Monday, April 03, 2006

Zen Zoo

I have had a hankering for bubble tea for the past few months. One of my staples back in the US, I have searched all over Paris and was excited to finally find Zen Zoo, a tea salon in the 2nd whose menu is centered around Bubble Tea.

Bubble Tea, or Milk Tea with zhenzhou pearls, or Boba Tea, is a sweet mix of milk and tea, sometimes flavored, with chewy tapioca pearls that settle at the bottom. It's one of my favorite drinks but it's not for everyone: one summer I brought my little cousin to the Boba Tea shop back home and treated her to a coconut flavored bubble tea. At the first strawful, she spit out the pearls and exclaimed "eewwww slimy! disgusting!" - the texture just didn't appeal to her. It doesn't bother me, though; while the tea is refreshing in its own right the pearls are so fun! At Zen Zoo you can have it served hot or cold (I prefer it cold, with ice), and you can choose from a variety of flavors such as banana, coconut, taro, etc. When I get it flavored I like mango or something called "blue hawaii" that reminds me of cotton candy, but plain 'ol milk tea is just as good, so that's what I ordered.

The milk tea comes in two sizes, 4.50€ for the smaller one, which is a bit more expensive than back home ($3), but I'm not going to complain about the only place that has it! They also have a funny subscription type card, for 6 or 12 drinks, that lowers the prices a bit. This will be a wise investment in the summer. I went there in the afternoon, so I only glanced at the pastry menu, but they serve lunch and dinner, too - you can check out the menus on their website. From the website I had expected a sleek, trendy place like Demmers or Teaism, but actually the main floor is a small, almost sparse, tea room with tiny chairs and tables. As if to compensate for this, the majority of tables are window tables that allow participation in that great Parisian sport - people watching.

If I had been smart I would've ordered it to go (yep, they do that) and gone to the beautiful square just behind the restaurant:Oh well, there's always next time...
Zen Zoo
13 Rue Chabanais
75002 Paris
01 42 96 27 28

p.s. Afterwards I stopped by the Gallopin to check out their "normal" menu - I had gone on Valentine's Day - and it looked great, so I updated my original post.
p.p.s. For those interested in Zen Zoo's dining selections, check out Esther's post (in French).
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