3 New Asian Dessert Spots Arrive in Portland
If there’s one thing that Portland’s sweets scene could definitely use more of, it’s Asian desserts, many of which are famously (ideally) not too sweet and feature that chewy, onomatopoeic "QQ" texture you'll find in things like boba and rice cakes. We have a few boba spots in Portland, sure, but not on every corner. We’ve got some good shaved ice desserts (looking at you, Soen kakigori, and Wailua shave ice), but Korean bingsoo is still a rarity (though you’ll find it on the menu at Janken). And when it comes to Asian dessert soups, like red bean soup, I can’t recall having one except after an excellent crab and fish dinner at Powell Seafood. Thankfully, this month welcomes three new Asian dessert spots. Snowy Village softly opened, selling Korean bingsoo, on March 4. On March 11, Milk + T, a boba shop with locations in Beaverton and Los Angeles, will have its grand opening in downtown Portland. And on March 18, Meet Fresh, a Taiwanese franchise dessert shop, will open in Old Town.
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Snowy Village has taken root on North Vancouver Avenue, conveniently located next to the new Two Zone Korean fried chicken restaurant. Bingsoo offerings include the classic injeolmi (toasted soybean powder) with red bean and rice cakes, black sesame with vanilla ice cream and red bean, and fruity flavors like mango or strawberry with whipped cream. Snag a taiyaki to go on the side, a fish-shaped pancake stuffed with the likes of red bean or custard.
Milk + T started in Los Angeles as a food cart, and now it’s got a brick-and-mortar there and in Beaverton. Its newest location, Milk + T Mini, is located inside the Portland Food Hall downtown, and will offer a streamlined version of the Beaverton menu, including favorites like classic milk tea and the Piglet (strawberry with coconut milk). The grand opening celebration on March 11 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. will feature event-exclusive boozy boba made in collaboration with Kizuki Ramen, plus lion dances by local troupe White Lotus and the chance to grab one of 100 giveaway bags with merch and freebies.
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Meet Fresh now has 30 locations in the United States, including two in Seattle and one in Bellevue, and a whopping eight in the Bay Area. The upcoming Old Town Portland location will be the first in Oregon. I’ve tried the Meet Fresh location in Oakland, and it’s great for cold-weather desserts like red bean soup or warm tofu pudding, plus hot-weather treats like shaved ice with pudding, rice cakes, condensed milk, and plenty of boba drinks. Its soft opening event takes place from March 18–23, with deals like 50 percent off mochi or mung bean cakes with the purchase of icy grass jelly, or $2 boba milk tea with the purchase of icy grass jelly.
Snowy Village, 3912 N Vancouver Ave St 105, @snowyvillagepnw
Milk + T Mini, 827 SW Second Ave, @milkandt
Meet Fresh, 230 SW Ash St, @meetfresh_portland