When do we lose the childlike joy of cutting sandwiches into fun shapes, pretending our snacks are ants on a log, or eating foods exclusively in our favorite colors? Caloric concerns may discourage us from asking for extra whipped cream or making our pancakes with chocolate chip faces. Social pressures may shame some grownups out of ordering off the kids’ menu, or just from ordering what they really want. What a shame.
Remember the excitement of spotting a candy store at the mall and leaving with a hand clutched around a bag of snacks in flavors and textures that were made to entertain?
When was the last time you ate only mac-and-cheese as a meal or bought yourself a package of Pop Rocks just to giggle at the sensation of eating them?
For many of us, unfortunately, the fun of food often gets lost along the winding road to adulthood.
Not so at Feng Cha. From the cozy, bright, bubble-inspired decor—including a neon sign that encourages diners “You are beauTEAful”—to the easy pop music playing in the background, Feng Cha makes tea and desserts that are fun.
Feng Cha specializes in bubble tea and milk foam cakes in the brightest colors and most entertaining textures possible.
Traditionally made with tapioca pearls, bubble tea features squishy-sweet and bite-sized balls called boba. Now often made from starches and brown sugar, these make boba teas instantly recognizable. Larger than usual straws are necessary to slurp up the boba, along with the diner’s choice of tea or drink flavor. Unique to Feng Cha, drinks are fully and easily customizable when it comes to sweetness level, ice level, toppings, and milk or milk alternatives.
Cheese foam features prominently on Feng Cha’s menu. For the uninitiated diner, the words “cheese” and “foam” may be surprising to see together. Cheese foam is a common topping on boba, often made with cream cheese, heavy cream, milk, sugar and salt. The resulting bubble lattice topping is airier than whipped cream, and packs a heartier flavor, giving an umami saltiness to sweet drinks, and a creamy, lava-cake-like interactive element to desserts. Diners can also choose other foam toppings, like matcha, taro or sea salt to add depths of flavor and texture to their tea or milk foam tea.
If diners are looking for something that still feels special and fun—but a little less adventurous than the tastes and textures of cheese foam or boba—Feng Cha’s classic drinks more than satisfy. The ability to adjust the sweetness level of the Thai Milk Tea (I ordered half-sweet) made the aromatic spices and richness of the black tea base pleasantly stand out on my palate.
The (again, half-sweet) iced Coconut Latte Feng Cha offers is also a treat. Nicely balanced with a deep coffee richness—and just the right amount of coconut flavoring—made this drink perfectly cool and refreshing. Coconut flavor can be easily and irrevocably overdone in beverages and snow cones. It can leave you with a specific kind of sickly-sweet thirst and, well, a memory of a certain brand of sunscreen. For that reason, when the stakes are high, this diner is always careful with coconut flavoring. However, I found Feng Cha’s to be delightfully delicate and summery without being overbearing.
Feng Cha’s Purple Reign is a textural standout from the Breeze portion of its menu. The yogurt base makes the beverage more smoothie than liquid and more meal than drink. Like all items at Feng Cha, the Purple Reign is pretty—swaths of white yogurt and delicate purple swirl around the transparent cup—which adds to the fun and pleasure of drinking it.
The Bursting Dragon Fruit drink is both bright and refreshing to drink and look at. It is powerfully pink, loaded with real dragon fruit bits and hints of citrus, which would make Barbie do a double-take. The flavor and texture of fresh fruit was welcome after consuming a copious amount of boba in both beverages and desserts.
Feng Cha’s desserts are must-try experiences. Springy but dense milk cakes are topped with different varieties of foam and boba to convey many flavors. The Sea Salt Pearl is a milk cake base, topped with sea salt foam and boba. The cake texture and only slightly sweet flavor anchors the Pearl, which is a mix of angel food and pound cakes, blending seamlessly with the delicate sea salt foam and squishy boba. That combination of textures is unique, which is part of what makes Feng Cha’s menu so much fun. Feng Cha provides the perfect opportunity to experiment with textures and flavors, delighting your senses and inserting a bit of fun in any day.
Feng Cha is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and offers convenient online ordering, drive-thru, dine-in and delivery.
5611 Gem Lake Road, Suite 500