Madison is some thing but a dessert wasteland. Bakeries abound. It’s boom times for chocolatiers. And with spring’s arrival, ice cream stores throughout the isthmus have began slinging their first scoops.
But when Arom Wichitchu went on the lookout for goodies traditional to his local Thailand, he found the city arising brief.
That changed six months ago while Wichitchu, the proprietor of Sa Bai Thong, changed into approached by using his enterprise partners, sister-in-regulation Taratip Buchli and Maihoua Xiong. Their goal become simple: build some thing to fill the space.
“At some point, we had been wondering, oh, we did no longer see any dessert, Asian dessert around,” Wichitchu stated. “We did now not see (the ones varieties of) cakes round right here loads. And then we think this should be some thing that would be very, superb for people to have and try to discover it and flavor it.”
Enter Bambu, opened in mid-April at Hilldale Shopping Center.
The first storefront in Wisconsin, Bambu (550 N. Midvale Blvd.) is one in a small line of national franchises making Southeast Asian dessert liquids, coffees and teas. Menu gadgets include treats like Vietnamese espresso, smoothies, milk teas, mochi and waffles made with chewy, aromatic pandan jelly.
The celebrity at Bambu is the Vietnamese dessert chè.
Chè is a class of desserts that encompasses puddings in addition to iced liquids. Bambu focuses on the latter. Similar to tapioca pearls in bubble tea, chè begins with layers of colorful jellies flavored with Southeast Asian botanicals which includes pandan, sweetened beans or tapioca.
Some iterations are scattered with syrup-soaked basil seeds, fleshy coconut meat or culmination like jackfruit or longan, a tropical fruit much like lychee. The drink is completed with a blanket of coconut milk or water and topped with shaved ice.
The result is a banquet for the senses: lush and colourful in appearance and flavor, with springy, chewy textures from the jellies. The beverage is meant to be admired briefly, Wichitchu stated, then speedy mixed to meld the syrupy layers with the coconut topping.
The beverages at Bambu benefit from the freshness in their ingredients: The boba and jellies, prepared in house every day, are flavorful and aromatic however not overly saccharine. Young coconuts are broken down by hand earlier than every day’s carrier, Wichitchu stated, and the ensuing milks and waters have a rich, toasty high-quality. Flavors are balanced and brilliant, and though the chè are certainly filling, they don’t experience weighty or overwhelming.
Bambu’s chè range from the colourful and complicated Bambu Favorite ($6) to the fruity and floral Taro Lover ($6). The store also has a create-your-own choice (beginning at $6.50). Wichitchu encourages customers to test with variables like sweetness or toppings.
“We just try to offer some thing that I think maybe humans will like, however you get a choice,” Wichitchu stated. “And then you can exchange it, something you want. You simply pick what you like.”
While many items on the menu are dairy-unfastened with the aid of layout, customers can also replacement for non-dairy creamer, soy or almond milk for dairy-based totally beverages. Caffeine-loose alternatives also are considerable.
Bambu’s storefront, sandwiched between Muramoto Hilldale and Gigi’s Cupcakes, also objectives to thrill. Decorated by means of Buchli, the interiors are airy and open, with high ceilings anchored by using a antique chandelier. A lawn setup, complete with miniature waterfall, greets customers on the door, placing a tranquil tone for the scholars, buyers or publish-dinner visitors who accumulate there.
With the arrival of summer season, Wichitchu hopes to add outside seating for most desirable people-watching. He’s searching ahead to fall, kicking around ideas for warm drinks higher ideal to autumn’s colder temperatures.
In the period in-between, although, Wichitchu’s dreams for Bambu are simple.
“I wish human beings can come and revel in the meeting area,” Wichitchu said. “I desire humans revel in the area and revel in the beverages and enjoy the cakes.”