Korea takes trends and crazes to a whole new level. Over the years, I’ve watched the ‘Honey Butter Chip’ craze come and go. Recently, ‘long padding’ (long padded jackets) were all the rage. And we of course have to mention how BTS has swept the nation.
Most recently, black sugar milk tea became the thing that every Instagram feed wouldn’t be complete without. While the beverage isn’t exactly new, its arrival on the Korean peninsula was met with a Beatles-like fan base.
I personally tend to stay away from these fads as they come and go like the beautiful Korean spring weather. However, I simply had to find out if this drink was more than just a selfie accessory. So I headed to a famous cafe selling this unique drink: Jenjudan ( 쩐주단 ).
Jenjudan started in the famous Shinlin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan in 2010. Since perfecting its recipe, they have expanded to over 10 countries around the world. They can be found in New York City, where people consistently wait in line to get their hands on this milky treat.
Since opening in Korea, Jenjudan has opened multiple branches. What sets this place part is the quality of its product, as well as the diversity of beverages offered.
The boba pearls are made specifically for this brand, and are flown in from Taipei. They are cooked in-house. They boil for 3 hours to reach the perfect consistency. The result is a chewy, yet firm pearl.
Customers who order the drink can watch as a scoop of the boba, which are boiling in a sticky, gooey syrup (boiled down sugar) are placed in the bottom of the cup. They are still warm, and when topped with ice cold milk, create a symphony of textures and temperatures.
At first glance, I thought the drink would be sickly sweet. However, despite its appearance, the beverage is well-balanced without being too rich.
For this review, I headed out to the Jongno location, which is located near Jongak Station, in downtown Seoul
Jenjudan has various drinks. What I really liked about them is that they have lacto-free milk, as well as non-dairy milk products. This is perfect for vegans, or anyone who doesn’t wish to consume milk products. Beverages can also be served hot or cold.
For this review, I tried four different drinks. The original brown sugar milk tea really hit the spot. It could be considered the original, and what I would assume to be the most popular drink.
Perhaps my favorite of the four beverages I tried was the ‘Cheese foam Oreo bubble milk”. If you’re like me – you might be a tad put off by the term “cheese foam”. However, imagine if a cheesecake was turned into a stiff whipped cream. That is what I would compare cheese foam to.
Jenjudan has a variety of different beverages, as well as plenty of options to customize the drink to your liking. I think it would be difficult to find someone who couldn’t find something to their liking.
While the cafe has various locations throughout Korea, I enjoyed visiting the Jongno branch, and will definitely be back.