With the return of Gong Cha in Singapore, fans of the bubble tea chain can finally get a taste of their favourite drinks again.
15-year-old secondary school students Francesca, Ching Don, Caitlin and Gwendolyn were among hundreds who were in the queue when Gong Cha opened their flagship store at SingPost Centre on Friday (1 December).
Speaking to Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore at the opening, they shared their excitement about being able to drink their favourite Taro Milk Tea again.
Caitlin said they woke up at 7am this morning, started queuing outside the store since 9.30am, and the four of them were among the first ten in the queue. They have been fans of the Taiwanese bubble tea chain since it opened in 2010, and says that they “practically grew up drinking it”.
“I have been drinking Gong Cha for such a long time, I usually drink it after my badminton trainings and it’s something that I’m used to already. When LiHO replaced all the Gong Cha outlets, I was really sad. But I think now that it’s back, I’ll visit it more often,” said Ching Don.
For the past six months when the bubble tea chain was absent in Singapore, they tried drinks from homegrown brand LiHO, which took over the previous Gong Cha outlets. However, they felt that the taste was just not the same.
“I felt very happy and excited when I heard that Gong Cha will be re-opening in Singapore. I was craving for their Taro Milk Tea for so long, and even tried LiHO’s version. But they’re really not on the same level. I thought LiHO’s version was really bad, and I got a stomachache from it too,” said Francesca.
“There are some bubble tea brands that taste different in Taiwan and Singapore, but I always felt that the taste of Gong Cha’s drinks in both countries is the same,” said Ching Don.
When asked if the taste of the drinks bought today was the same as before, Gwendolyn said, “Yes, it’s the same. It still tastes very good.”
Each of the students bought about three to four cups (totaling about $15-$20) home to share with their family, with one student saying that she will probably drink more than one cup while doing her holiday homework.
A couple in the queue, 24-year-old part-time worker Norris and 21-year-old student Kalliyan, said that they joined the queue at around 10am because they “had nothing better to do”.
However, both said that they have been fans of Gong Cha’s drinks since about four to five years ago. “To be honest, if you compare Gong Cha and LiHO, Gong Cha just tastes better. But I’m not sure how it’ll be like now, we have to see,” said Norris.
During Gong Cha’s six-month hiatus in Singapore, the couple said that they went to KOI for their bubble tea fix. “When we buy drinks at Gong Cha, we get our favourites Taro Milk Tea and Earl Grey Milk Tea. But when we go to KOI, we prefer to get their macchiato-type drinks instead,” said Kalliyan.
Gong Cha’s re-opening comes after it was replaced by homegrown brand LiHO, a bubble tea chain helmed by local entrepreneur Rodney Tang, who was the former franchise owner of Gong Cha in Singapore.
- Gong Cha to open in Northpoint and Takashimaya on 7 and 11 December
- Singapore bubble tea brand LiHO to open first overseas stores in Hong Kong
- Taiwan’s PlayMade bubble tea comes to Singapore with unique flavoured pearls
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