If you’re a lover of bubble tea by Gong Cha, you’ll be happy to know that they now have a location in Richmond. Gong Cha Richmond opened late last month and is located at 6068 No. 3 Road on the ground level of the Paloma 1 condo building. It is conveniently about a block away from the Richmond Brighouse Skytrain station. This is the second Gong Cha shop that has opened in Metro Vancouver with the first one being on Robson. Originally from Taiwan, Gong Cha has over 1,200 stores worldwide including Japan, Korea, Australia and the US. I had a positive experience from visiting their Robson location earlier in September, so I was eager to visit their newest shop in Richmond.
GONG CHA MENU
You could say that Gong Cha is a “higher-end” bubble tea house because they offer more creative drinks and charge higher prices than a “budget” chain like Bubble World. The Gong Cha menu is organized by series: Signature, Brewed Tea, Milk Tea, Creative Mix, Coffee, Fresh Milk, and Ice Smoothies. Drinks come in regular or large ranging from $4 – $6. Their Signature Series features drinks with milk foam which adds a more complex flavour to the drink due to a slight salty but sweet milk taste. Salt in small quantities enhances the sweet flavour. Milk foam is also considered to be a healthier alternative to whipped cream.
There are 9 topping choices at Gong Cha. They are $0.50 each and include milk foam, pearl, white pearl, coconut jelly, red bean, basil seeds, pudding, grass jelly, and ai-yu jelly. You can also customize sweetness and ice levels.
And if you have trouble deciding what to order, you can always go with the Top 10 Gong Cha Drinks which are presented on the menu.
Sleek & Modern
Gong Cha Richmond’s interior is rather sleek and modern in design. There are quite a few large dining tables which is great for small groups. I also saw some people with their laptops there so it looks like a reasonable place to study or work.
What I Tried
I ordered three drinks to share with the family:
- Milk Foam Black Forest, regular size ($5.90)
- Earl Grey Milk Tea with 3J, regular size ($5.40)
- Hot Royal Milk Tea with pearl, regular size ($4.80)
All of the three drinks are in the list of Top 10 Gong Cha drinks. The Milk Foam Black Forest was the most expensive of all the drinks costing nearly $6. Unfortunately, it was also my least favourite. The staff had warned me that it was more like a dessert drink. I thought overall the drink was just really dense; it had milk foam, grassy jelly and pearls. The drink lacked an ease of flow from having a milk tea. I would not order this drink again.
Moving on, the Royal Milk Tea with Pearl and Earl Grey Milk Tea with 3J were solid choices and ones I had enjoyed before. I went with a hot version for Royal Milk Tea and it was very comforting on a cold winter day. The Earl Grey Milk Tea with 3J had a very good Earl Grey flavour and the tri-mix of toppings (pudding, grass jelly and pearl) was tasty. The tapioca pearls were also particularly good: smooth and slightly soft on the outside, but chewy through to the middle with a slightly increasing level of firmness.
OVERALL IMPRESSION of Gong Cha Richmond
While I would avoid ordering the Milk Foam Black Forest, the other drinks at Gong Cha Richmond were quite good in terms of tea flavour, topping texture, sweetness and ice levels. I would return again in the future. Rating: 4/5