Casually strolling around North York after getting CoCo's soon led us to pass by other bubble tea-loving citizens holding Gong Cha cups in their hands. There had been no news of the renown Taiwanese franchise's grand opening prior to this on social media. Nonetheless, the Kaoshiung-native shop drew hoards of customers in with their Buy One Get One Free Deal.
It wasn't until Tuesday that a trip to Gong Cha was finally made.
We were even given samples of their Milk Foam Tea and Wintermelon Milk Tea with Grass Jelly. We ended purchasing an Earl Grey Milk Tea Family, which included toppings of tapioca pearls, pudding, and grass jelly, along with a full-size Wintermelon Milk Tea with Grass Jelly after enjoying the sample to an excessive degree.
Both were great! While I'm not too big of a fan of Earl Grey, the toppings were definitely tasty. They hadn't been stingy either (looking at you, BR!). And I've tried wintermelon at Chatime before, finding it to be made at an acceptable degree, but the Wintermelon Milk Tea from Gong Cha was an entirely different story! This one not only retained a certain depth of the wintermelon flavour, but also maintained a wonderful balance with the combination of creamy milk tea and refreshing grass jelly.
We headed on over to Sugar Marmalade to try out some of their desserts in-store. We had already visited the location twice for takeout, receiving efficient and courteous service both times, so it was decided that we would try something different this time around.
After much thought, we ordered two classic Chinese desserts: Black Glutinous Rice with Durian and Coconut Milk and Steamed Papaya Egg White with Milk.
Durian, a well-loved ingredient in a number of tropical countries, is usually a hit-or-miss for most people. While its atrocious smell may ward off many, the texture and taste is actually quite nice. The durian chunks included in the dessert were not only extremely fragrant, but also added a nice coarseness to the dessert as a whole. The only downside was that we could still smell the fruit even after finishing all the food items we ordered.
When the steamed papaya arrived approximately ten minutes later, I realized that it was smaller than I had expected. Nonetheless, the egg white pudding was exactly as I had experienced it at dim sum restaurants in the past - light and smooth, with a delicate hint of sweetness. The papaya itself actually wasn't too sweet, but the dessert was great all the same, especially knowing that it was healthy and had supposed enzyme-boosting / skin-whitening properties.
I wanted to finish off with something savoury, so I called the server over to inquire about the popularity levels of the chicken wings versus the teriyaki fries. As I was told that the latter was more commonly ordered, I decided to go with that choice.
It was later proven that my judgement would not result in the best outcome, however.
Note to self: Don't order savoury items at a dessert house.
The service was satisfactory and decently fast, but it seemed as if only server could actually speak and understand English to a notable degree; one of the girl servers actually had to run to get that sole server when I had questioned her about whether the egg white and milk mixture was actually solid.
Regardless, their desserts are unique and I think I'll definitely go try them out when their Mississauga location opens!
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