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A popular Asian dessert and tea chain with over 650 locations across the world has made its Michigan debut in East Lansing.
Meet Fresh was founded in Taichung, Taiwan, in 2007. It serves grass jelly, taro balls and traditional tofu pudding alongside mochi and shaved ice.
Allen Zhu, vice president of Meet Fresh East Lansing, said it was time to bring authentic Asian desserts to Lansing.
“Everyone liked this restaurant growing up. We came up with the idea to open up in the Lansing area because it is a growing market with international students and a diverse community,” Zhu said.
While operating the business, Zhu is pursuing a finance degree just 10 minutes away at Michigan State University.
For newcomers to Taiwanese desserts, there is a top-five section on the menu to try. To get the essence of the dessert shop, Zhu recommends the “Icy Taro #4” bowl.
The dessert has shaved ice drizzled with sweetened milk along with sweet potato taro balls, grass jelly and sweet red beans.
Grass jelly is made by boiling the leaves of the platostoma palustre plant, a member of the mint family, with potassium carbonate and then cooling the mixture until it reaches an elastic consistency.
Meet Fresh also offers bubble tea with seemingly endless choices of boba and tea flavors. The owner suggests a good introduction to the treat is the wintermelon milk tea with taro balls.
“For those who have never tried something like this before, we want to make sure we leave a good first impression. Taiwanese authentic desserts are very unique and tasty.”
Zhu had been working with the construction team for six months to open up the space. It is a clean, bright environment with decorative light fixtures, lanterns and open bar.
“We are also very much a fan of the open bar concept, where people can see what you are doing and can tell it is all fresh,” Zhu said.
When designing the interior, Zhu wanted to channel the essence of a coffee shop rather than a dessert shop
“We want people to gather in this place — to work and spend time with their friends. We tried to make this a very cozy place with the lanterns and atmosphere.”
For the summer, Meet Fresh plans to alter its shaved ice selections by adding more fruit options such as strawberry and mango.
Until April 7, Meet Fresh is having a buy one; get one for a dollar deal for bubble tea to celebrate its grand opening.
1034 Trowbridge Rd., East Lansing
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily