Avid foodiePrints readers will have noticed that Don and I love bubble tea and are constantly on the lookout for the best local bubble tea shop. Thus far, we have visited Bubblicity (both Chinatown and Dalhousie locations), Nihao Tea House on Holland Ave. (now closed), Maple Valley, and finally, Ottawa’s newest competitor, the Toronto-chain Teashop 168. On my last bubble tea entry, I had updated foodiePrints’ list of top bubble tea shops in Ottawa, but did not reveal number one. I shall now fill in that blank spot.
Last summer while looking for something spontaneous to do with my younger sisters as we waited for an order of pizza, we decided to walk from Hintonburg to Chinatown’s newest bubble teashop, My Sweet Tea for something cold, sweet, and refreshing. Granted, My Sweet Tea has been in business since July 2008, but it was my first trip there. My youngest sister, who could probably live on a diet of bubble tea, claimed its drinks tasted just like those in Vancouver and Toronto and that I would not be disappointed. Sufficient to say, she was correct.
Located in the heart of Chinatown, My Sweet Tea provides great competition to another bubble tea shop on Somerset Street, Bubblicity, a popular Ottawa chain. Upon entering the shop, I was struck by the sheer delightful fruity smells in the air. There is nothing more comforting when entering a tea shop when you can smell recently made bubble teas of various flavours and tapioca pearls. The fruitiness is enough to put a happy grin on your face and the knowledge that you are in store for a great treat. The chic decor and furniture gives the shop a casual, yet sophisticated feel, and adds to the relaxing atmosphere inside.
Checking out the menu…..
My Sweet Tea serves a variety of bubble tea drinks in many flavours including ice tea, ice slush, milk tea, ice cream smoothies, yogurt drinks, blooming tea (hot drink). In addition, snacks of fish balls, chicken wings, toast, and chicken popcorn along with cake are also available.
I ordered my usual staple, a lychee bubble slush ($3.99 + $0.50 for jelly) . It was sweet, cold, and delicious. The lychee flavour was strong, but not overpowering. It also had just the right amount of lychee jelly pieces and there were no hard bits or shards of ice. More importantly as the slush slowly melted, the lychee flavour continued until the very last drop. I was in bubble tea heaven.
Don chose one of his favourites, a black tea based milk taro bubble tea. According to him, it was cold, sweet, milky and smooth, the right consistency of a taro flavoured drink. Feeling adventurous, Don decided to add red beans to his drink, rather than the usual tapioca pearls. The red beans were perfectly cooked and sweet. At $3.99 + $0.50 for the red beans, it was money well spent.
Looking for a Snack…
Despite finding a drink quenching my thirst, I was also in search of some food. Choosing from a curious selection of flavoured toast on the menu, I decided to try the honey toast. Not knowing what to expect, I was surprised to be presented with a thick slice of toasted white Asian-style bread drizzled with honey on a glass plate. Each bite had a lovely crunch, but found it somewhat greasy with honey tasting of the typical store-bought kind. I am not sure if I will order this dish again in the near future.
Take Out Bubble Tea
Don’t have time to relax and hang out in the tea shop? No problem! My Sweet Tea also has a take-out option, serving the drinks in plastic cups and sealing them in a thick, but clear plastic sheet with teddy bears and a riddle written in Chinese.
In the top left hand corner is a mango flavour bubble tea with mango jelly pieces, a favourite of my younger sister. Beside it, a black tea based taro-flavour milk tea with tapioca pearls. Below in the bottom right hand corner is a green tea based lychee-flavour ice tea with lychee jelly pieces. Finally in the bottom left hand corner is my drink, a lychee-flavour bubble slush with lychee jelly pieces.
Since the summer of 2009, Don and I have re-visited My Sweet Tea on numerous occasions and feeling satisfied each time. As a result, My Sweet Tea is foodiePrints’ pick for Ottawa’s best tea house!
4. Teashop 168
2. Maple Valley
1. My Sweet Tea
My Sweet Tea
824 Somerset Street W.