Shortly after we visited the Long’s Noodle House to try the Most Innovative Dish awarded by the Chinese Restaurant Award in Metro Vancouver, we set our sight on the next winner.
Well Tea had been on our to-visit list for so long that it sort of dropped off our radar.
Well Tea is located on Hazelbridge Way and Alexandra. It is a Taiwanese Bubble Tea place. Well Tea has two locations with the other one located near UBC in Vancouver.
What we found out about this place was a total surprise to us. In many ways we like the place. Looking from the outside, you can’t see much. I also find that the name Well Tea sort of unexciting because it conjured an image of healthy Chinese tea. To me, good food is not healthy and healthy food is not good!
Like many Bubble Tea houses, Well Tea is also a youngster hangout. The interior is surprisingly very bright even though the windows were tinted and the restaurant is deep. From the outside it seems like it’s a small place but it actually is very big with lots of tables. We like the modern and clean interior which rivals Pearl Castle on Sexsmith.
They have very imaginative decor. We also like how they space out the tables which leaves a lot of comfortable room to maneuver around.
We are impressed with the service and noticed that they were well staffed with quite a lot of wait staff on duty. Come to think of it, many of the Taiwanese style cafes we went to are well staffed, with very young workers.
The instant we were seated, they came by with glasses of water and the menu.
We were given two menus. You might not have guessed that the bigger of the menu is for drinks. Despite the relative smaller size of the food menu, they were quite extensive.
Nanzaro was quite amazed with their wireless service bell. Can you figure out what each of the buttons are for … particularly the one with the picture of a mug? Nanzaro wanted to know how this whole thing worked, like how did all the wait staff gets alerted each time the button was pressed. He was given a mini tour of the system.
From everything we observed, I think Well Tea places quick, prompt service as an important differentiation from their other competitors. We were truly impressed.
For drinks, we ordered the Jaded House Special ($5.25). It is made of passion fruit, mango, orange, pineapple and kiwi fruit. It was fragrant but we felt it had too much flavor in this … too many fruits into this that it’s just a mishmash of flavor without any distinction.
Well Tea is known for their hot pots. I had the Spicy AAA Beef Hotpot. This is just $9. It was very very very spicy. So spicy that you will choke just by taking a deep breath of the soup!
The hot pot is kept hot by a burner which burn for quite a while. It was quite cumbersome having hotpot on their table which had just enough space to fit in a tray. With the hot hotpot, it was hard to move dishes around and has hardly any space left to place the drinks too.
It’s real value for money — with lots of beef slices. The beef slices are served raw but it does cook very quickly in the hotpot.
Beneath it was even more stuff. So the Spicy AAA Beef Hotpot has also fishballs, fish cakes, tofu, enoki mushrooms, cabbage and imitation crab meat. For just $9, this is really value for money. I enjoyed this a lot.
Suanne also ordered a hotpot. She had something quite uncommon … Chicken and Chinese Yam in Milk Hotpot. This hotpot is cheaper at $8.45. Suanne liked the milky soup but for me, my brain could not really make myself to enjoy boiled milk. It was not bad but I think I rather stick to my more traditional spicy hotpot.
Herein is the problem … Suanne, who also loves spicy food, was eyeing MY hotpot and insists that we share half and half. I don’t mind sharing half of mine but I just don’t want her half. Amazingly, she finished her hotpot and had part of mine.
The other thing we want to mention of their hotpot is that it came with a large bowl of steamed rice and the hotpot is large — so it is a lot of food for one person.
The Sha Cha sauce (translated as “sandy tea” sauce) is an important component of hotpots. It is made from fried fish a nd peanuts and often known as BBQ sauce, in Taiwan.
Arkensen had their Fried Rice with Fried Chicken Thigh ($8). They gave quite a lot of chicken in this dish … and big pieces too. So, it looked very satisfying for $8. Arkensen gave this a thumbs up and said that the chicken is particularly crispy. He also said that he likes that the chicken is boneless … Suanne and I think that boned in chicken are better. Do you agree?
Nanzaro had the “Squid with Three Spices” which costs $8.75. It came with a big bowl of steamed rice and three sides.
It was surprisingly had a bit of spiciness in it. It sure did not look like it because we could not see any trace of chili. Nanzaro loves this, especially the sauce. The sauce is light and goes well with rice. It is also so light that you could even drink it which Nanzaro finished every drop of it. Mum picked up on the greens since mum cannot stand to see uneaten food and Nanzaro cannot stand anything that is green in color.
We also ordered the Ice Plate. At only $4.50, it is a very large plate. Good thing senses prevailed and we ordered only one to share. We choose mango jelly pudding and peanut for toppings. We like this — real nice.
The meal came to $46 before tips. For the amount of food and all, we felt this is a good deal.
They proudly display their award from the Chinese Restaurant Awards for the Best Taiwanese Restaurant/Cafe. We agree … this is real close to be the best if not the best Taiwanese cafes we have been to so far.
One more thing … they take cash or debit cards only.
You should check them out … I think you will not be disappointed. Here is their menu: