Interestingly, after having been addicted with bubble tea drinks since the 90's in the Philippines. My addiction carried over when I moved to Los Angeles which I then regarded as my little piece of Heaven for bubble teas and shaved ice (Lollicup, anyone?). Of course, I haven't been to Taiwan and I can only assume it's the mecca. Or shall I say, the mother of all pearls.
Within my first few days living in Vancouver, I had to crave for these drinks. Not knowing my way around at that time a good friend of mine suggested Tri-Ty Cafe. It was a bright, cute and busy place. Since we were heading to another friend's place for lunch, I brushed it aside then and just took one to go.
Almost two years later and considering myself more a local than a stranger, I'm back.
130 - 810 Ackroyd Road, Richmond, BC V6X 3K2
Hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs & Sun - 11:30-23:30; Fri & Sat - 11:30-00:30
Food: (Drinks and Desserts: 8/10, Main: 6/10)
Pros: Nice interior for a cafe; generous serving
Cons: Cash Only; More expensive than comparable Hong Kong-style cafe in exchange for a better ambiance
Overall Rating: 8/10
Notes: Cash only; Minimum charge of $3.95 per person.
Located in one of the many strip malls that you will find in Richmond, BC. This one is off No. 3 Road and within the Golden Village commercial district.
The name of the cafe comes from their mission - quality, quantity and tasty. Hence, Tri-Ty.
First order of business - Shaved Ice!
It's mid-March, but who wouldn't crave for Taiwanese shaved ice? For $6.50, you get to choose five toppings on a bowl of shaved ice. Their menu selection includes - pearl (boba, bubbles), sweet bean, grass jelly, red bean, Taro rice ball, Coconut jelly, condensed milk, pudding, lemon jelly, sticky rice ball, green bean, peanut, Taro, chocolate, Strawberry sauce, Blueberry sauce, and Passion fruit sauce. $0.50 more for extra ingredients above five.
My initial thoughts. (1) There's quite a lot to choose from and narrow down to five items. (2) How can condensed milk be included as part of the choices? In LA I was used to ordering shaved ice with condensed milk as part of the package regardless of chosen toppings. (3) It seemed quite pricey than the hole-in-wall bubble tea places that also serves shaved ice.
When the order arrived, as you can see the toppings are quite generous. The bowl is big and wide enough to accommodate a good amount of servings fit for two.
Every ingredient has the right amount of sweetness. The pearls were perfectly chewy. They do use canned ingredients like the taro and red bean. They were a little bit mushy, but there was no discerning after-taste when going this route. The condensed milk was generously topped the last and fell on all parts that the bowl encompassed.
The best part was the palm sugar which they generously topped on the shaved ice prior to putting the toppings. You could see the ice was tinted brown and it was a delight that brought me back to thinking about Malaysian cendol drinks.
Now back up a bit to the main entree. I ordered the "House Special Beef Noodle with Soup". You have three choices - original, tomato, or spicy. I chose the "original" as a starter. The broth had a good amount of sweetness to it which I enjoyed, but may turn other people off. If this is the case, I suggest ordering the spicy variety to re-direct your tastebuds.
The beef portions had a small amount of fat which I always welcome in these types of dishes as it gives more flavour in the soup stock. It could have been more tender, but honestly for a cafe I was surprised it was even this tender. The noodles were perfectly thick and chewy. And what would a soup dish be without bok choy (Chinese cabbage).
You can see the generous amounts of beef and bok choy in the soup. The noodles were burried underneath.
Oh, and by the way this dish comes with a side dish of pickled veggies and pudding to cap it off into one well-rounded dish.
Initial impressions, I think they lived up to their name in honouring the three "tys" for the price, of course.
I wouldn't hesitate recommending this place for some desserts and drinks when in the area.
I wouldn't call it foodietastic, but it's definitely getting there.