As recently as five years ago, the only source of boba tea in downtown Charleston was Chopsticks House, which made its beverages from powder and didn’t offer any topping other than pearls.
Now there are a number of purveyors giving proper shrift to the full parade of bases, flavors and toppings, including Tapio, Poke Tea House, Chatime and Ice & Pan. The newest among them is Ha Long, which houses the area’s first location of Ding Tea, a global chain with outposts in Taiwan, Indonesia and Brunei, among other countries.
At Ha Long, customers can ask for winter melon milk tea with egg pudding, kumquat tea with rainbow jelly or ginger tea with sea cream, as well as countless other combinations. Still, the most interesting drink on the menu is perhaps ca phe da, which reflects the Vietnamese heritage of Ha Long’s owners.
Like the popular banh mi sandwich, ca phe da also incorporates remnants of the French colonial era in Vietnam. The iced coffee is made by positioning a French drip filter over a cup of condensed milk.
In addition to beverages, Ha Long, 281 Meeting St., serves banh mi and spring rolls.
Ha Long is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday-Saturday and 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday. For more information, visit facebook.com/dingtea.charleston.