If you haven’t heard, Jay Chou’s favourite bubble tea brand is coming to Singapore.
The shutters are still down at Taiwanese bubble tea chain Machi Machi’s first Singapore outlet, which is slated to open sometime this month at Arab Street. The shop’s manager, David, had to pull the shutters ’cos a few people had rushed in, eagerly asking if they might see Jay Chou here.
What’s up, dog?
For the uninitiated, this BBT brand is closely associated with the Mandopop king, who frequently Instagrams himself swigging Machi Machi’s drinks or posing with his signature cool swagger at the brand’s outlets around the world. Machi is also the name of his pooch with wife Hannah Quinlivan.
When we drop by Machi Machi’s Singapore outlet for a sneak peek, we are accosted by a taitai dressed in head-to-toe bubblegum pink. “Is Jay Chou here? I came all the way here to see him!” she trills, peering inquisitively at the kitchen as though she might find the singer making drinks there. She eyes our array of bubble teas on the table. “Ooh. Can I buy?” she chirps. Sorry lady, you’ll have to wait a while more until the shop clears NEA inspection.
Machi Machi’s Singapore franchise is brought in by Project Superstar alum Hong Junyang along with his biz partners (which makes him the second local celeb after Mediacorp veteran host Vivian Lai to become the towkay of a bubble tea brand in Singapore). They also run franchised Thai restaurant chain Original Boat Noodle. Junyang’s co-owner for Machi Machi is unable to confirm that the OG chain of shops in Taiwan is opened by Jay Chou, or whether he will be popping by the local outlet, as the shop is currently still not open for business.
Jay Chou did whack some BBT here
But according to Jay’s Instagram Stories, one of the first things he did when he landed in Singapore was to knock back a cup of Machi Machi BBT and rep it on social media. Hope [my dog] Machi won’t be jealous of me carrying [this dog], he joked in the story.
Machi Machi is well-known for its hip decor, and the Singapore outlet is just as stylish, done up in pastel hues and hipsterish industrial concrete. There are three seats outside the shop, though it’s ostensibly more for #OOTD photos than dine-in purposes. The local staff here are trained by Taiwanese trainers from Machi Machi’s HQ, who flew here to oversee the store’s opening.
Cute but cramped
The small takeaway-only unit gets awfully cramped when there’s a crowd, so be prepared to squeeze. If you’re not sure where the shop is, look out for halal Swedish café Fika, which is right across from Machi Machi.
There are some 20 drinks on the menu, split into four categories: Machi Fresh Tea, Milk & Latte, Cream Cheese and Fresh Fruits. The bestselling drink is Black Milk Tea with Creme Brûlée, which Jay Chou has guzzled on social media. Prices are still being finalised, but expect a range from $7 to $8 for drinks.
Black Milk Tea with Creme Brûlée (8 DAYS Pick!)
Creme brûlée foam on bubble tea is about as common as Uniqlo T-shirts, so we consider ourselves jaded when it comes to this drink. Surprisingly, Machi Machi’s version is very yummy, with a thick head of custardy cream torched to a caramelly finish. It adds body to the silky, fragrant Taiwanese black milk tea. If even Jay Chou got fat on this, we don’t wanna be skinny.
Black Milk Tea with Panna Cotta
Another one of Jay Chou’s go-to orders is this bottled milk tea (a strawberry milk version is also available). The same black milk tea as the creme brûlée drink is layered with wobbly, smooth house-made panna cotta. Pretty delish, though hard to suck up with a thick straw. Don’t order this if you just had a wisdom tooth extraction.
Blueberry & Strawberry Smoothie with Cream Cheese
This attractive cup is loaded with strawberries and blueberries blended with green tea and ice, with a layer of berry purée at the bottom. The tart berry slush adds a zesty zing to the refreshing iced beverage, with a creamy layer of cheese foam counterbalancing the fruity sourness. Not bad.
Brown Sugar Latte
Machi Machi’s version of the popular Brown Sugar Pearl Milk. Taiwanese brown sugar is melted down into a caramel syrup and ladled into a cup, before Farmhouse’s Australian fresh milk is poured in. Robust, creamy and one of the better BSPMs we have tried.
Jasmine Green Tea with Plum Jello
Most of the drinks on Machi Machi’s menu are sweet and milky. This bottled green tea infused with sour plums and plum jello, however, is unfortunately acerbic. It would have been a refreshing option if it is less sour, though the firm jello studded with a single preserved plum is fairly tasty.
Jasmine Green Tea with Fresh Fruits
We couldn’t really enjoy the house-brewed jasmine green tea when it was overpowered by sour plums, but the tea’s clean, earthy aroma shines when simply paired with pulpy squeezed orange juice and cut fresh apples and lemons.
Yet another bubble tea shop joins Singapore’s saturated BBT scene, but this one has some celeb clout as Jay Chou’s go-to BBT brand. The drinks are mostly decent, especially Jay’s favourite Black Milk Tea with Creme Brûlée. But for those who are rushing down hoping to catch a glimpse of the man himself, it is looking to be as unlikely as striking 4D.
Machi Machi is located at 25 Arab Street, S199724.