Wednesday, April 14, 2010

[台北] 公館 - 墾丁蛋蛋ㄉㄨㄞ奶 Fresh Tapioca with Milk in Taipei Gonguan

Every time I go visit Taipei, a visit to the 公館 (Gong Guan) area is inevitable. It's right across the bridge from Yong Ho township, and right across the street from Taipei's #1 university (NTU). In addition to having lots of small mom and pop type retail stores and shops (with the inevitable chains of 7-Eleven, Happy Family convenience stores, at least one Starbucks), there's a myriad to almost endless amount of average to very decent food, best of all very affordable. We've all been starving students at one point, so good quality food on the cheap is a must. Unfortunately for the most part, your typical American university or college town food isn't exactly cheap in comparison, but good thing for NTU students, if you are willing to walk, you can get good grub and drink. So don't be a stupid NTU student and eat on campus, where at the student union there's a Burger King and a localized Korean place that doesn't look entirely interesting.

Ahhh beverages....tons of places that serve to go teas, milk tea drinks. The best known name brand is Ten Ren Tea Station (which of course blows away anything in California North or South), but you're looking at NT$70 for a kickass cuppa lemon kumquat green tea (cheap by California standards, PRICEY for local).

Enter this joint called 墾丁蛋蛋ㄉㄨㄞ奶, pronounced Kenting Daan Daan "dwai" Nai. I'm not so sure about the "dwai" part as that's some serious Boh Poh MoFo shizzle I never learned.

This is actually Taipei's only branch of a family business that started off in Kenting (the southern end of Taiwan).

Here's the kicker, they do not use or add any tea in their drinks. It's all milk.

But not just any milk. They use Lin Feng Yin brand, which locally is known for being all natural and rich in flavor. I've tasted this from a local Welcome supermarket (Ding Hao) and it's super smooth and creamy (even low fat version). Pretty much puts our US organic milk to shame (even the Horizon's and whatevers).

So every successful business has a beginning, and in the Chinese food culture, when you're blogging or doing a documentary/program, you have to begin with a sappy story as to its humble beginnings and struggles.

This is taken directly from their brochure, and hopefully I didn't F it up with the translation.

"In early summer 2001, a loving mother who worried about her little boy's nutritional intake containing too much in the way of artificial ingredients (food coloring, flavoring, sweeteners) and who also suffered poor health from eating not so healthy herself, came up with a beverage idea to not only be nutritionally healthy for her son, but also delicious. She borrowed an idea from her grandmother on a receipe regarding black (brown) sugar (unprocessed), and thus 墾丁蛋蛋ㄉㄨㄞ奶 was born."

The tapioca they use is freshly made every day and after cooking it, is never left sitting out more than 2 hours. Anything older than that, is tossed out and replaced with a new batch. Or so they claim.

And the great thing is, it's true, and you can taste it.

All drinks are NT$30 or about US$1. It's unbeatable, delicious, fresh, and quite an unusual combination that works.

Fresh quality milk makes the basis of most of the drinks with your choice of black sugar tapioca, grass jelly, and/or green (mung) beans. You can also opt to have the milk as a latte (with coffee), or if you are lactose intolerant, they offer a lemon juice base option.

墾丁蛋蛋ㄉㄨㄞ奶 (Kenting Daan Daan "dwai" nai)
台北市中正區汀州路三段165號 Taipei City, Zhongzhen District, Dingzhou Road, 3rd portion #165

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