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Taiwanese bubble tea creates waves in Paris

2012/06/11 17:42:13

Paris, June 11 (CNA) Bubble tea, a phenomenon that originated in Taiwan, has made a successful foray into Paris, with long queues often to be seen at shops operated by young Taiwanese people in downtown districts of the world's culinary capital.

Zenzoo is the first fusion restaurant to serve the signature street drink of Taiwan, also known as pearl milk tea, in Paris. With tea, syrup and tapioca balls as key ingredients, the drink is known for its wide range of flavors and the distinct texture of the chewy tapioca balls.

The store in Paris's second arrondissement, which also serves Taiwanese-style dishes, has been open for several years and is often crowded during lunchtime hours.

Zenzoo recently added a takeout shop on the same street, serving bubble tea in an even more diverse combination of flavors, including soybean milk, red pearl mint, lychee, coffee and chocolate. The store has become an instant success, with customers lining up for a taste of Taiwan's most representative and popular drink.

Riding on the new fad for the authentic Taiwanese beverage, another Taiwanese-operated restaurant, 37m2, has also opened a new store in downtown Paris that serves innovative bubble tea flavors, plus authentic Taiwanese cuisine, including braised pork rice and salty crispy chicken.

Chen Chieh-yuan, the restaurant's operator, said Taiwanese cuisine has finally made its name in France, following in the footsteps of Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai culinary styles.

Chen, who has operated food and beverage businesses in Paris for many years, said French people tend to be conservative toward new things.

"You need to highlight the relationship between culture and a specific dish or beverage to attract French consumers," he said.

Many French clients appear to have become addicted to bubble tea since tasting the beverage for the first time, he said, describing this development as interesting.

Chen said his team has developed many novel flavors such as those featuring palmleaf raspberry and Belgian cinnamon to tease French people's taste buds.

"Through bubble tea, French people have come to better understand Taiwan," he said.

The popularity of bubble tea has spread through Taiwanese immigrants since its invention in Taiwan in the 1980s. Bubble tea shops have sprung up in scores of countries and areas around the world, including Hong Kong, China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States.

Even Mcdonald's announced recently that bubble tea will be added to the menu of its 800 McCafes in Germany from this week.

German McDonald's bubble tea features black tea, green tea and milk tea, with the addition of a choice of seven flavors of syrup and six flavors of tapioca balls or jelly cubes. There will be more than 200 different customized combinations of flavors, McDonald's sources said.

(By Lo Yuan-shao and Sofia Wu)