New York: Hon Cafe

Two years ago, I visited New York for the first time during the spring break of my senior year of undergrad. It was during that particular trip that I stumbled upon this little (okay, not so little) cafe in Chinatown:

The first time I came in, my friends and I were desperate for something to drink, so we picked the first pearl tea place that we came across. What I discovered there that time led me to bring my sister back this year.

At first glance, Hon Cafe doesn't look all that special:

Just your typical Asian pastries and beverages. The only thing that might be slightly different off the bat is the restaurant that's attached at the back, but that's not what I'm talking about.

What I'm talking about is this:

Oh yes. That cup of heaven. The first time I came in, I spent a good chunk of time looking through the list of drinks posted on the wall. Thanks to my amazing observation skills, I spotted a handwritten sign ENTIRELY IN CHINESE advertising this particular drink. Coconut...tapioca...fresh fruit pieces...$1.75? Never had I been so grateful for all those years of being dragged out of bed every Saturday morning for Chinese school.

I can't describe how good it is. The last time I had it there were tiny slivers of watermelon in it. This time it was strawberry. While I prefer the watermelon, it was still refreshing and delicious. The only downside is that you have to drink it quickly before the ice melts or the coconut will get too diluted to be enjoyable.

My sister took the boring route and ordered the pearl milk tea. $2.50! I haven't seen prices like that since I left California. Pearl tea in Chicago is so overpriced.

We sat around for a good long time, just resting our feet and figuring out what to do next. My sister is easily distracted, as can be evidenced by this purchase:

Not the best pineapple bun I've ever had, not even close actually. I took one bite and handed it back to my sister.

We sat there for so long that we bought two more drinks:

Hot milk tea and coffee for $1 a cup. Nice. Though I have to say that the milk tea from the pearl tea my sister had tasted a lot better.

If I lived in New York, I would be at Hon Cafe every chance I got just for the coconut drink. Or even just the pearl tea. Unfortunately, I'm currently living in Chicago where people have never heard of a Quickly or a Tapioca Express or a Q-Cup. Woe is me.

Hon Cafe
70 Mott St
New York, NY 10013
(212) 219-1431


  1. ...Who are you referring to? Jerk...

  2. i've seen police officers stop by this place several times to get their coconut fix. definitely a brilliant find! :)


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