Dubai Diaries: Where's my milk tea?


Dubai - We are craving more 'dessert you can drink'


Kirstin Bernabe

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Published: Wed 14 Jul 2021, 10:01 AM

Will you get Mad today?’ I asked my husband a few days ago. And when he said no, I demanded, ‘Why not?!’

‘Mad’ has taken on a whole new meaning for us as we find ourselves stuck in a craving rut. Our kind of ‘Mad’ actually stands for ‘Modern Asian Desserts’, a milk tea place at Gate Avenue in DIFC, which we recently discovered when we went with dad during his vinyl record-digging trip at the same mall.

And our Mad favourite? Milk tea with brown sugar pearls and macchiato — it’s essentially dessert that you can drink. It takes the boba-barista only a few minutes to scoop, shake and build our cup of freshly brewed tea with milk, lots of ice, and some chewy tapioca pearls, topped with a secret macchiato cream and torched brown sugar.

We’re now in our fourth week of Mad craving, but it may be winding down soon with the recent arrival of Macao Imperial Tea, one of Manila’s milk tea superstars.

If you happen to have passed by Rigga last week, you may have noticed the insanely long line of Filipinos waiting for their Macao turn on the street, summer heat be damned.

While we weren’t able to brave the queue that day, we eventually got a taste of the craze. Imagine your ice-cold bubble milk tea swirled with a cream version of cheesecake. Cheese. Cake.

Though we are maxxing out our Mad and Macao phase, we’ve always been Happy Lemon fans. The shop’s brown sugar milk tea and its salted cheese series are our all-time comfort drinks.

We’ve come to love their cheese tarts and brownies, too. We Filipinos are crazy milk tea lovers, perhaps because most of us grew up with a sweet tooth in a tropical country where the seasons are either hot or hotter. We’re in need of a refreshing drink almost on a daily basis and the boba trend hits the spot.

My husband and I love our cuppa so much that during the stay-home period last year, we scoured the Internet for a recipe so we can make our own.

I’m not talking about just boiling some tapioca pearls, mixing black tea with milk and adding a scoop of ice cubes.

We tried recreating the frothy cream cheese on top of the drink, too. We did well, to be fair, but our kitchen also ended up looking like a war zone.

The thing is, while the shops were open for delivery at that time, no one could travel the distance. Happy Lemon was willing to go from Burjuman to IMPZ but only if we spend a minimum of Dh150 or so.

So, to whoever is thinking of starting a business, I’d like to propose a proper milk tea shop for us in south Dubai.

With the growing number of Filipinos in this part of the city, boba could be a promising investment. (Disclaimer: I know nothing about business, I just know my milk tea.)

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