Drinkipedia: The Lowdown on Taiwanese Drinks

BOBA

Pearl Milk Tea / zhenzhu naicha 珍珠奶茶 /

Chun Shui Tang (春水堂) is considered among the first tea houses in the world that invented bubble milk tea. You might suppose the tapioca balls are big and flavored with brown sugar like you’ve tried before. However, at Chun Shui Tang, you’ll find their tapioca balls are smaller and less sweet in comparison to others. This is to make the drink less cloying and bring to the fore the tea itself, which is brewed with actual tea leaves, not tea bags. The type of tea leaves, on the other hand, might change depending on the season and weather to make every sip fresh and unique. (You might also like: Taiwan’s Original Bubble Milk Tea and Food Tour)

Brown Sugar Bubble with Milk
/ heitang zhenzhu xiannai 黑糖珍珠鮮奶 /

Started from a small shop in Shilin night market (士林夜市), Truedan (珍煮丹) brought the world of bubble tea to another level in 2010 with its pure handmade brown sugar boba. Their tapioca balls are cooked in condensed brown sugar water for hours before they are added to the milk. The thick syrup of brown sugar can be extra comforting when it’s served in hot milk. Today, Truedan has extended their empire from Taipei to Canada, Singapore, Japan, Australia and more. 

Bubble Milk Tea
/ zhenzhu hongcha natie 珍珠紅茶拿鐵 /

Unlike most shops which always highlight the quality of tea and tapioca balls, Milkshop ( 迷克夏) specializes in milk. Using no cream or milk powder, Milkshop insists on using certified milk that is properly sterilized. The high portion of milk is the reason why they call their product a “latte” and not just “milk tea” in Chinese. Another feature of Milkshop is the white and chewy tapioca balls. To be more accurate, they are crystal-like jelly balls that contain no food dye. It’s not even sunk into brown sugar water at the production stage, just to keep its color clear. Milk lovers, what are you waiting for? (Read also: Bubble Milk Tea and Beyond in Taiwan (part two))

ALCOHOL (🍺DRINK RESPONSIBLY)

Kavalan Solist ex-Bourbon Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky

(Photo / Kavalan Whisky)

Many people don’t know that Taiwan is producing whisky. Not only is Taiwan making whisky, it’s making some of the world’s best — laying claim to the No.1 whiskey on the planet. Kavalan Whisky (噶瑪蘭威士忌), has been in production since 2008. Their Kavalan Solist ex-Bourbon won trophies at the International Spirits Challenge, the International Review of Spirits, and many other competitions since 2016. Their bourbon barrels are all made of American oak that has a stronger scent than other kind of wood, which make the whisky dignified and rich. (Read also: A Tale of Cocktails: Five of Taipei’s Freshest Bars)

Hop Lanterns DDH

Taiwan is somewhat of a surprising paradise for lovers of craft beer. Taihu Brewing (台虎精釀), one of the Taipei-based craft brewers, is the brand you must try if you’re in Taiwan. Famous for making limited edition flavors, Taihu never stops surprising beer lovers with their creative ideas. However, if you want a taste that you can find anytime when visiting Taiwan, try Hop Lanterns DDH that is made from five different hops. Follow its fruity and floral fragrance, and enjoy the spring in Taipei! (You might also like: Finding Local Flavor at Taipei’s Beer Cafes)

18 Days  

You can’t beat a nice glass of Taiwan Beer 18 Days. Refreshing and crisp, it’s called 18 Days because that’s how long it lasts after brewing before it loses its freshness. And, to get you even more into the spring spirit, Taiwan Beer also comes in mango, pineapple, grape and orange flavors. Sweet and fruity, they’re a great twist on a classic beverage and perfect for sipping on a balmy spring day. (Read more: Drink like a Local!)