Choosing pearls to go with bubble tea used to be a black or white affair. However, these chewy tapioca baubles now come in a riotous burst of colours and flavours, from burnt caramel, black sesame to pink cactus, at Playmade by One Zo. The Tampinese kiosk is popular Taiwanese bubble tea chain One Zo’s first outpost here. Playmade is an English translation of one zo, which means ‘playing with balls of dough’ in Mandarin.
Jazz up more than 30 drinks, from tea lattes to fruit juice-cum-teas, with five types of pearls (80 cents for a medium cup; $1.20 for a large cup). Flavours of pearls include black sesame, burnt caramel and pink cactus, and they’re made without additives or colouring.
Screaming for attention are the pink cactus pearls that are made from the flesh of the thorny plant from Penghu, Taiwan. The purple puree smells oddly like mayonnaise, and tastes sour and “bloody”, according to Singaporean franchisee and co-owner Crystal Wee, 31, who cautioned us before we took a sip. The pink cactus is enlisted for its trendy millennial pink hue rather than its flavour as the pearls are drowned in honey-spiked syrup.
Miss Wee and her friend, Amanda Poo, 28, fell in love with One Zo’s teas while on holiday in Taiwan in 2016. The bubble tea aficionados could not get enough of the “chewy but not too cloying” pearls and pumped in more than half a million for their maiden food venture.
There are plans to open four more outlets this year. A second outlet opened in Depot Road recently, with more pearl flavours such as a limited-edition muah chee one.
View photo gallery above for our review of the drinks here.
Two outlets including #01-59 Tampines 1, 10 Tampines Central 1. Tel: 9667-9571. Open daily. 10.30am to 10pm. Closed on Feb 16; open on Feb 17 from 12-10pm. www.facebook.com/playmade,onezo