On the sweltering humid days that come one after another during a typical Chengdu summer, stopping to pick up a cold refreshing drink or snack can feel like something that just saved your life. This weather is the perfect time to appreciate milk teas and drinks that are prepared and mixed with chunks of fresh fruit, coconut jelly, pudding, tapioca pearls, herb jelly, beans and grains. These drinks are so popular there seem to be two shops on every block, so finding a truly good place can be challenging. We looked for milk tea that was made with real milk (not powdered flavourings), freshly cut fruit and freshly prepared tapioca pearls. Here are our top five.

 

Da Tong Icehouse 大通冰室

 

Various locations in Chengdu, including

Moqiziao: 磨子桥一环路南二段7号附8号 028-85574343

Tianfu Square: 天府广场今站购物中心B1楼 028-89343172

 

We love Hong Kong milk tea and were excited to see these branches open up. Their ‘silk stocking’ milk tea is a classic, with just the right sweetness. They also serve Ovaltine, an English tradition that we think only survives in Hong Kong. We have to mention the jidanzai, Hong Kong street waffles, which are made to order and crisped with a heat gun before being served. A cool cup of milk tea is twelve yuan, but you can order tea and a waffle as a set for 15RMB, one of our new favourite breakfasts on the go.

 

 

R&B珍奶会所

Various locations in Chengdu, including

Tongzilin:桐梓林中路8号 028-85921602

Xinnan Rd: 新南路42号 028-85544610

 

Milk tea made with genuine milk for less than 10RMB makes R&B an outstanding value in town: just be sure to order off of their fresh milk menu for any dairy based drinks. We love the ‘Frog Crash Milk’ and the Three Brothers. For those who can’t make up their minds, there is the creatively named Shenme Dou You where they will put everything into your drink. We also love that the amount of sugar syrup can be adjusted. The temperature, the additions and the customer service is always efficient and pleasant.

 

Juicy Juicy

汁汁有味

 

郭家桥北街5号附28号 028-85245478

This is hands down our favourite spot for bao bing, the summer treat that is based on a pile of shaved ice topped with various goodies like red and green beans, fruit chunks, jelly, tapioca pearls and jam. There are several places in town to enjoy bao bing – high school and university neighbourhoods are always good bets – but this little shop at the south gate of Sichuan University is one of the better and more consistent locations. One bao bing with six toppings is ten yuan, and there are tables inside to relax.

 

Mi’s Xian Cao

仙草宓

Several Chengdu locations, including

Chicony Square 春熙路南段8号群光广场B2楼

Raffles City 人民南路四段3号来福士广场B2层

 

Mi’s started out in a little shop just off of Chunxi Road but has been turning up in more and more locations around town. The main event is the refreshingly bitter cooling herbal jelly known as xian cao, but there are also house made drinks made with fresh fruit and good ingredients. Mi’s has added snacks and desserts to the menu, but our favourite thing to get is the xian cao and the xian cao milk tea.

 

Gong Cha 贡茶

 

Various locations in Chengdu, including

Jianshe Rd Longfor: 建设北路三段6号龙湖三千集购物中心B1楼 028-83523692

Fortune Centre: 大业路6号财富中心广场2楼2008室 028-86701611

 

Gong Cha is a very popular Singapore based chain that uses condensed milk and fruit juice in one size only drinks that are blended up and served with generous portions of herb jelly, beans or tapioca. Drinks can be customized, and the beans and tapioca pearls are always fresh and chewy.

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