Restaurateur Avenue

Restauratuer Avenue: K Teahouse in Sunnyvale

The one spot with that one thing from China you kept seeing on social media.

Inside K Tea Cafe

by Alexander Quebec

On a rainy Thursday night, the streets of the old main street in Sunnyvale were filled with a combination of holiday shoppers and those celebrating the end of another work week. K Tea Cafe was the destination; my host Denise Lum (aka MsDopesauce on IG) invited me to try their newest menu items.

Across the street from Pure Lounge, K Tea Cafe looks like any other tea house in the Bay Area. They offer the typical tea house fare of boba drinks and snacks in an environment that seems a bit more sophisticated than your typical boba joint, with subway tiled walls, as well as exposed brick and moulding that seems more art nouveau than the usually quasi-futuristic boba place. However, what sets this place apart is one particular offering not typically found in most tea houses and boba places in the area.

A savory offering all the way from China called the Jianbing.

On first glance, the Jianbing looks similar to a Crunchwrap Supreme from Taco Bell, but the reality is that it is so much more than its fast food brethren. Typically served as street food to hungry morning commuters on their way to work in certain parts of China, the treat is popular due to its tasty-ness, but also due to the speed in which it is made and the fact that it is relatively cheap for breakfast.

Filled with your choice of filling such as pork belly, bulgogi or even vegetarian options, the Jianbing is made to order right in front of you. The batter is poured onto a hot plate similar to the way many places make crepes, the almost magical transformation of the batter that can vary in composition depending on where its made, to a solid wrap happening right before your eyes.

The preparer then takes various seasonings such as spices and pork skin flakes as well as sauces and other add-ins and places them carefully into the mix. After the wrap is completely cooked, the fillings are added; in my case it was the pork belly along with a crunchy, pork flavored crisp similar to a pork rind or chicharone. After everything is done, the preparer then folds the wrap around the ingredients carefully, sprinkling more seasoning like red pepper flakes onto the now finished Jianbing.

Katie gave us what she considered a tour of her life story, consisting of different kinds of appetizers that are representative of different aspects from times in her life, her formative years in with standard tea house fare such as crispy chicken, sweet potato fries and fried tofu, as well as her time as an owner of a Japanese restaurant (deep fried gyoza covered in a creamy sauce and topped with red hot cheetos). Finally, she introduced to us the pulled pork Jianbing, a work in progress in her opinion, but still a tasty addition to an otherwise well-rounded menu.

A tale told through food

I paired my meal with a refreshing cup of iced chamomile tea, mainly due to the fact that I had consumed several cups of coffee earlier in the day at work, and the delicate tea paired well with the hearty, meat filled treat I was having.

If you’re finding yourself in Sunnyvale, be sure to stop by K Tea Cafe for a bite. Order the Jianbing and give it a try yourself. One bite and I am sure you will enjoy one of the most unique treats this side of the Bay.

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