*NosTEAgia now trades at Old Spitalfields Market*
This post was originally published on 17th January, 2016 and has been updated in 2019 with new photos & updated content.
A little background about myself, I am born and raised in Hong Kong. I came to England because of university and have relocated to London after graduation (thank you British citizenship). As a Hong Kong-nese, traditional street food holds a dear place in our hearts. Eggettes – aka Hong Kong-style egg waffles, bubble waffles, or gai daan zai – is definitely one that is most loved by most. It is one of the most iconic Hong Kong street food for sure. So you can imagine how excited I got when I first discovered NosTEAgia!
NosTEAgia is founded by two students who are passionate about bubble tea and first started its business at a Homegrown market in Bricklane by selling Taiwanese bubble tea. They have then managed to set up a stall at the PUMP Shoreditch Street Food Market (now closed) as well as other pop-up locations. As PUMP Shoreditch closed down, they took residency at Box Park Shoreditch, and have now settled at Old Spitalfields Market.
I know there is no short of bubble waffles around London these days as every dessert parlour attempts to add it to their menu. But NosTEAgia is actually the first to bring bubble waffle into the market and does them properly.
I remember my first visit to NosTEAgia. It was like a nostalgic trip back home as I watched the waffle batter poured into the hot griddle and patiently waited for the batter to get cooked and puffed up into multiple ‘mini eggs’ (which is the literal translation from its Chinese name gai daan zai) or let’s call it bubbles as that’s what the public calls it here. Typically back home, we just enjoy our bubble waffle plain. We normally just get a plain one from a street vendor and eat it by tearing out these ‘mini eggs/bubbles’ one or few at a time. The addition of toppings is more of a western take on it and it helped to appeal to non-Asians who didn’t know of bubble waffles before.
A good bubble waffle should oozes a rich eggy flavour, with a light crisp on the outside and a fluffy half-filled cake-like texture inside. You don’t want those with a mere crispy shell and empty contents on the inside, nor do you want just full waffles. That’s worth highlighting because, from my visits to NosTEAgia, they’ve always hit the spot with the perfect bubble waffle texture.
I had this from a pop-up they did at Camden Market exclusively featuring their matcha range. This Matcha Oreo was made with a matcha-based bubble waffle, topped with matcha cream, oreos, matcha syrup and condensed milk.
For matcha lovers, this is a taste of heaven. Every single bite screamed of matcha, from the waffle itself to the cream…just everything whilst without being overwhelming. They really stroke the perfect balance here – no bitter taste, no overwhelming matcha flavour, nor is it too sweet. In addition, the Oreos added texture to the cream and the two went so well together.
This was when I came across NosTEAgia at the Winter Christmas Market outside of Tate Modern.
The Cookie Monster features a regular bubble waffle topped with Nutella, Oreos, Cookies, Whipped Cream and Chocolate Sauce. It was a lush a treat as usual, with the perfectly made bubble waffle and toppings that you simply can’t go wrong with.
Assam Bubble Milk Tea and Taro Bubble Milk Tea
Assam tea blend is a very popular tea in Taiwan for making bubble tea. I remember travelling to Taiwan and this place called Sun Moon Lake makes the best Assam tea and their Assam bubble milk tea is just absolutely stunning. So when I saw this on the menu, I just had to try it out.
Here the Assam tea was fragrant and mellow, but the flavour was not as strong as I remembered from Taiwan. Regardless, it is a pretty authentic tea base and is most certainly a quality cup of bubble tea. The tapioca was cooked properly with traditional methods, resulting in that perfect chewy texture and a nice syrup glaze. I personally prefer having my bubble milk tea half sweetened only and I forgot to tell them that when I was making my order, so it was a bit sweet to my taste.
The purple one behind is the Taro Milk Tea, which was decent as well.
Thai Bubble Milk Tea
As you can see from the picture, the Thai Milk Tea features this striking orange colour that could only mean the use of authentic Thai tea. The tea flavour was pretty good, and it’s got this ultra-silky and velvety texture from the blend of both sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. It’s definitely quite sweet so do brace for the little sugar rush.
…NosTEAgia will always have a special place in my heart as they offered me this beautiful little nostalgic food trip back home when I first moved to London. Its authenticity speaks volume and that just wins my heart. As mentioned, you can now find them at Old Spitalfields Market near Liverpool Street.
Tel: 07564 117339 | Website: http://www.nosteagia.com/index.htm | Instagram: @nosteagia
Nearest station: Liverpool Street