The Alley is a small Chinese (bubble) teahouse in International City which is super popular with the Chinese/Asian community there. Based in the (surprise-surprise) China Cluster its handsomely appointed interior is dominated by a bar which doubles as a prep counter. My Chinese friends and I invariably end up there after a Chinese meal in International City. The place is run by the Chinese owner who doesn’t speak much English. But don’t let that stop you from going, I’ve never had a problem getting what I want, even when I’ve gone alone or with non-Chinese speaking friends.
Of course, the main thing to order is bubble tea. The Alley is an official branch/franchise of The Alley in China and, I am led to understand, imports everything (including its all-important bubbles) from there. I know this is a drink popular well below my age group, but I love it.
I also really like their herbal infused iced teas, of which there are many flavours and variants. Last but not least are their shaped ice creams, although, as a dog lover I found eating an ice cream shaped dog was kinda weird. But the mango flavoured corn on the cob shaped ice cream was…fun.
As with most owner run establishments, service has been excellent on every occasion I have visited, especially when I’ve been there with my Chinese food buddy, Jackson (the happy Buddha) Gao, who knows the owner. If you like bubble tea I literally guarantee you will love this little place. If you haven’t yet tried bubble tea, this is one of the best places to start. Either way, it’s worth a visit, especially if you’ve just finished a Chinese meal in International City.
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on email@example.com.