There are two things overflowing in Taiwan: scooters on the road and milk tea shops. I’m not kidding when I say there is at least one milk tea shop on every single block! After all, Taiwan is the birthplace of milk tea (奶茶). Righteously, Taiwanese are milk tea snobs. And just like beef noodle soup, everyone has an opinion about which one is the best. Regardless, when in Taiwan, you have to try milk tea. Here are a few of my favorite shops in Kaohsiung.
💡Pro Tips: Milk tea has many different names – bubble tea, boba tea, pearl tea and tapioca tea. They all refer to the same drink. It is often accompanied by chewy tapioca balls, called boba or pearl(珍珠), in the drink.
Shuang Fei Milk Tea (双妃奶茶): This is probably the most famous locally-owned milk tea shop in Kaohsiung. This shop has its own unique system to prepare beverages. Black tea, green tea, and oolong tea are brewed and prepared in barrels. Then, they add the fresh milk (in lieu of creamer) and boba to the customer’s liking. They don’t add ice to keep the flavor consistent. Each tea has four different menus based on the sweetness, you can choose from these menus to adjust your drink’s sugar level.
📍Location: Google Map ⏰ Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. ☎ Tel: 07-521-8300
Milk Shop (迷客夏): With the green grass-theme exterior, Milk Shop has the fresh, healthy vibe. Milk Shop only uses fresh milk in all of their drinks, sourced directly from their own farm. Their specialty drinks, such as Taro Milk (大甲芋頭鮮奶) and Strawberry Milk (出雲抹茶鮮奶), are made with fresh ingredients and delicious! Milk tea here is tasty as well.
📍Location: Multiple locations. One near MRT Yan Cheng Pu station. ⏰ Hours: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. (closes at 10:30 p.m. on Fri. & Sat.) ☎ Tel: 07-521-8860
Lao Jiang Milk Tea (老江紅茶牛奶): Lao Jiang is the place for people who like an “old-school” milk tea. Since 1953, this place has been serving milk tea in Kaohsiung. For some locals, this is a nostalgic place from their youth. What makes this shop even more special is that they are open for 24 hours and serve breakfast all day long; the only exception would be the omelets, which are only available until 12 p.m. My favorite menu here is the Dried Pork Floss Omelet (肉鬆蛋餅), but other omelets and the buttered toast taste great as well. To keep the flavor consistent, this shop insists on their own milk tea recipe with the fixed amount of sugar and no ice.
📍Location: Multiple locations. One near MRT Formosa Station. ⏰ Hours: Open 24 hours. ☎ Tel: 07-287-7317
Kaohsiung Milk King (高雄牛奶大王): Since its establishment in 1966, Kaohsiung Milk King has been a local staple. This shop uses fresh seasonal fruits instead of the frozen kind with flavored syrup. Once the fruit is out of the season, it is off the menu. But not to worry. The selections are wide from papaya to mango to watermelon. If nothing at all, peanut milk is always “in season.”
📍Location: Two locations. The original one near the Central Park. ⏰ Hours: 24 hours ☎ Tel: 07-282-3636
Chun Shui Tang (春水堂): Originally from Taichung, Chun Shui Tang is the most famous milk tea shop brand in Taiwan. This is the birthplace of original boba. Their boba pride is so great that sometimes the staff refuses to serve the drinks without boba. Unlike many other take-out shops, table service is available, as well as snack foods. The store is always crowded with locals and tourists. Although the staff is not the friendliest, it’s worthwhile to visit to experience its famous original Pearl Milk Tea (珍珠奶茶).
📍Location: Multiple Locations. One near MRT Culture Center station. ⏰ Hours: 10:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. ☎ Tel: 07-223-1436
50 Lan (50蘭) is the largest milk tea chain in Taiwan and has 20+ stores in Kaohsiung. You can’t miss this shop. 50 Lan is like Starbucks here. It seems to pop up everywhere and can’t really go wrong. But if you appreciate more unique places, this might be too boring for you. When you ask for milk tea, this shop serves the drink with creamer as default (奶茶–奶精). If you prefer fresh milk, be sure to choose from their Tea Latte menu (拿鐵–鮮奶). You can adjust sugar level from no sugar at all to 30%, 50%, 70% or 100%, and ice level from no ice to regular amount.
📍Location: Multiple locations. ⏰ Hours: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Taiwan has a strong tea culture, and it is deeply integrated into the daily lives. Nevertheless, coffee is also a popular choice of drink. In other cultures, people drink coffee for the caffeine boost in the morning. Interestingly, I noticed that not many coffee shops open in the early morning, especially in Kaohsiung. Maybe it’s a reflection of the laid-back southern lifestyle. But my theory is that Taiwanese go to a coffee shop to meet people during the day, rather than grab one on the go for the caffeine fix. It’s a good idea to check business hours before you head out the door.
💡Pro Tips: Typically, there is a minimum order per person at coffee shops in Taiwan. Some are more strict than others. Even for a group, everyone is expected to order a drink.
My Cofi: Who cares about the boring leaf when you can have your own dog art in 3D on your latte? This tiny shop takes it to the next level with the customizable 3D latte art. The award-winning barista takes time to design your latte with skillful hands. As if this cute art is not enticing enough, the coffee here is excellent! For non-coffee drinkers, 3D latte art is available with other drinks such as Japanese brown rice tea or hot chocolate. You can choose from their two designs for an additional 100 NT, or a customized 3D latte drink for 600 NT total. The store also has a wall of 3D latte art gallery to inspire you!
📍Location: Google Map ⏰ Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closed on Thursdays. ☎ Tel: 07-222-0101
Cuiqi Coffee (奎克咖啡): Cuiqi Coffee Shop has a modern and westernized vibe. Entering through the frameless glass door, the open-floor concept feels airy and clean. One can choose to chat on the comfortable couch, work on the communal table with plenty of power outlets, or chill-relax in the garden area. The coffee selection is excellent. Salad and other cafe foods are available. This cafe attracts many expats and locals.
📍Location: Google Map ⏰ Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. ☎ Tel: 07-557-0977
Miao ToGo: You may have heard about animal-themed cafes in Asia. This one is for cat lovers. The entire cafe is designed with cats in mind. There is a long “skywalk” across the room all the way to the ceiling. Cats here are not shy at all. They freely roam around the house and come to greet customers. They walk across the worn-down couch, on which they probably sharpened their claws. Whenever they feel like to eat, they nibble on the cat food. They don’t seem to mind your company! This cafe is super cute with a pink neon sign and chandelier; coffee is served in a cat mug. Boys, you’ve been warned!
📍Location: Google Map ⏰ Hours: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closed on Thursdays. ☎ Tel: 07-261-2066
Q Garden Cafe: Located in the Kaohsiung’s Museum of Fine Arts area, Q Garden looks like an arboretum from the outside. The vibe continues inside with the elaborated decorated garden theme. The cafe is so unique and eclectic that you either love it or hate it. At the end of the day, you really go here for the ambiance. But girls need at least one of those places on her list. Why not?
📍Location: Google Map ⏰ Hours: ☎ Tel: 07-550-5628
What else would you like to see on this list?
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