Seasonal food creations aren’t necessarily special, but when a pastry shop in Shanghai released a bubble tea pastry puff, we had to try it.
Choux pastry specialist Shi Lifang (诗立方) released the hybrid last month, in celebration of mid-June’s Dragon Boat Festival.
Traditionally during the festival, people eat zongzi, a leaf-wrapped rice dumpling that often comes in a triangular package. (More on that in our exhaustive list of zongzi variations across Asia.)
The Chinese zongzi is a meat-filled rice packet, that often comes with marinated pork belly meat and salted egg yolk. Shi Lifang’s however, is a layered choux pastry filled with custard and mango pieces, and dotted with tapioca pearls—what you get in bubble tea.
So the only thing zongzi-like about Shi Lifang’s “Big Bubble Mille-Feuille” is perhaps its triangular shape.
Still, the bubble tea puff attracted many an Instagrammer, and was popular enough that the company told us it’s considering extending the shelf life of the seasonal creation.
Our taste test: the contrast between slippery, chewy tapioca balls and crispy pastry might give you pause, but we found that the bouncy boba went surprisingly well with the mango custard.
And all this for just 18 yuan, or a little under $3.