Philly has become obsessed with bubble tea over the last few years, as a glut of shops have popped up throughout Washington Avenue and Chinatown, offering varying degrees of quality. Late last year, Tea Shake Fusion opened in a bubble tea desert at 1101 Snyder Avenue, and was promptly shut down by L&I after applying for a variance to add hot foods to their menu. Owner Tina Tran got the paperwork solved, and quietly re-opened a few months back. Fans of bubble tea should applaud her perseverance, as she's turning out the best boba in the entire city.
"We only buy Grade 'A' boba pearls, and make them fresh every day, which most places don't do. We never save them," Tran told Eater in an interview. "And we soak the pearls in Logan honey, as opposed to just simple syrup, which adds smoky flavor and smoothness."
Tran respects freshness and quality ingredients like any talented chef, and the proof is in the drink. As with any artisanal product, though, there's a higher price tag associated with higher quality. "We import our products directly from Taiwan, so shipping gets pretty ridiculous, and that ends up making the price a little higher," added Tran. "But, it's worth it."
Tea Shake Fusion also offers smoothies and shakes (the avocado is refreshingly mellow and mildly sweet), and their signature frozen treat, snow, in a ridiculous amount of different flavors. "Snow is like frozen yogurt, but smoother, and is low in fat and calories. It's popular in Taiwan, and no one else in Philly is offering this right now."
Tran added two very popular Taiwanese street foods to the menu, popcorn chicken and fried calamari. While calamari can be found around town in different forms, Tran said that her Taiwanese popcorn chicken is the only one of its kind in Philly. "We use a special blend of spices and a sweet chili sauce, and fried basil," said Tran.
Tea Shake Fusion is open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
· Tea Shake Fusion [Official]