Taiwan is the Mecca of Bubble Tea. Accordingly it is where this amazing drink came from, and with me being a bubble tea fiend, I was practically shaking with excitement at being able to visit the motherland.
But even in a land where most bubble tea stands have bubble teas that taste way better than anything the local aussie bubble tea shops could ever serve up, there is a King. And the King is Chen San Ding Bubble Tea.
Technically not bubble ‘tea’ as there is no tea involve, Chen San Ding is made from brown sugar, tapoica pearls and amazingly tasty fresh milk. The owner invented this drink and named it 青蛙撞奶, literally translated as Frogs crashing milk. Not the most elegant of names but I think he was referring to how the pearls looked floating about in the milk. Regardless of the name, the drink is fully capable of blowing your mind and it certainly did mine. The pearls are cooked in brown sugar and are kept warm at all times. Topped up with fresh milk in your cup, they mix together to become the most incredible cup of milk ever with a tinge of caramel. The quality of the milk used is top notch and the pearls are melt in your mouth. I could drink this again, and again, and again!
You get to Chen San Ding via Gongguan MRT station. It is a short walk from the station with Chen San Ding being in the middle of Gongguan Nightmarket. The place is filled with students from the nearby National Taiwan University and is also home to the incredibly yummy Lan Jia Gua Bao 藍家割包 that bloggers have come to nickname as Taiwanese Hamburger.
Lan Jia is opposite to Chen San Ding and if you are coming for one, you need to have the other too. They operate out of a pushcart kitchen which makes it really easy to just do takeaway which is what we did. Behind the pushcart kitchen is some seating space, so if you’d like to stay and relax into the space, that’s okay too. Gua Bao reminds me of the Momofuku pork buns but not having tasted the latter before, I cannot compare them in flavour.
A fluffy white bun is folded into half, filled with preserved vegs and your choice of meat (lean, somewhat lean, somewhat fatty, fatty or a mixture). The sauce is somewhat peanuty and the combination of every ingredient makes for perfection in both texture and flavour. I was craving and dreaming for this for months afterwards!
Lan Jia Gua Bao can be found in numerous nightmarkets but I have found that the one at Gongguan to be the tastiest. Not sure why, but that’s how it is. Definitely the one at Shida nightmarket couldn’t compare, and it’s only one or two MRT stops away. Go for the one at Gongguan, trust me.
Unfortunately, due to time and tummy constraints, we couldn’t fit anything else from Gongguan Nightmarket in. The next time I’m back in Taipei, I’ll be making a beeline for these two, for sure! YUM!