Tuesday, February 05, 2008
coffee/tea: i strongly recommend 50 LAN
various locations citywide
website: 50lan.com.tw Chinese only
kid friendliness: kids will love slurping boba from the oversized colorful straws, but parents should decide if the sugar and tea is okay for their kids.
Visit reviewed: 12/8/2007
Boba Milk Tea was a crazy phenomenon in LA about five years ago, not too unlike the Pinkberry craze that is going on now. Different chains or mom and pop shops across the street from each other. Going to get a boba every other day. At least fruit topped fro yo is a lot better for your waistline than a cup of creamer or condensed milk with a splash of tea and half cup of starchy balls.
But it's totally died down in the states. And there's no way I could repeat drinking it every other day like when I had 5 (count them! but there are now only 2 standing) milk tea shops in a two block radius on Sawtelle to choose from.
Milk tea in Taipei is still alive and kicking. And a lot cheaper. At NT$30+ a cup, it's a lot more affordable than the US$2-3 prices- though you can still find those prices (supposedly for higher quality tea and boba) at places like the fancier Chun Tsui Tang (aka Spring Water House).
My favorite milk tea place of the moment is 50 Lan or 50嵐. It's a chain, so you can spot the bright yellow and blue signs on many busy streets.
Surprisingly, there is usually a line, maybe because each drink is made to order and sometimes people are ordering bagfulls for their office.
What I like is that you can adjust the temperature (hot or cold), sweetness (90 percent, 75 percent, 50 percent sugar), and even the amount of boba. I like that the bobas are slightly smaller and always the right chewiness. Personally, I like my milk tea cold and 75 percent sweet. Fifty percent tastes too watered down for me.
The cup is complete with a slogan that almost makes sense, especially if you've been living with Taiwan English long enough: "The Tea of Cool. Craving. Content."
Their extensive menu is completely in Chinese, so stick to "boba nai tsa" or boba milk tea, or point to something that looks good that someone before you has ordered. I have to work on figuring out their other drinks since I do like the passionfruit tea or lemon jelly variety too.