Asia is known for a lot of its quirks but one that never fails to be intriguing is the phenomena of unique flavors. With a café culture that is on the rise all around the continent; the weird, strange and delicious are coming together to change the way the world looks at café menus. After living in various places around Asia for about three years, I've witnessed some pretty crazy flavors gracing the menus in cafes. After having my fair share of strange flavors and constantly being met with disbelief from family and friends, I decided to officially share what's happening on this side of the globe. If you are feeling a little adventurous and find yourself traveling around Asia, make sure to stop into these cafes to taste these crazy creations.
Chocolate Brownie Matcha Frappuccino
Matcha (or green tea) is a flavor that is found all over Asia but especially in Japan. Visitors can pretty much find any kind of sweet in Matcha flavor and it's all for good reason. Rich, creamy and slightly bitter, the taste has become a comfort food of the Japanese and a surprising favorite of foreigners who sample it. Now, the Starbucks in Japan are putting a new twist on Matcha by adding brownie chunks right into the drink. Matcha wasn't always my favorite but by trying a drink with a bit of my favorite comfort food, (brownies) I've learned to absolutely love it.
Vietnamese Egg Coffee
Vietnamese drip coffee is an experience that most visitors to the country get familiar with quite quickly. However, the egg coffee version easily flies under the radar, making it a delicacy that many miss out on. The coffee is made when condensed milk and egg yolks are whipped together until they form a thick cream. Then, black coffee is poured over the top until it sinks to the bottom. The taste has been referred to as a coffee flavored custard and this delicious specialty can be found in cafes around Hanoi. I stumbled upon this coffee creation when I ordered it by mistake in Hanoi but I instantly fell in love. It quickly became part of my weekly routine during the month that I was living in Hanoi.
While this one may not be unique in the flavor department, it certainly sets itself apart in concept. Let's Café, a chain of coffee shops in Taiwan, has invested in a machine that prints out edible photos right into the foam of lattes. Guests of the establishment can take a selfie with their smart phones and simply download it to the café machine to receive a latte with their face on it. OK, so I'm not much of a selfie girl but this was a unique experience that I just couldn't pass up. The pictures that I took of my latte were totally worth it when I got to surprise my friends with a picture of a picture of my face in foam!
Hojicha Frappuccino With Earl Grey Jelly
Another trend around Asia is jelly drinks and when we think about trendy, the first country that comes to mind is Japan. Making a jelly out of Earl Grey Tea, baristas also add Hojicha, a type of green tea into the mix. The drink can be tried at Starbucks, the internationally known café that is famous for having some pretty interesting drinks up their sleeves. As much as I want to recommend this strange concoction, jelly just isn't my thing. If you want to try something new and unusual, go for it. But, if jelly creeps you out like it does to me, stay far far away.
Coffee in a Toilet Bowl
Weird themes around traditional flavors continue to trend around Asia. In Seoul, South Korea, The Poop Café puts a cute twist on a not so cute subject-poop. The entire restaurant is themed around poop, using toilets and urinals for decorations and churning out food that is poop shaped too. While their coffee selection is pretty standard, the toilet bowls that it's served in is quite unique. Also, if you order a latte, expect to get some poop shaped latte art too. How could I say no to a poop themed café? The coffee was pretty good and there weren't any flavor risks-just a fun way to get my caffeine fix and make my friends back home a little jealous.
The café scene around Asia is thriving so make sure to check out the quirky atmospheres while sipping on a cup of something truly unique.