How does this Eastern delicacy pair with coffee? We find out.

Taiwan’s Starbucks game has been strong in recent times, from their delicious Sesame Almond Tofu Frappuccino to their adorable Year of the Ox mugs. They offer flavors and goods that you can’t find anywhere else in the world, and our Taiwan-based reporter, Yui Imai, can’t get enough of it.

On one of her recent coffee runs, she discovered a menu item she hadn’t seen before – mizu manju. These translucent, sweet mochi buns are traditionally filled with red bean paste as a summer treat in Japan, but at Starbucks Taiwan, they come in two unique and tantalizing flavors, Tapioca Milk & Pudding and Taro & Mung Bean, and Yui was curious about how well these snacks would pair with coffee.

▼ She wasted no time in ordering one of each, priced at 60 Taiwan new dollars (US$2.15) a piece.

The first one she tried was the Tapioca Milk & Pudding treat. Upon first bite, she was immediately struck by how soft the brown sugar mochi shell was. Underneath the initial sweetness, the distinct taste of the milk tea-flavored bean paste spread across her taste buds.

▼ There were also some slightly chewy pudding bits mixed in there, giving the mizu manju a diverse mouthfeel.

The chewy mochi dough has tapioca kneaded into it, and along with the texture of the pudding bits and the sweetness of the brown sugar and milk tea bean paste, it perfectly simulates the experience of drinking tapioca bubble tea.

▼ The bitterness of the coffee cut through the sweetness of the milk tea flavoring, balancing out the flavors in a perfect harmony.

Next, Yui tried out the Taro & Mung Bean Cizu Manju. Taro and mung bean are used in a lot of Taiwanese snacks, and they lend a sweet flavor to dishes.

When Yui took a bite of this one, she noticed the same softness she did with the Tapioca Milk & Pudding one, but this one was interspersed with taro bits that gave it a rich and unique texture. It paired perfectly with the mellow taste of mung bean combined with milk. According to Yui, it’s one of those comfort food flavors you can’t get tired of.

▼ This one was also a great companion for coffee, one that allows the pleasant bitterness of coffee to shine through among the sweetness.

After some research, Yui learned that these mizu manju are a yearly specialty at Taiwan Starbucks. They’re made to celebrate the annual Dragon Boat Festival in Taiwan (June 14 this year), and around this time, it’s customary to eat dishes like mizu manju.

So if you’re in Taiwan during this season, Yui definitely recommends trying these out with some coffee at Taiwan Starbucks! You could even pair it with your Taiwan-exclusive Spring Cherry Blossom Cup Plate Set.

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[ Read in Japanese ]