Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bubble Buzz Bust (CLOSED)

Bubble Buzz
I'll preface this post by saying that I am a bovine who cannot fathom in this day and age why anyone would want to Westernize any type of ethnic food. Considering that many people these days living in large cities who go out to eat regularly have likely been exposed to different cultures through food and travel, generally rejoice when a truly authentic restaurant opens up. Take Tres Carnales for example, after years of enduring Tex-Mex places such as Taco Time, Taco Bell and Julio's Barrio, Edmontonians now flock to Tres Carnales in hoards, keeping it at the number one talked about place in Edmonton on UrbanSpoon for quite some time now.

Bubble Buzz version of Vietnamese Iced Coffee
So having heard many positive things about Bubble Buzz through various blogs and UrbanSpoon, we decided to give it a try, particularly after seeing their menu online and seeing they had one of my all time favorite beverages - Vietnamese Iced Coffee. The other draw for me was the Eggies, a traditional Hong Kong snack food that, to my knowledge, is rarely found in Edmonton except during Chinese New Year celebrations. What I will say is do not go in expecting authentic Vietnamese Iced Coffee or Eggies, or you will be sorely disappointed.

Although we didn't actually try any of their bubble teas or bubble milks, we were terribly surprised by their version of Vietnamese Iced Coffee. Traditionally, this beverage is made by putting strong coffee grinds into a small metal French drip filter. Then hot water is poured over the grinds, allowing the coffee to steep and slowly brew one drop at a time into a glass cup containing sweetened condensed milk. Once all the coffee is finally brewed, the coffee and milk are stirred together with a spoon then poured over ice. This results in a very strong and sweet milky coffee that is quite unlike anything you can get from any western coffee shop.

From the menu, we knew that there would be a twist of some sort, considering the Bubble Buzz version indicated it included Sago. What we didn't expect was a Frappuccino (ie. a coffee beverage blended with ice) like concoction to be presented to us. Since no where on the menu did it mention that all their beverages were blended, but perhaps should have mentioned applied not only to their bubble teas and milks. Nor were we expecting it to be humongous, likely around the 16 to 20 ounces we guessed.

The beverage turned out to be far too sweet for our tastes, completely muting any coffee flavor that might exist. As I kept drinking, the flavor changed, and not for the better. An unpleasant, almost paint thinner like taste quickly developed the closer I got to the sago. Could it be this unique mixture of sago and Vietnamese Iced Coffee that created this unpleasant taste? There is no way to know for sure.

The eggies were also unsatisfying. Traditionally found in Hong Kong as a snack food, my memories of this items include purchasing it on Hong Kong city streets from a street vendor. Individual little eggs served in a paper bag with a crispy exterior with a light and slightly sweet interior. The version at Bubble Buzz turned out to be completely different. Served as a single sheet of eggs, similar to a waffle, the eggs turned out to be very dense. The shell lacked crispness, the batter had little flavor, and wound up leaving a strange after taste in my mouth.

Overall, not the experience we had hoped for and we're unlikely to return to try their bubble teas and milks.

Bubble Buzz
10140 - 104 Street
Edmonton, AB T5J 1A7
Twitter: @bubblebuzzEdm


Bubble Buzz... on Urbanspoon


  1. Came here after your comment in Eat Your City. Sorry guys but I had to chuckle at your preface on this post (specially considering you were bashing the guys at Eat Your City!). In fact, pretty much you are contradicting yourself. Next time ask people around you, specially regular Joes: how often they travel out? If they do, how far they have travelled? With that said, how can you judge a restaurant being "authentic"? In fact, you might want to define "authentic" to begin with! To the example of Tres Carnales, I will have to ask the following questions:

    1) Have you been to Mexico? If so, what region?
    2) If you haven't been to Mexico, how do you know what Tres Carnales serve is "authentic"? Sorry, "because they so" does not cut it.
    3) Likewise, and probably overstating the obvious, do you know that Mexican cuisine is not standard at all across their different states? I have been myself in Mexico City (not some beach resort over there) and, even if what Tres Carnales serves is "authentic", they bare little resemblance to what I had there. Heck, I had a lot of ther dishes, from tortas to arrachera to mole to a corner restaurant serving rotisserie chicken. Tacos is just a small (but overused) representation of Mexican food.
    4) Are you aware there are Mexican restaurants in Edmonton, right? For example, Acajutla, the former Don Antonio's (which is supposed to reopen under the name Sabor a Mexico in Fall), or even Argyll Supermarket which serves tortas.

    Once you gain Prime level in Urbanspoon, you will be able to access a Prime-only forum and one of the things we have discussed is how Talk of the Town is calculated. I won't quote the exact formula; however, what I can tell you that it involves age of listing and blog posts. Among the things that was raised in the discussion of the formula is (a) hype, i.e., when new restaurant opens, everybody flocks to said place and write about it and (b) a bit of hive mentality. What does this mean in the Tres Carnales context? Well, I will have to give them credit, as they have done excellent marketing. As a result, a lot of people have been going there (and, for food bloggers, write about it). But, let me ask you: have you been to Langano? Haven't heard of them? That's an Ethiopian restaurant that recently (re)open after a fire. Why nobody talks about it? Probably because they haven't bothered marketing themselves? Or how about Tutti Fruti, a frozen yogurt place in Whyte Ave (near 104 Street). Likewise, not my "noise" compared to Tres Carnales. Because of this, it is somewhat ""easy" to manipulate the Talk of the Town rankings.

    Finally, ask yourself this question: who is the restaurant catering? When I was blogging, I bashed a lot of restaurants because I have an extremely particular likes/dislikes. But, even then, people loves some of those places I disliked. Is there a right or wrong in this case? No, there isn't. The key here is that the restaurant is there to make business. If they sell a product that people will buy, it does not necessarily matter if it is "authentic" or meets an artificial criteria. What really matters is that people are seated, enjoying what is served and having a good time.

  2. You have a right to your own opinion, I am not arguing that. What I think is "authentic" will differ from what you consider "authentic". However, I do not infer what others think of a restaurant, I can only speak for what my opinion is of a restaurant and from my experience, what I consider "authentic".


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