At newly opened Wink Tea & Cake in Garapan, you can have your cake and eat it too. Their drinks are also as amazing, making them the new go-to place for the island’s youth.
Owner Zhang Lian Peng opened the pastel-colored tea house last Jan. 9 to give Saipan residents a new take on tea and fruit drinks, which he says are 100% natural and without any additives.
“On Saipan there are no real tea houses. Nowadays, the younger generation in Asian countries enjoy going to tea houses and hanging out with their friends. And that trend is slowly happening here and we want to be at the forefront of…that trend on Saipan,” he said.
A few weeks since opening, Wink Tea & Cake has enamored itself with customers due to its popular Cloud Tea selections that come in mango, grape, pineapple, strawberry, dragon fruit, and watermelon flavors. Zhang said Cloud Tea is not like any other drink on island as they use a cheese and cream concoction as a topping, giving the first layer of the drink a cloud-like appearance.
At any given day, the establishment also makes tiramisu, chocolate, and other fancy cakes in-house that complement the array of drinks they serve. Zhang’s wife, Chen Lin Lin, makes the cake and she definitely knows her craft. She even went to China to enroll in a nine-week course in making custom cakes.
Before Wink Tea & Cake, Zhang used to operate a Chinese restaurant called Serene Restaurant at the same location. It used to be a favorite of Chinese and Korean tourists, but sales slowly went down a year ago and then fell down a proverbial cliff when the COVID-19 pandemic put the tourism industry at a complete standstill.
“But even before the pandemic, we already planned to change our business into a tea house. Let’s just say COVID-19 hastened the switch,” said Zhang.
A couple of things were already going for Zhang even before they opened Wink Tea & Cake. One is the strategic location, which is right at the heart of Saipan’s main tourist district of Garapan. Second is their willingness to try something new; and third is their commitment to serving the local clientele.
“Under the pandemic, business is still good. No tourists but a lot of locals when they come here they more often than not come back. Majority are teenagers and they eventually invite their whole family to try us out. They all seem to like our cakes and the drinks. It also helps, I guess, that our little tea house is close to Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan and Hyatt Regency Saipan where a lot of events are still happening,” he added.
Wink Tea & Cake also has a current promotion where anybody who shares images of Wink Tea & Cake on social media will get a free drink (limit one free drink per customer).
At the end of the day, Zhang said he just wants to give the local community a new experience and his tea house and cake shop is definitely something new and fresh on the island. “Try our new drinks and cakes at Wink Tea. You won’t regret it,” he said.
Wink Tea & Cake is located in the Family Store building across Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan. It is open from Monday to Sunday, 10am-10pm. For more information, call 233-4965 or reach them through their Facebook page.