Momo Tea House, Howick, Auckland

At last count, there are four branches of this popular chain: Howick (9A Whitford Rd, 09-5353613), Mt Albert (930 New North Road, 09-8153228), City (28 Fort St, 09-3093108) and Birkenhead (74 Mokoia Rd, 09-480 0236).

The main appeal of this place is that it stays open until the wee hours of the morning (2 or 3am, depending on the day). Even though this is a chain, the fit-out differs; – the Mt Albert branch is  Chinese kitsch, whereas the Howick and City branch is more bubble-gum pop.

Momo Tea House serves a bewildering range of flavoured bubble teas, green teas, milk shakes, yoghurt drinks, flavoured shaved ices and nata (jelly) drinks. These range in prices from $5 – $8. I tend to stick to the tried and true original milk tea ($5.50), and I like their Peach Nata ($6.50).

To accompany these drinks, Momo Tea House offers a wide range of snacks, and for those who want a larger feed, there are also rice and noodle dishes ($10 – $13). Unfortunately, I have not tried any of the rice and noodle dishes, as this is a place to catch up with friends and gossip the night away. My favourite snacks is their salt and crunchy chicken pieces ($8), which are deep-fried chicken meat and cartilage morsels. Trust me, these are delicious.

They also serve a range of ‘traditional’ chinese BBQ grilled meats. Some of these are not for the faint-hearted, – and watch out, these are well spiced. Beef tongue ($3.50 a pair),  chicken heart  ($5 for 6 sticks), or the more regular ones, – lamb or chicken skewers. I’ve never had tongue before, and I am totally hooked now.

Momo Tea House is a great casual place to catch up with friends, especially if you’re not into the bar scene.

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