Location: East Village
Saint’s Alp Teahouse
39 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10003
Tel: (212) 598-1890
Rich, thick, and sweet, this seasonal favorite leaves a pale sticky mustache on your upper lip if you’re not careful. Is it hot chocolate? Nope. Frozen hot chocolate? Nah. Starbucks Double White Mocha Extra Foam with a Cherry on Top? Wrong again. I’m talking about bubble tea, the Taiwanese dessert drink popular as a summer snack. Anyone in the East Village who eats Asian food has been to the casual and crowded Saint’s Alp for its bubble tea. Traditionally, bubble tea contains chewy tapioca balls submerged in a cup of ice-cold milk tea — an instant refresher for hot summer days. But in addition to the iced summer variety, Saint’s Alp also serves their bubble teas piping hot, brought to you in a sleek one-person teapot. The temperature flip-flop instantly transforms bubble tea from a passe summer import to a lip-smacking substitute for the classic seasonal favorite. And while hot chocolate only comes in one flavor, this stuff comes in seven or eight. You might choose to play it safe with the hot teas (Black, Green, Jasmine), but I recommend the more exotic flavors (Almond, Black Sesame, Taro) for their sweeter, silkier consistency. Saint’s Alp also offers a smorgasbord of traditional Taiwanese snacks. The Rice with Pork comes highly recommended, although some of the hors d’oeuvres-like treats seem to come straight from the freezer. But trust me on the hot bubble tea.