Taiwan’s Xing Fu Tang is now in Singapore – here’s which drinks you must try, and our verdict on their stir-fried pearls

Ah yes, stir-fried pearls. The secret to delicious bubble tea.
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Bubble tea lovers, rejoice: yet another famous brand serving the beloved drink is opening shop in Singapore.

Read also: A new bubble tea brand is taking shots at established names like Tiger Sugar and The Alley in its logo – literally

This time, it’s Taiwanese chain Xing Fu Tang (meaning Realm of Happiness), which is known for its unique stir-fried brown sugar pearls.

The new store, located in Century Square mall in Tampines, will officially open on Friday (June 28).

Business Insider visited the store on Wednesday (June 26) to taste test the drinks. Here’s how it went:

Xing Fu Tang, a Taiwanese bubble tea chain, is opening its first Singapore store in Tampines’ Century Square mall on June 28.

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The brand is known for its unique stir-fried brown sugar pearls, which are hand-made and cooked in front of customers.

The recipe was inspired by owner Edison Chen’s (not the former actor) grandmother, who was making a brown sugar dessert one day when she burnt the mixture slightly, giving it a smoky taste.

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The brand is relatively new, having only been founded in January last year. Nevertheless, it’s already opened 90 stores across Malaysia, China, Canada, and the Philippines.

Chen told Business Insider that the brand aims to become “the Starbucks of bubble tea” by the end of this year – meaning its drinks across all stores have a standardised, high-quality taste.
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The Singapore store boasts a unique open-kitchen layout that lets customers watch while the staff make drinks.

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This is so that they can see what ingredients go into their drinks, a rep said.

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Chen added that unlike other brands, which make their drinks in a back room with additives and flavouring, Xing Fu Tang wanted to show off its fresh and high quality ingredients.

These include milk from Meiji and tea leaves imported from Taiwan – resulting in higher-than-average prices.
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The brand’s signature pearls are made from scratch in front of customers, starting with stir-frying natural raw brown sugar in a wok.

Chen said other brands offering brown sugar drinks often use syrup with preservatives instead of pure brown sugar.
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The pearls themselves are made from hand-rolled dough, steamed, then stir-fried until goopy.

Chen says this sets the brand apart from competitors that use pre-packaged pearls.
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The stir-fried pearls are ladled into the brand’s signature drink: Brown Sugar Boba Milk (S$5.30), which is topped off with another dusting of caramelised brown sugar.

Thanks to a labour-intensive process, you’ll have to wait significantly longer for your drink to be ready.
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I expected the stir-fried pearls to be gimmicky, but was pleasantly surprised by the noticeably smoky and deeper flavour. This is definitely a must-order.

The pearls were small and irregular in shape, which I liked. They also tasted chewy, like mochi.
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Another must-order drink is the Mango Smoothie with Rabbit Panna Cotta (S$6.90).

While the price tag was steep, one small sip of the smoothie converted me instantly. The drink tasted like someone blended top-quality fresh mangoes with mango shaved ice.

The mango taste exploded in my mouth, much like they way they picture it in advertisements.
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However, while Instagrammable, the taste of the rabbit-shaped panna cotta (milk pudding) was forgettable, and the pink pearls weren’t as good as the stir-fried ones.

However, the drink is worth it just for the mango smoothie alone.
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Those who like ice cream should definitely try the Fresh Milk with Brown Sugar Boba (S$4.50). It tasted just like brown sugar bubble milk, except in solid form.

In a genius move, the milk in the signature drink is replaced with ice cream. Honestly, the two taste basically the same.
Xing Fu Tang

The brand has other drinks, like Strawberry Boba Milk (S$5.90)and Grapefruit Green Tea (S$5.90), but these paled in comparison to the smoothie and brown sugar milk.

The strawberry boba milk tasted like strawberry jam with ice, while the grapefruit tea might be too bitter for some.
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If you’re keen to taste the brand’s drinks as soon as possible, be prepared: they may cap the number of drinks each person can buy during crowded periods, so everyone in the queue gets a chance to buy something.

Rachel Chia/Business Insider

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