Chen San Ding – the Best Boba? At Least the Sweetest Boba

3 Jan

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Could the best boba drink in Taiwan be a glass of milk? I’m not ready to crown Chen San Ding the king yet, but a visit opened my eyes.


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Located near National Taiwan University, Chen San Ding is a modest shop at the edge of a small snack alley that has served the future leaders of Taiwan for decades. Their claim to fame is a drink that does not contain any tea at all. In Chinese, it’s literally called “frogs hit milk.” It’s essentially boba in fresh milk.

The place makes sure to note that they use local Taiwanese fresh milk, not the non-dairy creamer many milk teas use. I’m not sure I could really detect that this milk was better than the milk I’m used to drinking in the U.S. (or the memory of milk, since I don’t really drink milk).

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The real big deal here is the boba. It is steeped in brown sugar and cooked until it is really soft. Any more cooking and the boba would fall apart. While it is probably too darn sweet, the brown sugar gives the boba a wonderful caramelized taste. It’s also served warm, which is really great.

The sweet boba is balanced well with the fresh milk. I think it would be good with a good milk tea, but Chen San Ding’s drink is great. The boba is probably the best I’ve ever had. It’s most like the boba at Smiling Face, which is also steeped in sugar and served warm. Chen San Ding wins because the caramelized flavor adds something unique and delicious.

The drink overall is not the best ever because 1) it is too sweet, and 2) fresh milk is not as good as a really good tea. I will make a point to seek out this place on my next trip, but I think I still prefer Chun Sui Tang.

Oh, and I strongly recommend asking them to do it half-sweet. We got one regular and one half-sweet. The regular is almost shockingly sweet. The half-sweet is still too sweet, but still has the essence of the brown sugar boba.

Chen San Ding is located at the Gonguang MRT stop, Exit 4. The address is Alley 8, Lane 316, Section 3, Roosevelt Road, Taipei. The drink is only 30 NT (about one dollar!).

My Kafkaesque Life also has a helpful post about Chen San Ding.

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