Well Tea on Hazelbridge Way, Richmond


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.

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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!

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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.

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They have very imaginative decor. We also like how they space out the tables which leaves a lot of comfortable room to maneuver around.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Beneath it was even more stuff. So the Spicy AAA Beef Hotpot has also fish balls, fish cakes, tofu, enoki mushrooms, cabbage and imitation crab meat. For just $9, this is really value for money. I enjoyed this a lot.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Nanzaro had the “Squid with Three Spices” which costs $8.75. It came with a big bowl of steamed rice and three sides.

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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.

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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.

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The meal came to $46 before tips. For the amount of food and all, we felt this is a good deal.

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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.

Well Tea 茶井 on Urbanspoon

12 thoughts on “Well Tea on Hazelbridge Way, Richmond

  1. Pingback: Chow Times » ZuuShi Garden on Garden City and Blundell, Richmond
  2. This is my regaular after hour eats (lots of restaurants closes after 10 but Well Tea opens till late). Also my default BBT spot. It’s easier to get a table compare to Pearl Castle. I like their new osmanthus oolong milk tea (light on milk) that is not on your scanned menu.

  3. Everything looks so good! I especially love that kind of ice plate. It is becoming more popular in Hawai’i, but I think people usually know it as “Hong Kong-style shave ice.”

    Does the milk hotpot really have milk? How is it that it doesn’t curdle?

    About chicken and bones, boneless is so much easier to eat. When i was a kid, I especially liked boneless. Now, it depends. Now, I think buffalo wings, for example, have to have bone or they don’t seem right.

  4. Well I think it is because its AGAINST THE FIRE CODE and the Authorities will close your restaurant.I think thats a good reason not to have it,What do you think???

  5. Hi, Suanne & Ben

    I found out this blog is very helpful for people like me who check out the menu before visit it.

    I am just wondering that the “table-top Charcoal BBQs ” are quite popular in Taiwan and Japan. I have been searching this kind of BBQ restaurant for a while. I still don’t know why there is none in Vancouver.
    My guess is , the charcoal can’t be used indoor.
    Have you ever try this type of BBQ before?
    I miss it………

    why no Charcoal BBQ in vancouver?

  6. I’ve actually never tried their food …other than the ice plate.

    Funny story.. okay not funny. But a story related to well tea. My friends and I were in rmd and thinking of a place to go.. and my friend suggested “tea well”. I looked at him and said… isn’t it well tea? And they started laughing at me. “Why would it be called well tea if it’s cha zheng? If it was well tea, it’d be call zheng cha” (it’s canto …fyi). When we got there …. I had to rub it in “HA!!!” Haha. I don’t know why I shared that with you, but I thought it was … funny 🙂 enjoy.

    • I always thought it would make a lot more sense in english if they had chosen the english name “Tea Well”. At least then the right kind of “well” would come to people’s minds? 🙂

      Pretty good food, from what I have tried. I do wish that they had more fresh fruit options available for their slushes and ice plates, though.

      • So what did you have in Well Tea, Shmoo? Anyway, if you remember a long time ago you recommended us New Novelty. Well. we went there last weekend. Interesting place. Ben

      • Hey Ben,

        Only been there (actually, the downtown location) a couple of times.

        Tried the “Chicken heart, gizzard, celery and shredded pork stir fry” (臺式小炒“炒不水”, which, I may add, is translated by google as “Desktop saute speculation is not water”, which gives me new-found sympathy for restaurant owners trying to put together english menus when english is not their first language). Found it very yummy, although there is a generous amount of heart and gizzard, so although the chewiness is endearing at the start of the meal it can become tiring on after a while. The seasoning was mostly garlic and small amounts of bird’s eye chilli, and didn’t overwhelm the ingredients. I am quite convinced there is a lot of MSG involved, however. A combination of the dish being inexplicably yummy followed by my being ravenously thirsty. I would order it again in spite of the MSG, though. 🙂

        Also tried the “Squid, tofu, and shredded pork stir fry” (客家小炒). Like the gizzard dish, this has celery and strips of fatty pork, this time stir fried with the stated squid and tofu. This was also pretty good. Again, the seasoning didn’t overwhelm the ingredients. There was some chilli bean paste, not sure what else. Also probably a good puinch of MSG.

        Had their fried pork chop in fermented tofu sauce a while back. Don’t remember much about it, except that it was a reasonable preparation of a standard dish.

        And finally, I like the flavour and texture of their fried chicken knuckles, but I found their rendition too salty for my taste.

        In hindsight, I suppose the salty-msgness is perhaps intended to encourage food customers to participate in the bubble tea side of the business.

        As for New Novelty, hope your visit worked out okay. They’re sort of a classic hole-in-the-wall north Indian restaurant, but I really love their saag.

      • HI Shmoo:

        So you like parts like gizzards. I like that too. Suanne does not like to cook that but when she does it is always a treat. I just love the chewiness.

        We were all thinking of ordering “saag everything” when we went to New Novelty. When we got there, we … to be continued in the New Novelty post.

        Ben

      • Ha ha ha. Nice teaser.

        Yeah, I do like gizzard, heart, and tongue. They have an interesting texture but still with a fairly mild, meat-like flavour.

        Kidney is very hit or miss for me, depending on preparation (I have only really enjoyed it once, at the former Cambie Sichuan House). I kind of like the texture of intestines, and almost like the flavour, but usually find them a bit too gamey for me. Tripe I find to be neutral-flavoured and mostly textural. Brain and uterus should be somewhere in the good to neutral category, except they seem to bring out the last vestiges of my North American sensitivies (probably due to much less frequent exposure).

        It’s funny… Liver is the one organ that seemed to maintain some minor poularity in North America for a while, and yet liver is the one organ I just can’t seem to adapt to, except in mild-tasting forms like liverwurst or foie gras.

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