Sunday’s are hard but can be made easier with unexpected delights — so here’s some fluff to get you through it. Inspired by a recent jaunt for dim sum with Miss Yellow in Hong Kong, allow us to deliver a new edition of Yum Cha Chats — which means let’s go eat dim sum and drink tea in Cantonese. The series will dig into the obscure and tasty 'fillings' you never knew about your favourite DJs and have nothing to do with music — every Sunday. Best enjoyed from bed…
Taiwan is the motherland of milk tea (it’s more popular than Starbucks). Its iconic bubble tea variant was invented in the 1980s in Taichung, and the drink has evolved into a global phenomenon with the bubble tea era even hitting cocktails bar as far as the US and ice cream parlours in Europe. Whether it's cheese tea or tiger-striped brown sugar boba milk or a frozen slushie with booze, the variations of the classic drink with a cult following just keep coming out. Taiwanese DJ RayRay is a self-proclaimed milk tea addict and drinks no less than 5 milk teas every week — and she's given us a list of the sweet spots she hits on tour. When in Asia, quench your thirst with these milk teas.
Taiwan: Boba Tea (Bubble Tea)
"Boba tea is originally from Taiwan and having the chewy tapioca balls in milk tea is the BEST. Visually speaking, Boba tea is super eye-catching and has a very distinctive image as opposed to “regular drinks” — you can immediately tell that you are looking at Boba tea. Tapioca is made from brown sugar so you get a combination of different types of sweetness when drinking the milk tea. Since Boba tea is such an iconic item from Taiwan, even some bars have boba tea-infused cocktails like the HardKOR Boba cocktail at KOR Taipei. If you are planning a trip to Taiwan, you will definitely need to try out the amazing selection of Boba tea shops. But a friendly reminder for you, the calories in one large bubble tea is almost equal to a full meal. Oops."
Hong Kong: Hong Kong Style Milk Tea
"Hong Kong-style milk tea is usually made with evaporated milk and mixes three or more types of tea leaves. It’s usually served as part of lunch in Hong Kong's tea culture. I enjoy this milk tea a lot because it always brings back memories of layovers in Hong Kong's airport. In my opinion, it tastes like a combination of sweet and bitter. You can taste the tea leaves way more than the milk itself. Some people even mix this milk tea with coffee. If you are in a Cantonese restaurant, this is a must-try!"
Japan: Suntory Premium Morning Tea Milk (Transparent Milk Tea)
"This is the craziest milk tea I’ve ever tried in my life. The transparent milk tea looks just like water, but you can taste the Assam tea leaves as well as the taste of milk. I tried it in Japan and it tasted quite sugary. It’s definitely the most “unique” milk tea in the world in my eyes."
RayRay Recommends: Find it online here
Asia: Ten Ren’s Tea
"Another good traditional tea brand from Taiwan (but you can get it all over Asia). For those who prefer a simple and traditional type of milk tea, Ten Ren’s Tea is favoured by many locals. Ten Ren’s Tea offers the perfect balance of sweetness and creaminess to their milk tea. If you’re looking for fruity or cheesy milk tea options — you won’t find any of that here. This is also my favourite milk tea shop in Taipei."
Where to get it: Shops all over Taiwan and Asia
Vietnam: Rice Milk Tea
"This is a great option for vegan milk tea lovers. I tried it once in Vietnam, and it tasted just like regular milk tea but I guess it might be a little over the top for regular milk tea consumers. However, do give it a try if you visit Vietnam!"
RayRay Recommends: Chamichi
Taiwan: Convenience Store Milk Tea Brands
"There’s one thing I am really proud of in Taiwan, and it's the variety of milk teas in its convenience stores. So many different brands and flavours to choose from. I don’t think I have been anywhere in the world and seen such a large selection of milk teas, it’s impressive. You can have extremely local brands of milk tea or you can have imported brands from places like Japan and Korea. I basically get my milk tea mainly from convenience stores, and I can pick whatever type of milk tea I want depending on my mood of the day."
RayRay Recommends: 711/Family Mart