From California comes Bambu Desserts & Drinks, a small Vietnamese dessert and drink shop chain that's colonizing Texas. Its most recent addition just opened in Garland.
This marks the second Bambu in Texas, following the inaugural branch that opened in Houston's Chinatown area in December. A second Houston branch will open on the Gulf Freeway this spring.
Bambu offers bubble tea, but the signature item is "chè," a refreshing and exotic Vietnamese dessert that's like a cross between a cold soup and a pudding.
Bambu's menu has nearly 100 desserts, coffees, teas and drinks, including Vietnamese espressos, blended coffees and smoothies. Although Bambu does offer bubble tea, it's not the specialty. Instead, the signature item is "chè," a refreshing and exotic Vietnamese dessert that's like a cross between a cold soup and a pudding, with a goulash-style collection of additions such as fresh fruit, raisins, nuts, cereal, yogurt and Jell-O.
Bambu wins raves because it uses fresh coconut juice — as in fresh from the coconut. A typical offering might be chè 3 màu, with sweet beans, taro and pale green sweet pandan jelly.
Bambu Desserts & Drinks was founded in 2008 by four Vietnamese sisters in San Jose, California. They've opened 11 shops total in Northern California, Hawaii and Texas, with another six slated to open in the first half of 2013.
Hong Luong and Sen Tran, co-owners of Bambu Garland, discovered Bambu while visiting friends in California. They found a storefront in Garland's Saigon Mall at 3212 Jupiter Rd.
"The mall is a popular destination for Dallas' Vietnamese community," Tran says.