Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Good Eats: Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House, Taichung, Taiwan


Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House  Cold pearl milk tea—also known in the U.S. as bubble or boba tea--originated in the early 1980s.  To be precise, Mr. Liu Han-Chieh invented bubble tea here in his Taiwan tea house.  He came up with the idea of serving tea cold during a visit to Japan where he saw coffee served cold.  In Taiwan, bubble tea is a foamy, cold black Chinese tea mixed with ice and sometimes milk.  It does not include tapioca balls.  Another guy in this shop invented pearl tea, which mixes tea with fresh tapioca balls and sometimes include milk.  Tapioca balls can be added to any cold drink in this tea house for a small additional charge.

ad for DIY Boba Tea at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan
ad for DIY Boba Tea at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan

entry at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan
entry at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan

I found myself here for the do-it-yourself workshop that teaches you how to make both types of cold tea.  My lesson began with making bubble black tea—the original cold Chinese tea.  Using a precise recipe, we started with 70 cubic centimeters of strong-brewed black tea from Sri Lanka.  To the shaker, we added ice over the top, so it was like a mountain, then poured 20 cubic centimeters of liquid cane sugar over the ice, added the tea, and closed the shaker.  We then shook it forcefully, out and away from our bodies, for 33 shakes.  The collision of liquid with ice creates bubbles--thus the name.  We poured our liquid in a drinking cup and compared the foam with the other participants, then drank. 
The second part of the lesson taught us how to prepare pearl milk tea, the shop’s best seller and my personal favorite.  I adore pearl tea.  First we compared the powdery, fresh grey pearls that this shop uses (they last only a few days in the refrigerator) with the hard, dried-out, toasted-looking pearls that many other shops use (they can last unrefrigerated for 2 or 3 years!).  (It was interesting to learn that tapioca grows underground on the root of a tree.  About the size of a yam, it is often called a tree potato.)  For this concoction, an even stronger black tea is used so that the pearls don’t overpower the taste of the tea.  The recipe is the same, except that 1 spoon of dried milk is added into the shaker with the tea and whisked until dissolved.  After shaking the shakers like they are maracas, we pour the liquid over 2 teaspoons of tapioca balls and stir.  Yum.

set-up for DIY boba tea at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan
set-up for DIY boba tea at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan

instructor Dora Cheng for DIY boba tea at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan
instructor Dora Cheng for DIY boba tea at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan

fresh tapioca pearls for DIY boba tea at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan
fresh tapioca pearls for DIY boba tea at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan

finished pearl tea at DIY workshop at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan
finished pearl tea at DIY workshop at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan

After, we had the option of staying on for lunch, which we did.  I ordered the #279 vegetarian handmade thin noodles, which were delicious and just the right amount of food.  The most popular lunch item on the menu is #198, Kung-Fu noodles with minced pork and mushrooms.  I accompanied my noodles with the #819 chocolate milk tea with pearls.  The medium portion was huge and chocolatey, with chocolate shavings floating on top, and could easily have passed for a dessert.  I shared it with others and still wasn’t able to finish it.  The most popular tea here is the #6 pearl milk tea.   

#279 vegetarian handmade thin noodles at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan
#279 vegetarian handmade thin noodles at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan

#819 chocolate milk tea with pearls at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan
#819 chocolate milk tea with pearls at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House in Taichung, Taiwan


More things to do in Taiwan.


More things to do in Taichung.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.
   
images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

4 comments:

  1. What a fun experience. I did not know this history of bubble tea. So cool to find out how to make it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Taiwan sounds like just my kind of place - I love iced black tea and although I've never been keen on the tapioca balls in bubble tea, this chocolate milk tea with pearls sounds and looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Interesting article. I love the fact that you went to a make-your-own bubble tea class. That just sounds like so much fun and it looks very tasty too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for giving us this bit of history. I love bubble tea, too. So does my whole family. Like you, I prefer the pearl milk tea, especially the taro flavor. Envy that you learned how to make it!

    ReplyDelete