SereniTea Milk Tea Bar:
Alternative Drink and Snack Choices
for Alabang Town Center Movie Goers
by Aileen Santos
What’s a milk tea and snack bar called SereniTea doing in the middle of the bustling entertainment center of Alabang Town Center? A pretty good job, actually!
Wedged in between noisy arcade pods and located just a few steps away from the cinemas, SereniTea is like an oasis of green in the middle of all the blinking lights. And if it isn’t the opening weekend of some big ticket film like Transformers or Harry Potter, you might actually even find it, well, serene.
The brainchild of partners Peter Chen and Juliet Herrera, SereniTea is an original local brand that grew out of a foreign concept.
“We saw a lot of milk tea shops in Taiwan when we studied there for Mandarin,” Juliet’s sister Jenny recalls. “Peter’s Taiwanese, and he and Juliet decided to bring that experience here.”
One of the things that their team was clear about was that they didn’t want their business to be a fad. “Tea is a lifestyle,” says Jenny, and with today’s emerging interest in healthier lifestyle choices and trends, this writer has to agree.
(After all, I am personally a rehabilitated former 5-cups-of-coffee-a-day drinker. Now I only have my coffee in the morning, and get my rest-of-the-day caffeine kick from tea.)
Jenny made us try four different kinds of drinks at SereniTea, which we felt was a good representation of the 58 drink choices on their menu.
The Classic Okinawa Milk Tea was one of their best sellers, which Jenny describes as having a “brown sugar flavor.” I took it with pearls (a.k.a. “tapioca” or “sago”) and only “half sugar” (SereniTea gives their clients complete control over how much sugar you want in your tea).
Okinawa Milk Tea had a light, bubbly, and happy mood – what with all the lively pearls dancing around in my light brown drink. I appreciated the fact that the pearls were soft and jelly-like, and not half-frozen (as I’ve experienced before with other milk tea stores). Jenny smiled, proudly saying that they made their tapioca fresh each day, which made all the difference.
All in all, I’d say that the Okinawa Milk Tea (Half Sugar, please!) has that perfect full-bodied black tea flavor that reminds me of coffee and gives me the same energy – but with the ulcer-free happy after-feeling that only comes with tea.
Another bestseller we tried was the Hokkaido Milk Tea. Described by Jenny as having a “Butter Coffee Caramel” flavor, fellow reviewer and foodie Maristelle Castro’s first impression of Hokkaido was “rather serious and moody.” Although at first glance it looked just like any other milk tea drink, Maristelle’s first sip of it was “unexpected!” – like cold café mocha with a hint of vanilla (reminding Maristelle of a Vanilla Apricot scented friend), mixed together with the smoothness of pudding.
“If Hokkaido Milk Tea were a man,” Maristelle said, “He would be smooth and suave like James Bond, but with the casual vibe of Brad Pitt.” Sipping Hokkaido made her feel like lounging all afternoon, in the company of her family and friends.
Another drink Maristelle tried was the Royal Milk Tea, which was “A bit straight to the point and approachable, and very direct with the senses.” She noted a distinctively Earl Grey tea base, with milk and a hint of fragrance, plus a fruity top note that made the whole drink “revitalizing!”
Fellow reviewer Tess Castro, meanwhile, tried the Winter Melon Milk Tea, and her first impression of it was as a “light drink.” Her first sip revealed hints of green tea, with light milk and a hint of sweetness. “If this tea were a woman,” Tess said, “She would be easy-going, relaxed and approachable.” In fact, you could almost see Tess looking relaxed and laid back herself as she sipped her Winter Melon drink.
One of the unique offerings of SereniTea that you couldn’t find in other milk tea bars would be their line of Yakult-based drinks, their bestseller being their Yakult Green Tea. Although this was out of stock during the time of our review – further proof, we think, of how much of a bestseller it is – Jenny let us try another Yakult-based favorite, the Mango Yakult.
Reviewer Eloi Maala found it to be a unique drinking experience, easily recognizing the unmistakable Yakult taste and the fruity mango flavor. Mixed together with freshly made tapioca pearls, it was a drink that made you think of other tropical fruits… and tropical vacations. In fact, Mango Yakult gave her the same “rejuvenated” feeling that a tropical vacation probably would.
To complement our tea drink adventures, another experience Jenny gave us was their very popular “Chicken Chops.” By the time we all had a taste, all four of us reviewers were in unanimous agreement that the name “Chicken Chops” did not do justice to the actual food itself.
Packaged in a mini paper bag just like a popcorn snack, the bite-sized chicken pieces came with crispy basil leaves and mini-barbecue sticks (for easy spearing-and-eating).
Although its presentation was simple and designed for convenience, one whiff of this unique snack already told you of its distinctly Asian origins… one bite of a chicken piece made you momentarily think of the words “Chinese spices!”… and one complementary mouthful of the crispy basil leaves made you lose all thought whatsoever, except for the urge of getting in another bite of this gourmet-in-disguise treat.
(Of course you might think we’re exaggerating. But if you consider the fact that we were still ordering the Chicken Chops for ourselves long after Jenny left us – and even when we knew we were already stuffed – you might want to think again… or try it out yourself!)
While it did at first seem odd to find SereniTea in the middle of the noisy entertainment area of Alabang Town Center, its presence proved actually both lyrical and practical.
In the midst of the fast-paced hub of noise and instant-everything, SereniTea offers “tea that’s freshly brewed as soon as you order it,” complete control over the amount of sugar in your drink, healthy no-MSG snack choices that almost taste “gourmet”… in short, an actual oasis of serenity where you can relax in your healthier lifestyle choice.
SereniTea Milk Tea Bar: Alternative Drink and Snack Choices for Alabang Town Center Movie Goers
Aileen Santos is a Relationship Coach with a online column at FemaleNetwork.com
and part of her work involves checking out “dating places,” which naturally includes
cafes, restaurants, cinemas and their surrounding environments.
Join her upcoming love workshops this August:
– the “Knight In Shining Armor Program” for men
on August 13 (details at https://Knighthood.EventBrite.com)
– and the “Fabulously Feminine 2011” workshop for women on
August 20 (details at https://FabFem2011.EventBrite.com).