Nowadays, you can find boba shops in almost every corner of Kuching. Did you know that there are at least eight Taiwanese bubble tea brands available here?
If bubble tea has its own capital country, there is no denying that Taiwan would be it.
So far, there are two origin stories on how this chewy, milky drink came around.
The first claim derives back to 1986 in Tainan, where the owner of The Hanlin Tea room, Tu Tsong-he allegedly was inspired by white tapioca balls he saw at the market.
He then made tea using the tapioca balls, creating what we now know as bubble tea or pearl tea today.
Meanwhile, Chun Shui Tang Tearoom in Taichung began serving cold Chinese tea after observing cold coffee being served cold in Japan.
This new style of serving tea was a hit in the 1980s. Then came in the teahouse’ product development manager, Lin Hsiu Hui who randomly poured tapioca balls into her iced tea drink in 1988. From there, a new drink was born and it became an instant hit.
Regardless of which teahouse created bubble tea, we can all agree that Taiwan is the birth place of this drink.
Today, other countries such as China and Malaysia have also started their own home-grown brands of bubble tea.
In the meantime, Taiwanese bubble tea brands are opening their branches in all over the world including Malaysia.
If you are looking for Taiwanese bubble tea franchises in Kuching, here are eight of them you can visit (or order through delivery apps since we are in the middle of a pandemic):
How about a Taiwanese bubble tea chain that is worthy of Korean royals? Netflix’s The King: Eternal Monarch (2020) is a hit Korean drama about a king from a parallel universe. He comes to our world using his inherited magic flute, falls in love with a girl and proceeds to have a date with her at The Alley.
In conjunction with the collaboration between the bubble tea brand and the drama, The Alley released a new crunchy milk tea series.
It comes in three flavours; Crunchy Cocoa Milk Tea, Crunchy Brown Sugar Milk Tea and Crunchy Tiramisu Milk.
Besides their crunchy milk tea series,The Alley beverages also comes in milk tea series, latte series, coffee series and more.
The brand is proud of their tapioca pearls which they claimed were made from scratch.
Looking back on its history, The Alley was launched in Taipei in 2013 by Taiwanese graphic designer and entrepreneur Chiu Mao Ting.
Today, you can find this Taiwanese bubble tea brand in North America, Europe, Southeast Asian region such as Singapore and Indonesia.
Location in Kuching: Ground & First Floor, Milan Square, Jalan Wan Alwi.
Speaking of royalty, here is a Taiwanese bubble tea brand whose name translates to ‘tribute tea for the emperor’.
Gong Cha was founded in 2006 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan and opened it first franchise in Malaysia in 2011.
Their drinks are grouped into several categories such as brewed tea, milk tea, health tea, creative mix, latte, coffee and house special.
Some of our personal favourites from Gong Cha are Longan Red Date Tea, Matcha Milk Red Bean and Earl Grey Milk Tea with Coffee Jelly.
Locations in Kuching: Plaza Merdeka and tHe Spring
While The Alley is known for its deer logo, Daboba is known for its bear logo.
The two brands share another similarity, they are both known for their take on the popular brown sugar milk beverage.
Daboba is mostly known to create the Honey Golden Pearl Green Milk Tea. Instead of black pearls, the boba is yellow in colour with faintly taste of honey.
Locations in Kuching: Galacity Street Mall, Jalan Tun Jugah
According to their website, Ding Tea keeps a close eye on their quality and never use an overnight tea.
Founded in 2007, the brand aims to promote Taiwanese tea culture to the world.
Their drinks can be divided into different range such as milk tea, fresh tea, latte, flavoured tea, fruit juice and others.
Locations in Kuching: Everrise BDC, Plaza Merdeka, CityOne Megamall, Boulevard Shopping Mall, Vivacity Megamall, AEON Mall Kuching, iCom Square, The Hills
ChaTime currently has the largest teahouse franchise in the world.
It was founded in 2005 in Zhubei, Hsinchu, Taiwan.
Their best selling drink is none other than ChaTime ‘Pearl’ Milk Tea. Our personal preferences are Earl Grey Pearl Milk and Hazelnut Chocolate.
Locations in Kuching:
Ground floor, Aeon Mall Kuching, Jalan Datuk Patinggi Haji Ahmad Zaidi Adruce
Level 3, Vivacity Megamall, Jalan Wan Alwi
Ground Floor, Lot 14011 (SL36), Metrocity, Jalan Matang
Do you know that one of the oldest Taiwanese bubble tea franchise have a couple of branches in Kuching?
Sharetea was founded in 1992 by Chong Kai Lung in Taipei, Taiwan.
In Malaysia, the franchise was first brought over Wong Tai Yong in 2009.
Meanwhile in Sarawak, there are around 30 Sharetea branches located all over the state.
Some of our personal favourite drinks are Strawberry Blended with Ice Cream, Matcha Red Bean Milk Tea and QQhappy Family Milk Tea.
Locations in Kuching:
Ground Floor, Jalan Canna
2.Gala Street Mall
GalaCity, Jalan Tun Jugah
7.Chun Yang Tea
Chun Yang Tea was founded by former Taiwanese basketball players Wang Xinkai and Chen Jianzhou in 2017.
Since then, it had received celebrity endorsement such as Jay Chow and Barbie Hsu.
Instead of artificial flavouring or syrups, Chun Yang is proud to say that they only use real fruit in their drinks.
Apart from that, they do not use milk powders as part of their ingredients.
The brand Chun Yang, was named after a village in Taiwan which is known for their traditional tea making,
Location in Kuching: Ground Floor, Emporium Kuching, Jalan Tun Jugah
8.Xing Fu Tang
Xing Fu Tang is perhaps the ‘baby’ among these Taiwanese bubble tea franchises because it was founded only back in January 2018.
They claim to be Taiwan No. 1 in their logo. However, we let Kuchingites to judge for that.
Their signature drink is Brown Sugar Boba Milk.
Location in Kuching: GalaCity, Jalan Tun Jugah