October 10, 2012

What's Bubbling? Milk Tea Hotpot ~ 珍珠奶茶火鍋 !!

When I first started planning the itinerary for my Taiwan vacation, my travel companion suggested that we go for bubble tea steamboat. I'm sure most of us would have drank bubble tea and eaten steamboat before, but bubble tea steamboat? Bubble Tea + Steamboat? Together??

It was the first time I heard about this weird sounding combination. I wondered if it will taste savory or sweet. Will it upset my tummy? Will it come with the chewy black pearls? What other ingredients will go into the steamboat? Is the soup base going to taste like those bubble milk tea we always drink? Strange thoughts keep flashing across my head. I told friends about it and "eeewwwwww" was their most common reaction.

Well, the only way to find out is to experience it myself! Afterall, dining is about Experiencelism!

We made our way to this place called Moonlight Tea House (玥飲軒), which is near the Shida Night Market (師大夜市), the nearest mrt would be Taipower Building Station (台電大樓). Just walk down a few streets, you'd find yourself in an area with charming little cafes and Moonlight Tea House is located at the corner of the little street cross junction. If you prefer to take a taxi, do note that the streets are mostly one-way. It might be easy to make a wrong turn and difficult to find the place if your taxi driver is not familiar with the area. We were there in the evening and the streets were dimly lighted, thus the very poor photo quality above. As it was mid-autumn festival that evening, locals were seen celebrating the festival by having barbeque parties, like this group outside the tea house.

Moonlight Tea House (玥飲軒) ~ I like the way the name of the restaurant sounds in Chinese. It's so poetic, like a place which I would imagine out of a classic chinese novel, of where the dreams and romance lies.

My friend and I were greeted by Chinese-inspired decorations and paintings as we entered. This small and intimate space is filled with love of tea, which is apparent with the displays of tea leaves and exquisite tea sets thoughout the restaurant.

Other than carrying a wide variety of tea leaves, Moonlight Tea House also serve little snacks too. These would compliment the tea beverages nicely and makes great gifts to bring back home.

The place may not be spacious, but it's well divided into small areas for more privacy. The dimmed lighting gives a really cosy feel. Finally, I felt a sense of calmness after a tired day of walking through the crowded streets of Danshui (淡水). We've to remove our shoes before we proceed to our table, similar to the one pictured above.

We were served chinese tea while we browsed through the menu. Other than the Milk Tea Hotpot (珍珠奶茶火鍋)(NT$450), they also serve other hotpots like Seafood in spicy or non-spicy broth. Vegetarians can go for the Mushroom version. Deep Fried Chicken Cutlet and Pork Chop Rice are also featured in the selection of local favorites.

Finally. the Milk Tea Hotpot (珍珠奶茶火鍋) appeared before my very own eyes! It's more than what I've imagined, overflowing with ingredients trying to contain themselves from bubbling over the hot pot. The whole presentation was so colorful, my appetite opens up simply by looking at it! Okay, to put it plainly, I'm SALIVATING! lol.

By now the suspense is killing me. Enough of photo taking, I can't wait anymore to taste it! I put down my camera, picked up the spoon and took my very first sip. The lightly creamed texture of the savory milk and pork bone broth delighted my palate tremendously! Kinda reminds me of milky fish soup with a porky difference. Accompanied by the soft, aromatic afternotes of tea, it's intoxicatingly heavenly! I was told by the staff that the broth was painstaking boiled for 12 hours and only superior ingredients and tea leaves are used.

This hot pot may seemed small, but it's filled with a medley of ingredients! Pork Slices, Black Pearls, Green Vegetables, Cabbages, Carrots, Enoki Mushrooms, Shiitake Mushrooms, Fried Dough Sticks, Pumpkins, Multi-Layered Beancurd Skins, Beancurds, Fishcakes, Crabsticks, Meatballs, Dumpling, Balls filled with Fish Roe and Meat! Phew! I can't believe I just rattled off this long list. You can imagine how happy my tummy was to welcome all these into her.

Condiments is available at the side table for you to choose from. With a variety from hot bean paste, chilli oil, fermented bean curd to peanuts and many more, I'm sure you'd find something to your liking.

The Black Pearls which you always find in your bubble tea is another highlight. It stayed chewy even after the swim in the broth. Eating this in savory style is indeed a change from the usual sweetness of bubble tea! It does not taste as strange as it initially sounds. In fact I love the combination!

What took me by surprise that night, was this bowl of Rice which came together with the hotpot set. It looked plain and boring, and I don't wanna get unnecessary carbs from it. I was ready to simply leave it aside but an inner voice called out to me to just give it a try. Oh my goodness!! I'm so glad I did! The rice is cooked with jasmine tea to give it a delicate fragrance which compliments the milk tea hotpot so well. Love it!

We also ordered the Seafood Hotpot in non-spicy broth (NT$420). The broth exudes a nice prawn flavour and seafood like prawns, mussels and clams were very fresh.

It was a superbly satisfying meal. Portions are very generous and one hotpot is actually good enough for 2 people.

 If you're planning to visit Taipei, I strongly recommend you made a visit here!

Moonlight Tea House (玥飲軒)
Address: Taipei, WenZhou Street, No. 80 (台北市溫州街80號)
Contact:+886 2 8369-3963
Opening Hours: 10am - 2am daily (Last order for food: 9.30pm)

1 comment:

  1. Food wasn't amazing. There were no condiments and the soup was bland. I think the food would've tasted better if it was cooked in plain water. That's how bad it was. Idk why u would recommend it. The only good thing about this place was the ambience