It’s gotta be good. Just look at Addie’s expression of anxious anticipation.
After a very reasonably priced dinner at the nearby Hi Genki Japanese Restaurant, we wanted to go somewhere for some dessert. That’s how we ended up at Cafe Tealips. Located at 7139 Arcola Way behind Highgate Village in Burnaby, Tealips is your typical Vancouver area bubble tea joint. Except it totally isn’t.
The menu at Cafe Tealips feels like it’s trying to strike a delicate balance between east and west. In addition to typical western cafe offerings like cappuccinos and “artisan sandwiches,” you’ve got the eastern influence of bubble tea and fancy Belgian waffles.
Call it fusion if you must. It’s somewhat reminiscent of other dessert cafe places around town, like Off the Grid Waffles on Kingsway in East Vancouver and Waffle Gone Wild on Canada Way in Burnaby. You’ll also find a broad selection of loose leaf teas, as well as the usual assortment of standard bubble tea offerings.
We were here for dessert, so we were drawn to the computer monitor placed at the front counter. On the left are a number of dessert waffles and waffle specials, including your choice of a Brussels or a liege waffle. A Brussels style waffle is crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, whereas a liege waffle is sweeter (usually with distinct sugar crystals inside) with a chewier consistency.
As you may have been able to guess based on the title of today’s post, we didn’t get waffles; we got the Tealips shaved ice. The four main varieties range in price from $12 to $14, so they certainly aren’t cheap. The topping choices are fairly standard fare, including such options as matcha and mango pineapple.
Even though there were only one or two other customers in the store at the time, we were handed one of these notification pucks after we placed our order. It’s like the ones you get at busy restaurants. It vibrates and has flashy red lights when your order is ready. You’ll also notice the electronic number display on the front too. That showed our order number, I guess.
Despite the menu noting that we should expect to wait 15 to 20 minutes for them to prepare the shaved ice, our order was ready in more like five minutes. I suppose it helps when you’re the only active order on deck.
Okay. This thing is huge. Yes, it’s on the pricier side of things at $12 (the cheapest of the four main combinations, actually), but it was more than enough for the three of us. The Red Bean Shaved Ice starts with a base of milk snow flake (more on that in a moment), topped with red beans, sliced strawberries, pineapple chunks, sliced banana, condensed milk, vanilla ice cream, mochi balls and crushed nuts.
While it was a little disappointing that we couldn’t choose a different flavor of ice cream, this dessert came with a very generous helping of toppings. In fact, it took quite a bit of digging before we got to the actual shaved ice underneath. The “milk snow flake” is very fine and fluffy, like a Korean bingsoo. When mixed with some condensed milk, it’s almost as creamy as ice cream.
This is not at all something I would get on a regular basis and it’s definitely not a “light” dessert option. It is easily large enough to be shared by several people, the number of which would depend on your respective appetites. I liked it a lot. If I find myself in the neighborhood again, I just might have to pop by to explore the rest of the Tealips menu.
I wonder how are their waffles…