Saturday, August 05, 2006

chinese: i recommend CHUN SHUI TANG

A9 MItsukoshi Mall, B2
No.9, Songshou Rd
Taipei 110 (XinYi district)

(02) 27239913
Weekdays 11:00 ~ PM 22:00
Weekends 10:30 ~ PM 22:30


date visited: 7/26/06

Boba milk tea, or pearl milk tea, is everywhere in Taipei, or at least it used to be. I remember when you could buy it for NT$10 a few years ago from street vendors. But not everyone makes it the same. Sometimes it's sickly sweet or too watery. Sometimes the boba is too mushy or too hard. But I think Chun Shui Tang makes it just right- it's sweet, but not too much so, and you can taste the tea flavor. The smaller than average boba are also the right amount of chewiness and softness. Plus if you don't want boba milk tea, there are a lot of hot and cold drinks and teas to choose from. The drinks are not cheap, but will cost you around the same as something from Starbucks. (Medium NT$70, Large NT$140)

The shop I first ate at was the one next to United Hotel- a cute, traditional looking tea house, serving a large assortment of teas and drinks, as well as dim sum and snacks. The branch at the A9 Mitsukoshi mall is very similar, even to its atmosphere of wooden colums, seats and decor.

You must pay and order first at the cashier, ticking off what you want on their cream and green paper menu. The Kwang-Fu location has an English menu, but the A9 location doesn't. Fortunately, you can either point and choose at the samples in the front or at the tables around you and ask. Then you tape your receipt to the edge of your table, so the waiters can deliver the items to you.

I think this is a good choice for afternoon tea, though towards the evening rush hour, their service became incredibly S-L-O-W. I can see it being popular lunch/brunch destination as well. Even with indoor and outdoor tables, it gets quite crowded. You can also get your drinks and snacks to go.

We ordered a plate of pan-fried radish cakes, stir fried mushrooms, shrimp sau mai and a pair of drinks. Later on, we ordered more, but ended up taking it to go since we had to go. I ordered a dim sum assortment, fried squid balls, spicy tofu skin with straw mushrooms and tofu-gan (or dried bean curd). The radish cakes are fried to have a crispy skin and cut into bite size pieces. The mushrooms were juicy and spicy. I liked the spicy tofu skin, but didn't really care for the tofu-gan.

On previous occassions, at the shop branch, I've had really good deep fried sweet rice cake (like egg rolls with sticky rice cake filling), but I think it's seasonal. The menu selections are bit pricier than local food, but you are paying for atmosphere as well as the brand quality. Everyone we've taken there admires the huge glasses of boba milk tea (or passionfruit lemon jelly tea (another favorite of mine)) after their order comes. And it's nice place to get together with friends or take an afternoon for yourself- I often see lots of moms with strollers. Most of the time, I will get a drink to go when I am craving some boba milk tea.

OTHER LOCATIONS a/o April 2008 (with the help of Google translator & googling, so please let me know if any of them need editing!)

No. 4, Lane 180, Kuangfu South Road
(near SYS Memorial Hall)
(02) 8773-4501

No. 29, Nanjing East Road, Sec. 1
(02) 2521-3359

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial
No. 21-1, Chungshan South Road
(02) 3393-9529

Shin Kong Mitsukoshi, B1
No. 12, Nanjing West Road
(02) 2100-1848

Global Mall location
No. 122, Zhongshan Rd
(02) 2223-7071

Geant (Ai Mai) in DaZhi
No.123, Jingye 3rd Rd.
(02) 8502-0880

Dmart, 8FL
No. 180, Chenggong Road, Sec. 4
(02) 2793-4349

Shin Kong Mitsukoshi, Tien Mu, B3
No. 200, Zhong Cheng Road, Sec 2
Shih Lin
(02) 2874-5484

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