Xing Fu Tang, a Taiwanese boba shop that has been dubbed the Hermes of bubble tea, opened their doors to the public this weekend.
Located in Dun Huang Plaza at 9889 Bellaire Blvd Suite C-314, just a few stores down from Korea-based tea franchise Gong Cha, Xing Fu Tang currently has more than 70 locations worldwide, with shops in South Africa, France, and Asian countries like Japan and Malaysia.
In the United States, Xing Fu Tang landed in New York and California first, with two locations in each state. The Houston location will be the first in Texas, with plans to expand to Austin and possibly San Antonio in the next year.
Franchise owners Long Le, Trang Dinh, and Hoa Le, whose extended family also owns Tea Talk and One Hot Pot & Grill, fell in love with Xing Fu Tang during their annual travels to Taiwan.
“We didn’t know that we would open one,” says Hoa Le, who says that it was his brother Long’s idea to bring the concept to Houston. “We saw that they make their boba fresh, and we just liked it,” he recalls.
Most places purchase the tapioca pearls, or boba, ready-made, but at Xing Fu Tang, “Everything we have is made fresh,” says Dinh. “We have an open kitchen, so you can see the boba being made right in front of you from beginning to end. Our teas are also freshly brewed after the customer places the order.”
Customers can see the entire process unfold before their eyes: First, the dough is kneaded into a big slab. It is then dough run through a machine (similar to a pasta machine) that turns the dough into little pearls. The pearls are boiled in hot water, then cooked and caramelized on a large golden wok-like pan.
There are bells and whistles that set Xing Fu Tang apart from other boba tea places. The shop’s most popular drink, the Brown Sugar Boba Milk, is made with organic milk, topped with creamy milk foam, then sprinkled with brown sugar and torched in a manner similar to creme brulee to get a crunchy caramelized top.
The shop’s most expensive drink, and one that earned it the Hermes moniker, is the Gold Foil Boba Milk. Topped with an entire sheet of edible gold foil, and served in a cup with a diamond-shaped lid, the drink rings in at a whopping $13.86 each.
Other popular drinks include the Boba Soft Serve, which is topped with a soft-serve swirl, as well as the Dalgona Boba Coffee Milk, topped with hand-whipped dalgona coffee. Rounding out the menu is a selection of freshly brewed teas, such as the jasmine green tea with honeycomb, and the Damascus rose tea.
Xing Fu Tang’s is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Follow them on Instagram at @xingfutang_houston.