Find These Kawaii New Bao Pastries at a Boba Shop Near University
The cuteness factor at Rabbit Rabbit Tea is officially through the roof.
As soon as I saw photos of Rabbit Rabbit Tea’s new steamed buns on Instagram, I knew I wanted to be first in line to get my hands on them. Bunnies, pigs, even a cute-faced onigiri: They’re the cutest filled bao buns I’ve ever seen. They made their Hawai‘i debut on Monday, Oct. 4 at the boba shop on South King Street and you can bet I was there.
In real life, each of the six baos turns out to be more adorable than the last. The bunny and cloud buns are plain but the others have fillings: taro for the onigiri, caramel for the boba, red bean for the apple, and sweet yam for the pig. I’m happy to report they’re not just cute—they’re delicious. The steamed buns are pillowy soft; even the plain ones are hard to stop eating. They have a delicate flavor, like freshly baked white bread, with a slight hint of sweetness. Flavor-wise, my favorites are the pig and onigiri, whose fillings aren’t overly sweet and pair perfectly with the warm, soft dough. Because you know I had to devour all six. For research.
Afterward, my stomach is full and my mind is full of questions. Questions like why, Rabbit Rabbit Tea? Why bao buns? No other boba shop in Hawai‘i has these.
The answers come from owner Alice Chan, who was born and raised in Taichung, Taiwan, the birthplace of boba milk tea. Chan opened Rabbit Rabbit Tea’s first Hawai‘i shop in ‘Aiea in 2019 and the second on King Street near University Avenue this past spring. On a recent trip back to Taiwan, she discovered kawaii buns. This set her transpacific plan in motion.
Workers in Taiwan make the buns by hand, paying meticulous attention to details like the blush on each bao bun’s cheeks. They’re sold in sets of five for $24.95 (one of each filled bao and either a plain cloud or rabbit bun), either freshly steamed or frozen to store and heat at home.
And oh yes! Rabbit Rabbit Tea also sells boba drinks, some with names as cute as the new buns. Best sellers are brown sugar boba with fresh milk, Mango Madness, Queen of Hearts Mojito, Pinky Bunny Smoothie, and buckwheat milk tea with golden boba. A new line of “Buzzed Bunny” mocktails that debuted also on Oct. 4 are made with Heineken 0.0 in a variety of flavors like mango, strawberry, grape, lychee, orange and pineapple. Chan’s go-to drinks are Mango Madness or Mountain Sprout Pure Tea topped with butterscotch milk foam. I personally am a fan of the buckwheat milk tea, Mango Parfait and Kyoto Matcha Latte.
A visit to Rabbit Rabbit Tea is like taking a whimsical trip down the rabbit hole—a kawaii, delicious rabbit hole. If you’re going for the buns, you’d better hop to it. If the buns are a hit, they may find their way onto the permanent menu. Otherwise, they will only be available for a limited time, and only at the King Street location.
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., 2700 S. King St., @rabbitrabbittea_hi
Special thanks to Stephanie Kuroda for assisting with the photos for this piece.