Refreshing Vietnamese chè, all of the bubble tea drinks, ice cream, and more

By Jacklyn Tran
June 10, 2016

With school out and summer solstice just around the corner, now’s just the time to scavenge the city for sweet hangouts, delicious treats and late night hot spots. Here’s a rundown of some of the new, the old, and the soon-to-be-seen dessert and tea havens we can’t wait to cool off in this summer!

NEWBIES

Bambu Desserts and Drinks may be new to the ID, having opened just this past March in the old Crazy Pho Cajun space at 516 Seventh Avenue S, but the sisters who started the Seattle Bambu craze opened their first test location in the Great Wall Mall in Kent two years ago. From mounds of fluffy shaved ice with flavors ranging from matcha green tea and cheesecake topped with fresh sliced strawberries to “the Tux”, a chocolate lovers dream. Then there’s a modern and drinkable take on the Vietnamese dessert, chè, where crushed ice mingles with coconut milk and several combinations of tropical fruit such as longan, lychee, jackfruit along with different types of tapioca or grass jelly, taro or mung beans. It’s a late night hot spot: Open until midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Fruit Bliss Cafe, at 414 8th Avenue S, was inspired by the dessert cafes of Hong Kong. From glutinous rice balls to milk custards, fresh fruit to shaved ice bowls, here you can expect silky textures, mild sweetness, and delicious flavors in every bowl. For durian lovers, multiple items on the menu include the pungent fruit, such as the durian pancake where fruit and whipped cream are wrapped in thin, crepe-like dough. The must-have of the menu, however, is the coconut pudding: refreshing and juicy, each bite out of the fresh coconut that it’s served from delivers coconut jelly as well as the meat of the coconut. It’s also late night hot spot: Open until 1am on Friday and Saturday.

Refresh Frozen Dessert and Espresso of Capitol Hill, 1620 Broadway Ste 100D, has been open for less than a year and has been marching to the beat of their own drum the whole way. In addition to their self-serve frozen yogurts, custards, gelato, Italian ice and sorbets, their toppings include cubes of Hood Famous ube cheesecake. Bring your cup of self-serve up to the barista and turn it into an affogato with two shots of their Philippine specialty Kalsada espresso poured on top. Come for the treats and marvel at the monthly featured artwork of local artists. Otherwise stalk their special events, such as their pop-ups for Hood Famous Bakeshop, artists and makers markets, book release parties, or their live DJ sessions that often include self-produced beats of PNW DJs.

TRIED AND TRUE

Across the street from Uwajimaya in Chinatown-Interntional District, Oasis Tea Zone’s bustling vibe is a constant from the time they open until late into the night. Here you’ll find every type of flavor tea, milk tea, juice, milk juice, smoothie, slush or snow that you could ever want (not to mention all the jellies, tapiocas and puddings); it’s the perfect place for an after dinner stop, post shopping layover or simply to quench a thirst. Snacks such as popcorn chicken, fried tofu, or fish and chips are generally under $7, such as popcorn chicken, fried tofu, or fish and chips. Check out their open late hours: Open until 2am on Friday and Saturday at this location. For a taste of Oasis outside the ID, their second home sits in the University District and for a more modern and sleek experience, a third location opened May 26 on Capitol Hill.

Across the way, at 609 S Weller Street, Young Tea stands out as being a bubble tea place that is based on actual brewed tea. At this Taiwanese-style tea shop, quality ingredients are key. Actual loose leaf tea is used as a base for drinks, fresh milk is used (soy milk is available also), custom syrups are housemade and customers get to order each to their liking. Strong, robust and natural tea flavorings can be adjusted by the amount of ice and sweetness ordered according to your taste.

COMING SOON

Pink’s Ice Cream and Macadons (macarons by Donna), are slated to open their first storefront in West Seattle this summer giving all the popular ice cream shops a run for their money and combining two sweet obsessions: delicate meringue-based cookies with flavors ranging from Thai tea to taro, along with fresh fruit premium ice creams such as green tea, black sesame and more. Most addicting of all may be their macaron ice cream sandwiches, where you get the best of both worlds. We can’t wait! To get a preview of what’s to come, visit their website to find their products now in a store near you!