The Bubble Tea Conundrum


When I moved across the Atlantic Ocean, do you know what I craved the most?  It wasn’t bagels and lox and it wasn’t kreplach.  It was bubble tea.  From my first sip, I developed a love affair with the Taiwanese beverage.  Toronto just so happens to be an incredible city to satisfy a bubble tea fix.

Bubble Tea Lamb411


Drive north of Sheppard Avenue, on Yonge Street and you’ll find one bubble tea house after another.  If “905” is more your style, drive east along Hwy 7 between Bayview Avenue and McCowan Road (try Go For Tea for an authentic experience) and you’ll be covered.   Downtowners, don’t have to look past the Spadina and Dundas/OCAD area. But what happens if you leave the confines of Toronto and venture off into the world?


I was having a bubble tea conundrum when I discovered bubble tea was not a universal drink, particularly in EU countries.  To double check, I spoke with a few business school classmates who were posted around the world.  It’s confirmed: Bubble tea is not universal.


So what did I do to satiate my craving?  I researched and travelled.  Wherever I was due to travel to a new European city, I purposely sought out a bubble tea cafe.  Hot or cold, green or black tea, with or without milk, and filled with all the dark brown, chewy tapioca balls I could suck through the oversized straw.  I was determined to sample them all.  However, I draw the line at those popping boba; the ones that burst upon mastication and splash sweet syrupy juice onto your tongue.  I guess you could call me a bubble tea purist.


What I discovered was fascinating:  Bubble tea was in fact, alive, kicking and even thriving in certain cities.  Leave it to the UK, Germany and Austria to lead the pack.  London’s Bubbleology, a bubble tea café themed after a science experiment, has five locations in the city, while Baburu Bubble Tea in Vienna has six shops and Berlin’s Boobuk also has six outposts in the creative city that never sleeps.


Stick with Western Europe and you will find bubble tea emerging in Barcelona, where Wow!Boba is not too far from La Rambla, and in Paris’ 5th arrondissement where you can sip le bubble tea at Bubble Fever.  Even Copenhagen has the Mad Hatter Bubble Tea Emporium in Norrebro.  I didn’t stop there.  In eastern Europe, you have Bubbletea 7 in Warsaw, tongue twister, Bubu Bubble Tea in Budapest and my personal favourite, Tea & Go in Prague, which opened in Karlin (Prague 8), by three Chinese Studies students from Charles University who share a passion for Chinese and bubble tea.


While the availability of bubble tea in European cities may not reach the same scope as in Toronto, there are plenty of good options at home and abroad and I look forward to continuing my taste test through the continent.  By the way, if you are new to bubble tea, may I recommend trying a litchi green tea bubble tea, cold with tapioca.  It is the perfect summer drink.



(Goodbye) Prague Bucket List

What do you do if you only have a couple days left in a city?  Better yet, what do you do with your last eight hours in a city?  If you could only visit or eat one thing, where would you go?  Last week my husband and I packed up our cosy flat in Prague and moved to Copenhagen.

For an entire week, I debated what would I do on my last day in Prague. Would I hike up Petrin hill for one last glance at the castle?  Would I walk across Charles Bridge and wave goodbye to the statues? Would I venture to Staromeske Namesti (Old Town Square) to watch the Astronomical clock?  The answer is No.  I was done with the touristy side of the city.

My bucket list revolves around food (plus a Thai massage session at Som’s Thai).  Who are we kidding?


My Prague Bucket List:

1. Breakfast at Cafe Savoy– Vítězná 5, Praha 5 (Mala Strana) Cafe Savoy is a restaurant owned by the Ambiante group, which owns several other fine establishments in the city.  Housed in a restored Art Nouveau building, this restaurant is known around town for putting out a spectacular breakfast that is served on silver platters.  During my year and a half in Prague, I had yet to test out this rumoured “spectacular” breakfast, so I woke up early, before heading to work, and treated myself (and my husband) to breakfast at Cafe Savoy. I ordered the Continental breakfast that 2. Jasmine Tea at Mama Coffee .  Vodičkova 674/6, Prague 1 Tea and coffee comes served in Mama Coffee’s own adorable little porcelain tea pots, and cups (available for sale).  You don’t have to ask me twice to order their vegetarian mixed plate for lunch. It comes with hummus, a few salads, a second unidentifiable yet tasty dip and bread.  (Vegan options are also available). 3. A duck sandwich at Cafe Lounge Plaská 615/8, Prague 5 Mala Strana Nothing says satisfying lunch like an open faced duck sandwich on sourdough bread with stewed apples and onions.  Mmm mmm. Cafe Lounge has a great vibe, with its art deco interiors.  It’s non-smoking, serves filter coffee and offers options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Plus, lots of books and magazines to flip through if you are dining solo or waiting for your friends to arrive. 4. Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion sandwich at Muj Salek Kavy Křižíkova 105, Praha 8 (Karlin) Sadly, I don’t have a picture of this sandwich but I will do my best to describe its awesomeness.  Firstly the goat cheese is tangy and slightly warmed. It is wedged between two pieces of sunflower seed bread and topped with sweet caramelized onions and some lettuce.  It has crunch, it has creaminess, it has tang and sweet all rolled into one mouthful.  I will miss you sandwich.  You are up there on my all time top five sandwiches.  🙂 5. Pho Men from Bily Jerab Štefánikova 51, Praha 5 Mala Strana  Bily Jerab is a refreshing change if your palate is craving Japanese.  The tea house’s small, all vegetarian menu is a terrific complement to its extensive tea list.  This soup is by far, my favourite.   6. A Pilsner Urquel + a plate of meat from Kolkovna Vítězná 7, Praha 1, 110 00 This was not my meal, but my husband was obsessing over having his last Czech meal.  I did not even accompany him on this outing as the restaurant’s non-smoking section has as much smoke as the smoking section.  He enjoyed his plate-o-meat and beer solo.  Oh, Czech food.  My husband will miss you. 🙂

I am sure there are a few more places I could add to the list such as Red Hot Chili (Vietnamese in Karlin), Veltlin (wine bar), Kaaba Cafe’s cheese plate or salads but that is it for now.  Onward and upward to exploring my new city that I will learn to call home, Copenhagen.


The Find @ Designsupermarket

I checked out Designsupermarket which kick off in Prague earlier today.   It’s on all weekend until Sunday, so if you are in town, it might be worth it to stop by if this is your type of thing.

There was lots of unique and interesting lighting hanging around….

I really liked these lovely little owl pillows from Kuskus Decor.  They are for kids and come in all sorts of bright colours and patterns.  I bought a blue one with big white polka dots to take to Paris this weekend and give as a baby present.

I also saw a big display of  hanging planters.  I’ve seen a similar hanging plant design numerous times while travelling around various cities in Europe.  Are these the new rage in planters? They look kind of cool.

Of course, there was a quick stop by the cake table.  Real cake, not designer cake.

My favourite, the ceramic room that had about six or seven Czech ceramic designers showing off their wares.  I bought a little porcelain yogurt cup that says jablako which is “apple” in Czech. It can be used as a drinking cup or a planter if you put a hole through the glaze at the bottom.

Have you visited any craft or design markets lately?


Design Supermarket Prague

One of my favourite holiday season pass times is visiting craft fairs/markets.  In Toronto, I used to frequent the One-of-a-Kind Show (which just closed on December 2nd) with my family. I think it was an unofficial ritual.   If you are into acquiring unique pieces for the home, supporting small, independent designers, and putting up with crowds, these shows are great.

Last year I attended Design Supermarket, Prague’s annual holiday design/craft show which brings together an interesting mix of Czech, Slovak, German, Polish and Hungarian designers under one roof.   It was at Design Supermarket where I discovered the talented Czech illustrator, Antimultivitamin, whose work I purchased and framed (currently sitting on my floor waiting to be bubble wrapped and moved).

Since I have a slight obsession with glassware and porcelain, I look forward to checking out the work of:


Hidden Factory





fotka lahve final


Lilia porcelain

 Photo Sources: 1, 2-6



Bedynky Box: One

I am conducting an experiment for the next couple weeks.  I decided to try something new when it comes to grocery shopping and switch it up a bit.   Instead of going to a store to grocery shop, which seems to be our routine, I am testing out ordering bedynky boxes (farmer’s boxes/green boxes) from different companies around Prague and cooking with what arrives.  My husband and I have been talking about this for a while now but never put our plan into action.  The farmer’s markets are winding down the end of this month, but we are still interested in purchased local food.  The other fun thing about shopping this way, is that you don’t always know in advance what you are going to receive so in a way, you are forced to learn how to cook with different vegetables that might be outside of your weekly routine.

I picked up my first box today from Bio Zahrada.  In it I received the following: One leek, one radishy-turnip looking vegetable, a bunch of onions, some potatoes, some very muddy carrots, a pumpkin, and four pears.  I also tried ordering organic chicken breasts, lamb shoulder and this interesting honey, almond spread (the item in the jar).

I forgot how much dirt comes on vegetables when they are fresh from the farm.  My counter and sink were covered, as I attempted to clean the vegetables.  

Tonight I cooked three recipes from 101 Cookbooks and used up  the leek, three potatoes, and an onion from my veggie box. I am not sure I could taste any difference but I felt good about supporting the local farmers and eating food that did not travel miles to get to my table.

Prior to writing this blog post, I put an order in for a new box to arrive next week, this time from an online bedynky box company called Fresh Bedynky that delivers to your house.  I was curious  to see how the two boxes differ, if at all, before becoming a repeat customer with Bio Zahrada.

Have you tried ordering a farmer’s box, or CSA (North American term)?  What was your experience like?  Leave me a comment below or on Facebook.


Antimultivitamin for Red Pif

Design worlds are colliding!  One of my favourite artists/illustrators in Prague, Antimultivitamin, whose work I saw at last year’s at Design Supermarket, designed the logo for a wine bar I love in the city called Red Pif.  If you haven’t been, Red Pif is the wine bar in Prague 1 that has massive window shutters that look like wine bottles (you can see in the illustration below what I am referring to).  The restaurant and bar has a beautiful interior and an impressive looking wall-of-wine.


Photo Source: Antimultivitamin

This year, Design Supermarket returns to Prague December 5th-9th.  I can’t wait to see what new, local designers I discover this time round.


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