When it comes to food, Singaporeans always go gaga over burgers, fried chicken and bubble tea.
Well, famed Taiwainese bubble tea brand Milkshop is joining the fray, with the opening of its first Milksha store at Suntec City on Saturday, June 22, located at #02-375/376 Suntec City Mall (right above Uniqlo). For the uninitiated, the brand goes by Milkshop at home, and Milksha in international markets.
With over 230 outlets in Taiwan, 20 in China and three in Hong Kong, the 15-year-old bubble tea chain is known for using fresh milk in its signature milk series of drinks, as well a reliance on using Taiwanese ingredients in all of its outlets.
Aside from the milk, which has been sourced locally (Greenfields), the other key ingredients, such as tea leaves, yam, red beans, signature pearls and even orange juice are prepared and frozen in Taiwan, before they are shipped to Singapore.
This explains why their tapioca pearls, which are generally brown in its uncooked form, and black when served, are white in its uncooked form, and light brown when served (due to the fact that the pearls are cooked with honey).
The yam in its popular Fresh Taro Milk is also specially imported from Dajia, Taiwan, and bears an off-white colour, instead of the light purple hue found in local yams. The purple hue becomes more apparent after it is cooked and mashed by hand, before it is mixed in with fresh milk.
The same goes for the orange juice, which is squeezed in Taiwan and sent over. For those who are familiar with the everyday Valencia oranges used by the majority of fruit juice outlets and restaurants here, be prepared to have your tastebuds challenged.
Currently, the store will only be serving 10 drinks on its menu, with the full one coming soon. Six of the 10 drinks are from its milk series, including its signature Fresh Taro Milk and Azuki Sesame Milk.
Geek Culture tried all 10 drinks, and here are our recommendations.
Azuki Matcha Milk (S$5.60)
The problem with Matcha drinks is that most brands make use of generic match powder that isn’t very good. This makes the drinks taste like something that was prepared from cheap premix (powdered taro mix anyone?). Fortunately, the one here is made with Izumo Matcha from Japan. The green tea flavour is smooth, and doesn’t leave a film of power on your tongue. We had this at 0% sugar, and the sweetness from the red beans, mixed with the matcha makes for a light drink that’s also equally filling and satisfying.
Fresh Taro Milk (S$5.60)
Mashed yam/taro with milk. It’s something so simple, yet so effective. Prepared with a fixed sugar and ice level, the milk has a refreshing taro flavour with each sip – sweet but not overpowering. Stick the straw all the way into a cup and you’ll hit the mashed taro that has settled at the bottom of the cup. It’s like a dessert and a drink, and a full meal all mixed into one, and we can’t get enough of this one-of-a-kind drink.
Refreshing Orange Green Tea (S$4.20)
This was the biggest surprise for us, that orange juice would get us excited. It’s actually a toss between this or the Orange Ice Blended Tea ($4.20), but the sweetness of the orange was simply…. well, refreshing. The mix of sweet and sour provided a nice balance, and it’s just about a taste of orange that is different from the imported oranges used here. The honey pearls add a nice balance to the drink, and the chewy texture make the pearls a must have with most drinks. One thing to note about the pearls – they last longer than most regular black pearls. Instead of clumping together, these pearls held their own and remained chewy even after soaking in the orange tea for several hours.
Azuki Sesame Milk (S$4.80)
If you’re a fan of the traditional black sesame paste dessert, this is a must have. Yes, black sesame is a very strong flavour to have in any dish or drink, but when mixed with milk and red beans, this recipe is very reminiscent of black sesame paste, with the red beans and milk providing the sweetness, to balance the slight bitterness of the black sesame. Stir it a few times and after a few sips, it’ll definitely grow on you.
As part of Milksha’s opening, the outlet is handing out Milksha’s specially designed cup sleeves with each drink, while stocks last. The company will be opening its second outlet at Funan, with a third already in the works. Both Suntec City and Funan outlets will have store-exclusive sleeve designs.
When the Funan outlet opens on June 28, customers who pick up 4 drinks will get a free Milksha tumbler.
Hsals needs more space in his house, and more money in his bank account to pay for all the toys, collectibles and other geek related items that companies are churning out. Free-time? Girlfriend? Who’s got time for those?