as much as I like living at the heart of Ortigas Center, I cant help but appreciate this fad that is called "milk tea" and how it has plagued my affluent Filipino-Chinese community in Greenhills. This Wilson Street stretch is now which I dub thee the "milk tea" stretch for you can find a couple of milk tea places. If my 4-days in the house memory serves me right, there are 5 milk tea places on this stretch and three more hiding around the adjacent streets.
to give you a background, I LOVE MILK TEA! my best memory of Hong Kong, circa '95, is being lost in one of those alleys with my family and eating mediocre noodles but drinking the best milk tea known to my young palate. i fell in love that first time, and since then milk tea has been my crazy drink next to bitter black coffee (stress buster drink) and Blue Moon draft (damn, I love you!).
as i type this blog, i am drinking a green tea yakult from one of the places on the stretch. I am thankful to these business owners they decided to place two out of five within walks reach from our building. in my 4-days inside the house rest, i went to both places and both have enjoyed it. so now, where am i headed? i'll try to compare these five (plus plus) places or maybe give some recommendations to anyone who wants to visit them.
(1) Bubble Tea- still my favorite place. I've tried almost every drink known to man (or lifted from the menu) from this place. may it be your cold bubble tea or the hot milk tea, you will really like it. I've recommended this place to a couple of people and they share my glee for this place. The taste exudes some sophistication as you can taste milk and tea in every sip. Just how I like 'em.
***favorite/s: Royal Milk Tea and Jasmine Milk Tea- Hot or Cold it doesnt matter, though I prefer both drinks hot and without the sweetener.
(2) Chatime- I havent tried the Chatime chain on this street but what could be the difference if you've tried Chatime in MOA and Galleria? For some reason I dont have much to say about Chatime except I really like their Taro Milk Tea. I've tried a couple of drinks there and its either too milky or too bland. I always get 50% sweetness level and the variation on taste on some drinks just doesn't do justice. Still Taro Milk Tea (which I got from MOA branch) was really the best Taro there is. There is TARO my friend. Something you just look forward to having when you order a Taro Milk Tea.
*** favorite: Taro Milk Tea- have I not said enough?
(3) DEC (Diao Eng Chay)- I believe they have one too. Its been a while that I went inside that place and bought a drink but I know they have one. Not as much variety as the other milk tea places as DEC is a Chinese deli and not a drink place. Either way, when you need a fix for milk tea or any drink or any food, this is a place to visit.
(4) Tea Tap Cafe- Located at the old site of FPJ for President meetings restaurant (aka. Barrio Fiesta in P. Guevarra), Tea Tap Cafe has given meaning to my life of being away from Ortigas. Why? Its a cafe! and it being a cafe is a good news for me since I can have a new place to hang out at or be alone or study or do some work. Seriously, I went in and I just wanted to spend an hour looking around. Its a great niche for all cafe lovers out there. Plus you come over for MILK TEA! I've only tried one milk tea so far and it was a good one. Matcha Green Milk Tea (however redundant that sounds) was good. Its all the right flavors, purely "matcha" for some weird reason (seriously i cannot justify what purely matcha means, but it tastes so great a Japanese tea to me). Then there's the food. I tried Takoyaki balls that was pretty soft than chewy for me but the taste was terrific than most I've tried. Now here's the other thing. They've got frozen yogurt too (courtesy of Simple Life) and it was wow! you get only one type of frozen yogurt (no fancy chocolate or vanilla or cheesecake), but the taste is simply in all the right places (for me at least). I dont like my yogurt too sweet or too sour, and this changed my palate in eating frozen yogurt. JUST RIGHT! plus the day that i visited them, they had their yogurts 50% off so instead of paying a 100 bucks for yogurt with choco morsels, i paid 50. *wide smiles*
*** favorite/s: Matcha Green Milk Tea and FROZEN YOGURT!!! (and the ambiance, and the cat accepting the tips. argh! too cute!!!)
(5) Share Tea- as i type this, I just finished my second Share Tea drink. My first one was the Green Tea Yakult. It was Ah-Mazing! I am having a hard time describing it, but to me an Ah-Mazing drink usually lets you into all the tastes that you need to get. i tasted that green tea taste and the yakult taste and to me thats all i need to get satisfied. My second drink is the Hokkaido Pearl Milk Tea. I found out as I typed this blog post that there are other places that has this drink but Share Tea has the description which made me try it. It said "milk tea with caramel and toffee" and as I tasted it, with less sugar of course, I can taste that caramel and toffee sweetness. yummy! Though I dont think I'd like to get another serving of Hokkaido for a while. I'm not too fond of sweet milk tea's. I like my milk tea to be a drink and not a dessert, so between the Yakult drink and the milk tea from Share Tea, I choose the Yakult drink right now. I will be back to try other drinks though.
*** favorite: Green Tea Yakult
Along that other street, there's Serenitea. Everyone knows Serenitea. It re-defined milk tea and started the "fad" of this new generation (one which strayed away from Zagu and Quickly, and made things a little expensive.) Serenitea can be the Starbucks of Milk Tea's (dis/agree with me?) but it does have good teas. I've not visited this place in over a year and the last time I remember ordering the Royal Milk Tea there. I liked it, but it tastes like any other Royal Milk Tea without the unusual kick to it. Being a fan of Bubble Tea, yes, I say I like Bubble Tea's Royal Milk Tea better than Serenitea's.
The other one I can think of is near my brother's school. Its called Pao-Pao (I forgot the other name before it) or the place where kids from Xavier and ICA go to to drink some tea and hang-out. They have relatively cheap drinks and food (perfect for these kids) and so the taste is one thats mediocre (talk about Quickly value). I dont have a fave drink though.
There's another one on another street before getting to Pao-Pao but that I haven't tried. Its also a small place with cheap drinks, and I'm not sure when I'll be able to try it.
There are other places with "just milk tea" like North Park and the Formosa Bakery (I heard they have one), then I think Taibun Bakery also has it, but they have it as just one of those drinks available. Needless to say, I haven't tried any of them.
So if you plan to visit me here at home, I can take you to all these places, but based on this post, I think you know where I'll take you. =)
$$$ I suddenly remembered that I didn't get to add the other tea place thats pretty popular to mankind (or some of us). Happy Lemon! though really i wouldnt want to count this as a purely tea place coz they have the "lemons" as their prime drink, but they too have milk teas and that rock salt cheese thingamajig (i havent seen that word in a long time). I've tried a couple of drinks such as the Malt Milk Tea, Roasted Milk Tea, Cocoa with Rock Salt & Cheese, Crispy Cocoa Milk Tea with Brown Sugar Jelly, but the best of them all is this one.... Lemon Honey with Seaweed Jelly! Make it a 1/4% sweet and explore the yummy-ness of Lemon with some honey and the taste of seaweed jelly. Its the most refreshing drink since mint cocoa.
***favorite: Lemon Honey with Seaweed Jelly