Tip for all of you travelers deciding where to eat: Always visit the places that aren’t in your hometown.
A while ago, my friend and I decided to go to Chinatown Center located in Austin to catch up and for nostalgia. Back when I was in college, my friends and I would make the trek for some food and treats to take back with us to campus.
First stop was some bahn mis and spring rolls from Baguette House and Cafe.
If you’ve never heard of a bahn mi, it’s a Vietnamese answer to an American sub. On crispy french bread, you can get a variety of meat (I got the House Combination with pate) along with cilantro, pickled carrots and daikon, mayonnaise, soy sauce, and jalapenos. Thankfully, they put the jalapenos to the side and I could enjoy the sandwich without the terrible tasting peppers.
My friend ordered us some spring rolls with barbecue pork and it was pretty good. I definitely want to try and make my own one day!
After lunch, it was time to walk around and what better place than a market? While in MT Market, we picked up some interesting new treats, including a new flavor of Kit-Kats, tea flavored candies and Assam Milk Tea.
I’ve had milk tea before, but not this particular brand. The taste was definitely the same, sweet and a taste similar to tapioca balls. It wasn’t too sweet and it had the right amount of creaminess to it. I had mine chilled, but the can says you can drink it warm or cold (just don’t microwave the tea in the can).
The new flavor for Kit Kats is sweet potato flavor. While it’s supposed to be toasted, I opted out from enduring with another melty candy like the baked cheesecake flavor and ate it plain. It was very sweet and reminded me of the ube flavor Kit-Kat I had a while back.
Lastly, the tea candies. They had several different flavors, but ultimately I picked green tea latte. It was as if I was drinking a cup right here and now. The green tea was very strong with a nice creamy texture. I definitely would recommend putting this candy in your jar.
Last stop on the Austin trip was for some dessert at Snow Monster (and before you wonder, it wasn’t too cold outside).
I’m pretty sure I was thinking shaved ice in my head, not realizing that the store specialized in shaved milk or snow ice as they call it. According to the website, it’s a popular traditional treat in Taiwan that involves shaving from frozen milk (though you can get soy or water a.k.a Pure Ice) and adding in syrup and any toppings you want.
As you can see by the left picture, I didn’t exactly pick the most aesthetically pleasing bowl. Still, the matcha flavor was nice and not too harsh and I love the mochi and the tapioca balls on top. My friend’s bowl (on the right) was a bit more colorful choosing a green apple syrup, strawberries, mochi, and pecans. We each tried the other and the verdict was positive for both.
My recommendation? Get a small if you don’t plan on splitting. We both got a small and it was definitely enough for one person!
I had a great time exploring more of the Chinatown in Austin and I definitely have plans to come back again.