Not to get all Subtle Asian Traits all up in here, but I’ve become more and more obsessed with the Asian ambrosia, boba. If you don’t know what that is, think firm, chewy, spherical gummies, plus beverage of choice. Apart from differences in texture, the pearls don’t really add any special flavour; but I guess there’s something awfully addicting about their bouncy, chewy ‘QQ-ness’ that people can’t seem to resist.
Luckily, satisfying your bubble tea craving is SO easy in Taipei, where you can find up to 5 different shops lined up next to each other. But what if that isn’t enough?? I mean, it’s 2019 guys, let’s not limit ourselves to drinks only. Here’s where to get boba 24/7 in Taipei because, well, why not?
Boba Stop: TP Tea 茶湯會
Ok, a quick lesson on how to order your bubble tea: choose a flavour, choose a topping (pearls, jelly, even a whole ass pudding), choose your sugar level and then choose your ice level, (100%, 70%, 50%, 30% 0%). Can you tell I’ve been reading Trainspotting, lol.
Fight me on this, but the best store for the classic Pearl Milk Tea is TP Tea, 茶湯會. The tea flavour comes through nicely and I like the option of small pearls (superior b/c they’re the perfect chew). Buying bubble tea in the UK, you go exclusively for the boba, so it blew my mind when I realised that pearls aren’t actually compulsory. If you’re looking for something light, refreshing and not too filling, try the tieguanyin milk tea 鐵觀音奶茶.
NT$49 > £1.20 > US$1.50 > €1.40
Breakfast: Bubble Tea Pancake
No. 23號, Lane 52, Section 1, Da’an Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, 106
After you down that drink, start your day with a serving of boba topped pancakes. Regular American style or fluffy soufflé, let’s be real, the only thing that really matters are the tapioca pearls.
I guess that was taken too literally at Belle Époque, because the boba was the only good thing about the pancakes, which had a subtle tea flavour but ultimately nothing memorable. If you just wanna score Instagram points, at least go for the cream cheese boba soufflé pancakes.
230 NTD > £5.75 > US$7.30 > €6.50
Boba Stop: Chun Shui Tang 春水堂
This place takes me back to UK, because of its crazy high price point. £2.50 for a small cup? Rip me. I don’t have receipts, but it’s widely reported as the birthplace of bubble tea and for its historical significance in boba history, I’d recommend stopping by.
Feeling fruity, I got the Mango Pearl Milk Tea which was delicious enough to heal the wounds I suffered from paying so much for a tiny cup. For lunch, you can stop here for a bite to eat – their Taichung and Hsinchu branches actually offer boba hot pot, if you’re really committed to the boba life.
100NTD > £2.50 > US$3.20 > €2.80
Dinner: Bubble Tea Pizza
69, Section 2, Jinan Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, 10059
I wanted to try that boba pizza monstrosity I saw a while ago, but then I discovered it’s in Chiayi, 4 hours away from Taipei, so I opted for the next best thing, boba dessert pizza.
Rather less horrifying, it’s a normal pizza base, milk tea spread, topped with honey boba, strawberries, blueberries and kiwis. Alongside the sweetness of everything else, the milk tea spread was a lil’ sickly – I can see the vision, but I don’t agree. Definitely would not order again.
160NTD > £3.99 > US$5.00 > €4.50
Boba Stop: Kebuke 可不可
The bubble tea market in Taiwan is SO oversaturated but there still seems to be new stores opening up all over the place. Kebuke opened in 2008 and seems to be doing a pretty good job at carving out a position for themselves.
Interestingly, the boba here is white and fancy -白玉; literally white jade. But sorry to get you excited, there’s no real difference in flavour between white/brown pearls. What is different though – Winter Melon Tea! I tried it the first time in Taiwan and it’s addicting.
40NTD > £0.99 > US$1.30 > €1.15
Dessert: Shaved Ice Bubble Tea
Mr Snow Ice, Mr. 雪腐 公館店
21號, Lane 244, Section 3, Roosevelt Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, 100
Two Taiwanese classics in one – Milk Tea Shaved Ice. Out of all the boba-food I tried, this is something I have and will order again! Maybe I’m just in love with the milk tea flavoured shaved ice, rather than the actual pearls, but if you’re looking to cool down in Taipei, shaved ice is a must and I love this store for its flavours and prices!
90NTD > £2.25> US$2.85 > €2.55
Boba Stop: Boba Cocktail
201號 5F, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, 106
Guys, I’m taking this boba run seriously and I’m covering you for when u get lit and still craving boba. A+ for idea, D for execution. But let’s be real when you’re drunk, does taste even matter? (Actually, it kinda does).
It’s a house-infused Oolong Bourbon mix – the mix? Hazelnut, honey, milk and tapioca pearls. If you like bourbon, then this drink probably won’t offend you. But I forked out £10 and I’m still scratching my head over the decision to use bourbon over Baileys or some other chocolate/cream liqueur.
400NTD > £10 > US$12.70 > €11.30
Probably not the healthiest lifestyle choice, but here I am, proving stuff that doesn’t need proving: it IS possible to live a whole day consuming boba. Everyone, go get a scholarship to study in Taiwan and live out your sweet boba dreams! Now, excuse me while I take a break from consuming any more tapioca pearls for the rest of my life.
What’s the best boba combination you’ve tried?