When I decided to travel to Taiwan, I started asking around for can’t-miss cultural and historically significant sights to visit food to eat. Just about everyone told me that I had to try the bubble tea. Although Taiwan’s famous bubble tea had made it’s way to the States even when I was still living in California, and it’s just as popular in Hong Kong as in Taipei, everyone insisted that the bubble tea in Taiwan was different. Special.
I’m going to be honest, I don’t really like bubble tea, or tapioca tea, as it’s sometimes referred to. In fact, I kind of hate the “bubbles,” the small, brown tapioca balls, found settling at the bottom of your otherwise tasty milk tea. They’re just too bland and chewy for my liking. I also find the “bubbles” to be a choking hazard. Beware of this. Sip slowly and cautiously. Trust me! And did I mention that they are brown? I don’t know. There are a lot of reasons why I’m not a fan.
Despite my lack of enthusiasm for bubble tea, I was intrigued to try out Chen San Ding and their brown sugar tapioca ball version. Brown sugar makes pretty much everything better so why not bubble tea as well?
Located in Gongguan near Taipei National University and the Gongguan Night Market, Chen San Ding is an extremely popular bubble tea stand, even by Taipei standards. The long line during a rain shower contests to how loyal a following Chen San Ding’s brown sugar milk tea has.
Thankfully, the line moves rather quickly and in no time, I was close enough to smell the sweetness and glimpse the famed brown sugar tapioca balls. My excitement was growing to monumental proportions at this point.
Finally, after the exchange of a mere $30 NT (less than $1 USD), the brown sugar milk tea was in hand! Was this to be my special bubble tea experience?
With the added sweetness of the brown sugar tapioca balls, the milk tea itself was not as sugary as the traditional milk teas, but the balance was absolutely perfect. In fact, I LOVED it! I’m officially a bubble tea convert, so long as the tapioca balls are made of brown sugar. Such a simple ingredient to truly make bubble tea different. Special. And I guess that was exactly what I was looking for.
Are YOU a fan of bubble tea? Have YOU tried the brown sugar version?
© Connie Hum 2011