Erick lemus/Courier A Taro Milk Tea from QQ Kopitiam across the street from Pasadena City College on Thursday, March 29, 2018.
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In the “626” area, especially when there’s a diverse amount of culture instilled in Southern California, the selection of cuisines is endless for the food partisans. The never-ending pop-ups of boba cafes, to restaurants offering various ethnic dishes, defines the sunny state to be memorable for its fair share of Asian food. And that’s what QQ Kopitiam, an Asian fusion restaurant, strives to do.

Located across the cross-section of the school quad’s entrance, it’s a quick walk to reach the restaurant. Though relatively small in comparison to other pop-up eateries, ordering wasn’t too long and customer service was relatively quick. I was immediately seated to my table after ordering; however, the wait for food took more than fifteen minutes, which left me scouring the empty interior that was filled with random mixtures of office decor art pieces.

A blend of cuisines originating from Indonesia, Taiwan and Singapore, there’s an assortment of popular Asian dishes served in the small, cramped restaurant. Offering Hainanese Chicken rice, Popcorn Chicken rice, Fried Chicken Steak on rice, and meals that have more rice (with a hint of other noodle dishes), there’s hardly any diversity in the menu. Upon first entering the restaurant, I was disappointed by the lack of options: popular traditional Asian dishes such as Mi Goren or the Satay was not offered, two dishes that would have certainly enhanced and diversified the restaurant’s menu.

The Indonesian fried rice, being one of the most popular dishes, is fried fresh to crisp and perfection. It’s accompanied by small cuts of green onion and chopped spam, pan-fried white Chinese chicken, with a mixture of two golden shrimps. For a mere price of $8.25, the meal’s serving is underwhelming and slightly overpriced, especially when the restaurant is situated near its competitors like Teaspots and AU 79. Although the meal did contain a mince of green onion that amped up the taste, there wasn’t any “wow” factor that instantly wooed me away. The taste resonated, at best, a distinct blend of soy sauce and other fillers that left no impact on my taste buds. It’s arguably better than the school cafeteria food, however.

Apart from the meal, QQ Kopitiam also serves an assortment of teas and fun dessert-like drinks like the Royal and Taro Milk Tea, for only $2.45; and it’s a dollar extra for a large size, which is reasonably priced. Not only does the drink taste fresh and organic, there isn’t an ounce of powder—which is a huge factor that distinguishes between good milk tea from the bad. It’s definitely a steal, considering how milk tea outlets in the 626 area charge their customers twice the amount, and is quite bland, in comparison, to this restaurant.

Overall, I rate it a B-. Yay for the Taro Milk Tea, but “bleh” for the fried rice.

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