tea, imagined and carried out by the 626 Night Market team.

Food for the artsy geek
If you’re a fan of Etsy, then you’ll love Pinkoi, its Taiwanese cousin. The website is truly a wealth of gifts ideas, and the food section now boasts a wide variety of homemade goodies for you to enjoy.

Kitchen Tip: Rice Cooker magic!
The rice cooker is a quintessential fixture in the typical Taiwanese kitchen, and who knew you could get so creative with it, baking chocolate cake, banana bread etc… While I haven’t yet baked with my rice cooker, I’ve used it to steam some chicken wings (for fried chicken), and it works beautifully.

Taiwanese Snacks Postcards
I was looking for postcards recently, so to Eslite bookstore I went. I hoped to find postcards reflecting the whimsical spirit of the island, and as luck would have it, the branch of the bookstore I visited carried a cute collection of painted Taiwanese snacks, from artist 榴小妞. It didn’t take long for me to decide which snack to get, bubble tea!

Bubble Tea Postcard (fb/lalanio)
Bubble Tea Postcard (fb/lalanio)

The postcards are also sold online, and at “random” bookstores and gift-shops. Surprisingly, the 24-hour Eslite bookstore in Taipei did not have any for sell when I last visited, so check other branches or ask the service desk for stores carrying them. I also did spot some at the gift shop (in the basement) of the National Central Library.

A “Taste of Happiness” to kick out the Monday blues
I caught this cute music video clip on Twitter, featuring Tainan, its historical sites, street arts and myriad of snacks. If you don’t recognize all the references, check the answers in the YouTube comments, from user Shan-Shan Tsai. The artists, 董事長樂團The Chairman and 閻韋伶, sing in the Taiwanese dialect, giving this musical piece a particular Taiwanese taste 台灣味, as they say here. Enjoy :).

Bobalife: Bubble Tea Hip-Hop Style

I stumbled upon a fun video clip this week-end, Bobalife. After watching it, you’ll definitely feel a lot cooler next time you grab one of those boba drink. Thank you Fung Bros for making bubble tea sound so hip!

Voici une petite vidéo intitulé Bobalife, pour vous faire commencer la semaine sur de bon augure. Attention, vous aurez certainement par la suite une envie soudaine de thé aux perles, je vous aurez avertie! 😉

春水堂 Chun Shui Tang: the bubble tea grail

The First 春水堂 Chun Shui Tang // flickr/Yuko M
The First 春水堂 Chun Shui Tang // flickr/Yuko M
 

Just like the chocolate molten cake, a culinary invention claimed by Michel Bras, bubble tea also took a life of its own without getting trademarked, and so two Taiwanese tea houses are to this day claiming its invention, 春水堂 Chun Shui Tang is one of them. Rather than feeling like they missed out on an opportunity to monopolize the bubble tea market, 春水堂 Chun Shui Tang feels confident enough about their brand and products to share the competition with others, “promoting Taiwanese tea and tea culture and to developing innovative products” is their main goal.

Reading up about the history of the company, I located the earliest outpost, still in business. Actually, the very first location, opened in 1983, on 24-1 Si Wei street, and fours years later, the tea house moved to 30 Si Wei Street, “Pear Milk Tea” was also invented during that year, that’s according to their website.

The original tea house is situated in what feels like a residential area, and at a walkable distance from the Taichung Main Train Station. As an ex bubble tea addict, I had to go there, as a matter of fact I even held out on checking out one of their outpost conveniently located near my apartment. I planned on having lunch there, and so was expecting an all-around great experience, but found myself somewhat disappointed right off the bat. The tea house has seating inside, an underground room next door, and outside tables on sunny days. I didn’t actually notice the underground room next door until I saw some waitresses going downstairs, and with deflated expectations, I didn’t bother having a peek inside. At first, I sat a table inside, but with the noise from all the big groups that day, and the dim lightning, the atmosphere felt somewhat stuffy and not conducive at all for chatting, so I requested to sit outside. Thankfully, a table under the shade freed up, and I was able to enjoy the sunny weather.

On to the food. To order, you need to get a menu from the counter, check what you want, pay for it, they give you a number and you return at your table. They do have an English version of the menu, but beware, because it shows only a quarter of what’s available in the Chinese menu. I don’t know if the staff was running short that day, but the service was a bit of a mayhem. When I returned to the counter to hand in my order and pay, the employee was frantically popping dishes in and out of the microwave, calling out orders, and finally took care of mine.  I’m well aware of microwave usage in restaurants, but coming from 春水堂 Chun Shui Tang, they really lost some prestige on that one.  With that said, the kitchen space is really small there, so I hope they do work differently in their newer tea houses.

Tastewise, I enjoyed their microwaved-reheated 招牌豆干 Specialty Dried Tofu, the tofu was served sliced, drenched in a gravy curry kinda of sauce, it was on the hot side, which I always appreciate. I also got my hands dirty with my usual 燒翅膀 roasted chicken wings, they were good, but nothing mind-blowing. Finally, an 珍珠茉奶 iced bubble jasmine milk tea to wash it all down. I restrained myself to a small size so as to avoid inconvenient bathrooms stops on the city walk I had planned for the rest of the afternoon, though the big jug was tempting as well.

All in all, with many other, newer branches available,  I wouldn’t recommend anyone to go out of their way for this particular shop, unless you want to brag about visiting  春水堂 Chun Shui Tang’s original tea house. They are even present at Taoyuan International Airport, at the international food court located at Terminal II, so you can even check that off your to-do list as you fly in or out of the island.

With all that said, I still think 春水堂 Chun Shui Tang is worth checking out. If you find yourself in Taichung and fancy the idea of experiencing the art of bubble tea, DIY classes are available at a few of their shops, with one branch located at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts.

Big Bubble Tea Mug // flickr/athenakuo
Big Bubble Tea Mug // flickr/athenakuo

春水堂 Chun Shui Tang
Website: http://chunshuitang.com.tw/
Address: 臺中市西區四維街30號 // No. 30號, Sìwéi Street, Xi District, Taichung City, 403

(last updated: 2016-12-04 日)