The two main components to a good cup of bubble tea, are obviously the bubbles (Singaporeans call them “pearls”) and the tea itself.
丸作 pronounced as “Wan Zo” and not “Jiu Zo” (九作 ) has opened its first store in Singapore at Tampines One.
Many people queueing behind me have pronounced is ‘Jiu Zo” and speculated the meaning behind the strange name.
Rebranded as PlayMade for their international outlets outside Taiwan, PlayMade is the direct translation of their Chinese brand 丸作 (Wan Zo).
“丸” can mean “pearls” or sound like “play” in Mandarin, and “作” refers to “make”.
With a total of 17 outlets across Taiwan since 2015 and a few outlets in Canada, Vietnam and Australia, PlayMade focuses more on the quality of the pearls (as their name implies).
Probably the first in the world with live-making process of the pearls, the pearls are made hourly on the spot using all natural ingredients with no artificial flavouring added, right in front of everyone behind the glass panel.
A total of 4 different flavours are available for the pearls: Pink Cactus, Black Sesame, Burnt Caramel and White Pearls, and the entire pearl-making process will take about 30-45 minutes.
Similar to most bubble tea shops in Singapore, the following options are available: 2 sizes (Medium and Large), customisable sugar level (0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100%) and Ice content (Normal, Less, No ice).
Additional pearls will cost between $0.50- $0.80 for a Medium sized cup and $1- $1.40 for a Large sized cup.
The price for a Medium sized drink starts from $2.20 and can go up to $7.90 for a Large sized drink, excluding the pearls (which is the highlight supposedly).
I was quite surprised (or should I say, shocked) when I overheard the person queueing in front of me paying $9.30 for a single cup of drink.
Yes, just one cup of bubble tea which costs around the same price of a Starbucks drink.
Exclusive drinks include Pink Cactus Smoothie ($4.60/$5.90), Fresh Guava Orange Green Tea ($4.40), Yakult Green/ Taiwan Green tea ($3.60/$4.90), Cranberry Vinegar ($2.90/$3.90) and Green Tea Latte with Black Sesame Pearls ($4.40/$6.50).
My favourite topping was the Black Sesame Pearls (additional $0.80 for Medium / $1.20 for Large).
Soft, plump and chewy, the pearls are recommended to be consumed within 2 hours as it will turn hard.
The black sesame pearls reminded me of black sesame dumplings (aka tangyuan) with a grainy texture and slightly aromatic.
I ordered their Exclusive blend – Green Tea Latte with Black Sesame Pearls ($4.40/$6.50) and wasn’t that impressed as the Green Tea Latte tasted similar to that of the Pokka’s Jasmine Green Tea though.
I will recommend the 25% sugar level for the Matcha Latte with Black Sesame Pearls ($5/$6.90) instead, with a deeper shade of green, different layers of colours and a slightly stronger hint of matcha.
Surprisingly, the Green Tea Latte is on the list of exclusive blends whereas the Matcha Latte was left out.
For pearl lovers, 3P option is available for add-on. Ok, this sounds kinky but 3P means 3 Pearls out of the 4 types of pearls available at the same price as a single pearl top-up.
However, I could only taste the Black Sesame Pearl among the ones I ordered for the 3P option as the taste is stronger than Pink Cactus and Burnt Caramel Pearls.
Being adventurous, I ordered the Grapefruit Yakult Green Tea with Pink Cactus Pearls ($7.40/$9.10) which is the most expensive drink on the menu.
The Grapefruit Yakult Green Tea was indeed citrusy and refreshing, with grapefruit pulp in it.
Said to be made from the pink cactus found in “Penghu” of Taiwan, the Pink Cactus pearls have a slightly citrusy and sourish taste, which goes well with the Fresh Fruit series of drinks.
No regrets, but for the high price tag, I will probably think twice about ordering the Grapefruit Yakult Green Tea again.
Personally, I enjoyed the pearls aka bubbles, which were the main highlight for PlayMade.
Whereas for drinks-wise, they are pretty average considering the price point.
PlayMade by 丸作
Tampines One, 10 Tampines Central 1, Singapore 529536
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon-Sun)
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* Written by Nicholas Tan @stormscape who loves all things [NEW]. Daniel’s Food Diary pays for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.