Ask any local what drink to try in Taiwan, and chances are the answer will be bubble milk tea. Although bubble milk tea is undoubtedly the most famous Taiwanese drink, Taiwan actually has a whole host of lip-smackingly delicious beverages on offer! Here are 12 of the best Taiwan drinks to try during your Taiwan travel itinerary!
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Best Taiwan Drinks: 12 Taiwanese Drinks You’ve Got to Try
Bubble Milk Tea
Let’s kick off this list of best drinks in Taiwan with the most obvious choice – bubble milk tea.
Taiwan is undisputedly the king of all things bubble milk tea! The local speciality drink has become so famous that you can even buy it all over the world!
Taiwan bubble tea goes by several names (boba, pearl, bubble, QQ), but no matter what you call it, they all have the same basic ingredients: tea, milk, and tapioca balls served with ice and sugar syrup to your liking. Black tea is the most common tea used to create this delightful drink, but there are tons of variations – from oolong tea to green tea to passion fruit tea and even coffee boba!
You can find bubble milk tea practically anywhere; tea shops, cafes, Taiwan’s best night markets – you name it!
Brown Sugar Milk Tea
If you like bubble tea, then boy, oh boy, are you in for a treat!
Brown Sugar Bubble Milk Tea is a spin-off on bubble tea, with the only difference being brown sugar. This devilish sweet drink consists of brown sugar caramel, milk tea, and tapioca balls soaked in brown sugar. One sip, and you’ll be hooked!
It’s worth noting that some places only serve it with fresh milk. Either way, both are absolutely delish! Just a heads up, though, this drink is super sweet and contains about 620 calories, so if you’re trying to shed some kilos, this might not be the drink for you!
Another must-try drink in Taiwan is papaya milk. It’s the island’s most famous fruit “milkshake”, and you’d be doing yourself an injustice if you didn’t try it!
Papaya milk basically consists of two ingredients perfectly ripe papaya and milk. If you get it freshly made, it’s often blended with ice. Sugar is not usually added to this drink, as the papayas in Taiwan are perfectly sweet already!
You’ll easily find freshly made papaya milk at most smoothie shops and night markets. But if the cravings kick in, you can also grab pre-packaged papaya milk at any local convenience store! For the very best papaya milk in Taiwan, though, head to 鄭老牌木瓜牛奶 at Liuhe Night Market in Kaohsiung!
Tropical Passion Fruit Boba Tea
If you’re looking for a yummy Taiwanese drink to cool you off on a hot summer’s day – this is it!
Passion fruit boba tea consists of passion fruit green tea, passion fruit pulp, tapioca balls, and coconut jelly. While you can find passion fruit green tea at almost every single tea shop and night market in Taiwan, the easiest place to find this version is Coco Tea Shop – a famous franchise with stores all over the country!
Pudding Milk Tea
There are so many things you can add to milk tea in Taiwan, and flanby (or creme caramel) is just one of them!
Pudding milk tea only has two ingredients – a tub of flanby plopped into creamy milk tea! It’s so simple, yet delicious! Not all tea shops will have this insanely custardy drink, so best to head to one of the bigger chain stores where you’ll surely find it on the menu!
Ice Cream Milk Tea
If you don’t like flanby, then ice cream milk tea should be high on your must-try Taiwan drinks list!
Another dream combo, this drink consists of two scoops of vanilla ice cream combined with rich, creamy milk tea. If you want extra creaminess, order it with real milk for the perfect tea latte!
You might need to hunt for this one, but the easiest place to find it is at 50 Lan.
Salted Cream Cheese Tea
Cheese and tea are probably two ingredients you never use in the same sentence, let alone combine them in a drink! But this bizarre concoction is actually incredibly good!
You can use one of several teas as the base, but black tea and green tea are among the most popular. Top it off with creamy whipped cream cheese, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a drink! It’s definitely a weird combination, but the savory-sweetness of the cream cheese and the crispness of the tea go together surprisingly well!
Cream cheese tea is not something you’ll find everywhere in Taiwan, so you’ll need to shop around. But for something really special, try the black sugar cream cheese black tea in Danshui or the mango green tea with cream cheese in Xiaoliuqiu!
Alishan Oolong Tea
Taiwan is famous for its teas, and if you’re looking for the crème de la crème of Taiwanese teas, then you’ve got to try Alishan high mountain oolong tea.
Oolong tea is unlike any other tea you’ve ever tasted and has quite a unique taste that might take some getting used to. The leaves are semi-oxidized and can be steeped several times, each producing a different taste.
You’ll find oolong tea practically everywhere (even in convenience stores), but if you’re looking for the real deal, head to the mystical highlands of Alishan, where you can join a tea ceremony to learn all about why this tea is so special.
Thanks to Taiwan’s subtropical climate, the island is home to an array of fruit varieties. And what better way to celebrate all the delicious fruits of Taiwan than to use them in drinks.
Slushies are a big deal in Taiwan, especially during the hot summer months. In its most basic form, fresh fruit is blended with crushed ice – a perfect ice-cold summery drink! The most popular options are mango, kiwi, strawberry, and melon. And you’ll even find some variations with added ingredients like coconut jelly or fruit-flavored tapioca balls!
Yakult originates from Japan, but you can find the original and several locally produced brands in Taiwan. It is a probiotic dairy drink made from fermented skim milk with a particular strain of bacteria called, Lactobacillus casei. It has a somewhat strange but sweet citrusy flavor, and is touted as having a range of health benefits – from preventing digestive disorders to building a stronger immune system.
The drink comes in several flavors – original, milk, apple, and strawberry – to name just a few. And you can get your fav flavor at any convenience store or supermarket islandwide.
Convenience Store Latte
If you need to start your day with a good ol’ cuppa, then you’re probably ready to hit the nearest Starbucks. But in Taiwan, you can get a deliciously creamy latte at a fraction of the price you’ll pay at Starbucks at any convenience store.
Both 7-11 and Family Mart make a decent latte which only costs NT$55. Generally, Taiwanese don’t drink sugar in their coffee, so if you need sugar, you’ll need to ask for it!
Watermelon juice is one of the most famous beverages in Taiwan, and for a good reason. While it’s ingredients are pretty simple (watermelon & ice), its the fruit’s high water content that make it such a great refreshing drink. In fact, come summer and you’ll be hard-pressed not to find a night market selling it!
Watermelon juice is definitely one of the healthiest drinks on this list because it’s packed with vitamins and antioxidants.
*** Full disclosure, I’ve never actually had watermelon juice because I’m allergic to watermelons. But all my friends swear by this amazingly refreshing drink! So, I’ve referenced it here in any case.
Tips for ordering drinks in Taiwan
Taiwan has oodles of tea shops. In fact, turn a corner, and you’re likely to find several! However, not all drink stores are equal, so you might need to shop around until you find one you really like. With that said, though, you can’t go wrong with TP Tea, 50 Lan, Kebuke, Coco, Milk House, SugarCane Mama or Sharetea.
Key Phrases & Vocabulary
Another thing you should know is that not all tea shops will have an English menu. To help you out, I’ve compiled all the key phrases you need to order your favorite drinks in Taiwan below.
Basic sentence structure: I want to order a + drink
I want to order a… – Wǒ yào yībēi…
Milk tea – nǎichá (奶茶)
Green tea – lǜchá (綠茶)
Black tea – hóngchá (紅茶)
Bubble milk tea – zhēnzhū nǎichá (珍珠奶茶)
Brown sugar milk tea – hēitáng nǎichá (黑糖奶茶)
Brown sugar milk – hēitáng niúnǎi (黑糖牛奶)
Passion Fruit green tea – bǎixiāng lǜchá (百香綠茶)
Tropical Passion Fruit Boba – bǎixiāng shuāngxiǎng pào (百香雙響砲)
Ice cream milk tea – bīngqílín nǎichá (冰淇淋奶茶)
Pudding milk tea – bùdīng nǎichá (布丁奶茶)
Cream cheese black tea – nǎi gài hóngchá (奶蓋紅茶)
Cream cheese green tea – nǎi gài lǜchá (奶蓋綠茶)
Latte – ná tiě (拿鐵 ) | hot – rè de | cold – bīng de
Papaya milk – mùguā niúnǎi (木瓜牛奶)
Watermelon juice – xīguā zhī (西瓜汁)
If it’s your first time in Taiwan, read my guide on handy Chinese phrases to make your trip all the easier.
At most tea shops, you’ll also need to specify your sugar and ice preferences. Here are the essential phrases to know.
Choose the amount of sugar you’d like to add:
100% – quán táng
80% – shǎo táng
50% – bàn táng
30% – wēi táng
0% – wú táng
Choose the amount of ice you’d like to add:
No ice – qù bīng
A little – shǎo bīng
Normal ice – zhèngcháng bīng
More ice – duō bīng
There you have it – the absolute best drinks in Taiwan! While this list barely scratches the surface of delicious Taiwanese beverages, it’s a good starting point. If you feel I’ve missed a must-try Taiwan drink, let me know in the comments below!
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