There is no shortage of choices in Hong Kong when it comes to bubble tea (aka boba tea or pearl milk tea), with holes in the wall serving up one of Taiwan’s most famous food exports to thirsty folks who lap up the tapioca bubbles and iced, milky drinks all across the city. But until now, plant-based and healthy folk looking for a cruelty-free, more natural version have had few options. Luckily, the city’s newest bubble tea player in town is seeking to fill this gap, with a wellbeing twist to boot.
Situated on the bustling upper stretch of Lyndhurst Terrace in the heart of Central and launched by responsible lifestyle platform Po House, Mother Pearl is the latest addition to Hong Kong’s bubble tea scene: the grab-and-go tea house serves up delicious house-blended vegan-friendly bubble teas with unique flavours, with a mission to promote health and well-being.
Having just spent a couple hours tasting and trialing our way round the menu, we can offer our enthusiastic stamp of approval. But don’t just take our word for it: the food and drink was designed in consultation with renowned plant-based chef Peggy Chan of Grassroots Pantry and Nectar. Can anyone claim a more sustainable pedigree?
And while we’d go back in a jiffy because everything was so delicious, we’d by lying if the sandstone and moody green interiors and oh-so-grammable drink creations weren’t also another motivating factor.
Almost every ingredient used by Mother Pearl is made in-house from scratch, making the concept the first and as far as we know, the only boba tea house in the city to do so, among the plethora of conventional bubble tea shops offering only high-sugar dairy-based drinks.
The first thing you notice when you taste a Mother Pearl drink is how un-sweet it is, from the mylk to the pearls to any other flavours, which we really enjoyed. The drinks are hugely refreshing, with elegant notes of things like rose and black sesame, and only contain low-glycemic sweeteners such as coconut sugar, lakanto monkfruit sugar, and blackstrap molasses.
Mother Pearl’s teas have a base of house-blended non-dairy “mylks” such as oat, hemp and almond and are infused with unique flavours and ingredients that are beneficial to one’s physical and emotional health according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) – an especially relevant consideration for many consumers amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Among some of the Instagram-worthy drinks featured on Mother Pearl’s menu is Lychee Rose, made from strawberries, lychee, rose tea, chia seed jelly, nata de coco, sweetened with natural monk fruit syrup. Of course, there’s also the healthy take on the most well-known bubble tea, called the Po Mylk Tea, made using oat cashew plant-based milk, rose tea, grass jelly, chia jelly and the tapioca pearls made in-house and infused with beneficial acai (this was probably our all-around fave).
As you might expect given the talent behind Mother Pearl, the utmost care was taken on the sourcing side. “No shortcuts were taken with ingredients and menu creation, we tried and tested everything for months and worked with artisanal suppliers and organic ingredient producers,” chef Peggy Chan told Green Queen, who worked closely with Po House on every drink and dish, including creating possibly the world’s first bubble pearls featuring superfood ingredients like moringa powder. “It was a challenge to create a lower-sugar, more wholistic tapioca pearl, and we’re excited for everyone to them.” she adds.
Chan’s influence is also present on the food waste reduction initiatives: the oat and the almond pulps leftover from making oat and almond mylk are used in the maca overnight oats and in the “zero waste” almond pulp cheese & rosemary crackers respectively.
Other takeaway-friendly bites include matcha granola bars made with nutritional powerhouses like goji berries and pumpkin seeds, vegan mozzarella and cream cheese scones made with ancient whole wheat flour and loaded with Vitamin B12 from nutritional yeast, and “zero-waste” crackers whipped up using leftover almond pulp from making in-house plant milks, ground flaxseeds and turmeric.
Those looking for something a little more indulgent can tuck into a chewy double chocolate fudge cookie, triple chocolate chia pudding topped with cacao nibs and coconut flakes. Oh, and did we mention that there’s a spinach and lentil empanada on the menu too? Inside the pillowy pastry is locally made vegan mozzarella, white button mushrooms and heart-healthy lentils- and you better believe we gobbled it up. Another win for Hong Kong’s booming plant-based dining scene.
Mother Pearl: 25 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong. Open MON-SUN from 10AM to 8PM during soft opening. Follow them on Instagram for the latest news, updates and opening hours.
All images courtesy of Mother Pearl.