Location: 3621 Highway 7, Markham
They serve brown sugar boba milk at Bubble Lee; like I mentioned in my review of Tiger Sugar, this stuff is basically bubble tea without the tea. It’s delicious.
The secret are those delightfully chewy tapioca balls and the tasty brown-sugar-infused sauce that they serve them with. I don’t even need the drink; just serve those things in a bowl with a spoon. Serve them on top of ice cream (actually, that’s an amazing idea. Restaurateurs: feel free to steal that).
I think I liked the version at Tiger Sugar a little bit better — they serve it with a “cream mousse” that makes it indulgently rich — but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with what they’re serving at Bubble Lee. On the plus side, it’s not as heavy, so it feels more like a regular drink and less like something you have to take a nap to recover from.
Location: 25 The West Mall, Etobicoke (inside Sherway Gardens)
I’m just gonna say it: milkshakes are for jerks.
Well, okay, maybe that’s not true. Milkshakes are perfectly delicious, but generally speaking, if I’m going to eat ice cream, I want to eat ice cream. I don’t need to drink it.
Still, I don’t mind a milkshake every now and then, and since I’ve tried all the cones at Sweet Jesus, I figured sure, why not?
I got the Peanut Butter, Pretzel & Chocolate Hazelnut shake, which features “vanilla soft serve, peanut butter sauce, caramel sauce, whipped cream, hazelnut-chocolate sauce, salted pretzel crumble.”
Yeah, it’s a lot of stuff. And it’s quite tasty — it tastes pretty much exactly what you think it’s going to taste like based on that description.
I find a lot of milkshakes to be unpleasantly thick; if I have to struggle to suck it up through a straw, then what’s the point? Just let me just eat it with a spoon. This, on the other hand, was easily drinkable. It was the perfect consistency, though I suspect milkshake aficionados might find it too thin.
Location: 348 Yonge Street, Toronto
What if you had bubble tea, but without the tea? That’s not a question I would have thought to ask, but it turns out that the answer is seriously delicious.
Tiger Sugar serves a drink called brown sugar boba milk, and yeah — it’s basically bubble tea without the tea. It’s sweet, creamy, and amazing. I actually tried Tiger Sugar on a recent trip to Taiwan, and I found it so delicious that I thought “I should bring this to Canada! I’ll be rich!”
I have zero desire to run a bubble tea shop, but I was so confident that this would be a hit in Toronto that I actually reached out to the company to see if franchising was a possibility (alas, I was too late).
And, so far at least, I was right. Tiger Sugar opened a location downtown about a month ago, and on a recent visit (during the afternoon in the middle of the week, no less), the place was absolutely packed.
Their flagship drink is brown sugar boba milk with cream mousse, which is just as rich as it sounds. The brown sugar gives it a nice depth of flavour that helps it not feel too sweet, despite the fact that it’s incredibly sweet. The combo of the milk and the cream mousse is rich and satisfying. And the tapioca balls are chewy, sweet, and tasty.
It’s definitely not something to order if you just want to quench your thirst — it’s a full-blown dessert, and it’s surprisingly heavy — but it’s so good.
Location: 4750 Yonge Street, North York (in the Emerald Park food court)
I recently blogged about the tasty Chinese crepes at the Emerald Park food court. Also at that food court? Nanashake, which serves vegan, banana-based soft serve and shakes.
I almost got the soft serve (because I have a very hard time saying no to soft serve of any kind), but then I remembered that “shake” is right there in the name of the restaurant, so I got one of those instead.
They have a few different flavours — strawberry, pistachio, date, etc. — but the guy behind the counter said chocolate was the most popular, so that’s what I went with.
It was quite refreshing. It tasted more like a smoothie than a milkshake (it is vegan and made predominantly with bananas, after all), but whatever it is, it’s good. The banana/chocolate flavour was satisfying, and its level of sweetness was much more subtle than a typical milkshake. It probably won’t satisfy an all-out dessert craving, but it’s a refreshing and tasty beverage that I’d happily drink again.
Plus, it is (presumably) healthy; something that’s good for you and actually tastes really good is always nice.