Friday, 28 December 2012

Gama Store Edmonton, AB Tawainese green tea, mini stuffed pancakes and salted cheese foam topped teas

I'll admit, this store has been open for years, a couple of my friends have recommended it, and I've been dragging my feet.  I finally tried it a few weeks back and have been dropping by since to pick up their delicious teas.  They're a bit hidden my girlfriend discovered it when it first opened while she was in the middle of a summer run, and found it as she was going in and out of alleys to avoid breathing in exhaust from the main streets- just go into the alleyway to the right of Tutti Frutti and you'll see it.  Now why did I drag my feet?  I've eaten strange things in my life: from rodents, bugs, deep underwater sea creatures to weird taste combinations like dill + chocolate, salsa and cheesies (don't try, its pretty gross), chocolate cheese (yes, some folks like it, I'm not one of them).  But it took me a long time to get over the thought of salted cheese foam on green tea.  And I'm glad I did... cuz it actually tastes great - just like salt works with caramel.  Anyways, onto the teas, and mini pancakes that remind me of Stampede's and K-Days vanilla cakes but with all sorts of neat fillings inside!

Once you step into the store, there are a few shelves of clothing, teas...

and tongue in cheek gifts you can pick up.  They had several boxes of marshmallow "boobie" candies too... but this one made me laugh out loud.

At the back of the store is a small sitting area with a couch off to the side for you to lounge at once you grab your drinks and snacks.

Its here where we meet Amy who works with her husband Paul and son Hanson running the busy store and tea shop.  Amy is super friendly, and gives us some meat-free imitation shredded pork imported from Taiwan to try while we wait for our order to be made.  They sell this too, and its made so well, I can't even tell its not pork! Mmm!

All of their tea is steeped (and cooled if its a cold tea) by hand and with good quality tea.  They're know for their salty cheese foam topped green tea - the Green Cap tea, so we ordered a round as well as some of their Taiwanese PanCakes.  These cakes remind me of mini vanilla cakes (cake on outside, molten vanilla good on inside), except you can choose the type of filling you want.  Cheese and ham is among the savoury choices, and Oero caught my eye, but I see there's a Melting Gold (made with salted duck egg), Custard, Red Bean and Taro amongst the traditional flavours, so we go with the traditional flavours this time around.  Amy first drops in the batter into a hot mold and adds a generous scoop of filling.
Our custard filling gets added to the front 2 pancakes
And adds in scoops of red bean filling to the top pancakes.  Amy then measures out some more batter into the mold.

She then gently loosens the "pancake" free as they don't use oil on the hot mold...


And carefully flips the cooked pancake with filling onto another blank pancake to seal the yumminess in... number one....

And two!

She then repeats the process for our remaining order.

Yah! They're done!! Each order of pancakes comes with two, so bring some friends if you want to try a larger variety.

They are also molten hot so we juggled them for a while and attempted to cut the red bean filled one in half... Hard to take picture as the molten hot lightly sweetened filling oozes out!
Cutting with knife = unsexy picture

The custard filled PanCake bordered on bland and a bit pastey in texture (not shown), but we enjoyed
the Taro filled ones - slightly sweet taro goo is encased in a thin lightly sweetened eggy shell... and best of all, its not artificially coloured purple!  Mmmm!

Our fav of the night was the Melting Gold filled PanCakes.  A touch of faintly gritty salted duck yolk is mixed in with a rich slightly sweet custard, teasing your tongue with creamy sweet and salty notes.

Now, the Green Cap Tea!

Its a bit intimidating at first, as it literally... looks like a gigantic pint... of beer LOL!

And after one sip, I'm sold.  Cold, gently sweetened aromatic green tea plays well with the salted froth that's added on top.  The cheese foam mellows out the tannins from the tea, and brings out the floral notes of the green tea, making for a refreshing and addictive salty-sweet combination.  While they don't sell the tea they use to make the green cap tea, I ended up picking up a high grade Oolong tea for my dad that Paul said would have cleaner crisper flavours as it was grown on one of the highest mountains in Taiwan.  And if you don't know how to properly brew a cup of Taiwanese tea... Paul Liu won't let you go home until he personally shows you.  He doesn't want you to accidentally ruin even a drop of the $50 box of tea.

Gama Store
Address  10418 82Ave, Edmonton, AB T6E2A2
Phone  (780) (780) 885-5796 or 438-2382
Hours Mon-Thu 3pm-11pm, Fri 3pm-12am, Sat 1pm-12am, Sun 1pm-10pm
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