Last week, a friend and I visited the Formosa Tea House on Lemarchant Road. Opened by Taiwanese tea merchants in 2011, after 10 years in PEI, Formosa Tea House is one of St. John's best kept secrets. Part cafe, part tea wholesaler, the tea house is a welcome change from big chain places like Starbucks and Treats and also from the expensive cafe's downtown.
The space is small but welcoming. The walls are decorated in Chinese decorations, in a minimalist design. They have tea products prominently displayed, as well as authentic Chinese tea sets you may purchase.
My friend and I sat down and ordered our drinks. I ordered an almond milk tea and my friend ordered a mocha ice coffee. The prices were fantastic. $2.21 for the almond milk tea and $2.65 for the mocha ice coffee. The almond tea was sweet and creamy and reminded me of the Chinese tea shops I used to visit in Toronto, except for the prices are much better at Formosa. The mocha ice coffee was sweet and refreshing, perfect for a summer's afternoon.
Formosa Cafe is unique in that they have all vegetarian options for their traditional Taiwanese snacks. We ordered BBQ buns, veggie sushi, spring rolls, bamboo rice, dumplings, stuffed buns, sticky rice, sweet bean buns and kim chi. At an average price of $2-$2.50 per dish, we couldn't pass up trying many dishes.
The flavours were amazing. If you did not know the snacks were vegetarian, you would swear they had meat in them, especially in the spring rolls and BBQ buns. Even if you were a meat lover and did not like eating vegetables, the textures and flavours of the snacks would make you reconsider, as they have made the snacks so well. It is worth it for everyone to try out this little gem.