Asian cafes sweeten time with friends


Photo used with permission of Nicole Zhang.

A wide variety of drinks with customizable toppings can be found at Gong Cha.

Claire Baek, Staff Writer

Warm pastries and bittersweet matcha desserts are just a few of the offerings found in the many Asian cafes in the Chantilly area. Visiting cafes is an enlightening activity for those feeling adventurous or those just wanting a place to chill and take pictures. 


Who Seek 

For those looking for an Instagrammable dessert and coffee spot, Who Seek is the place to find. Located in Chantilly, Who Seek is known for their authentic bingsoo, an Asian dessert made of milk shaved ice and a variety of toppings dependent on the flavor ordered. Who Seek has 18 different bingsoo flavors along with desserts such as milkshakes, sundaes, drinks and dessert toast, an Asian style french toast with different fruits and is usually topped off with ice cream or whipped cream. In addition, they also have Croffles, which are a mix between croissants and waffles. 

“I tried the Mango Cheesecake bingsoo and it was really good and pretty,” freshman Samya Trivedi said. “I took so many pictures with my friends in the store.”

All menu items are between $10 to $15 and are big in portions, so it is recommended to share with friends or family. The ordered desserts and drinks have to be picked up in the hidden seating area, which is accessible by going through a sliding door and a short hallway, located behind the store.


Semicolon Cafe 

For those looking for a cafe with both savory and sweet options, Semicolon Cafe is a perfect place to visit. Located in Sully Place Shopping Center, Semicolon Cafe is known for their variety of options such as healthy salads, unique sandwiches, icy bingsoos and both hot and cold drinks. The sandwiches are served on buttered toast with unique sauces and the salads are a delicious healthy alternative. 

“I love how they have many menu options because the portions are perfect to share with friends or family,” freshman Ashley Cho said. “The cafe is very clean and gives up a nice relaxing vibe. I like that the tables aren’t too close together so that each table has their own privacy.” 

Prices differ depending on the items ordered, with sandwiches ranging from $9 to $11 and desserts ranging from $6 to $8. According to the Semicolon team, they would like to act as a place to stop, eat, and rest in the middle of the day, like a semicolon separates two independent clauses.


Gong Cha

 For those who are feeling adventurous, head right to Gong Cha. With locations in both Centreville and Chantilly, Gong Cha is known for their bubble tea and bubble waffles, an Asian dessert that is made of waffle batter and shaped into bubbles instead of squares. They are usually filled with ice cream, whipped cream and different toppings. Gong Cha prepares freshly brewed tea and perfectly cooked pearls for bubble tea throughout the day. 

“The staff are super nice, but I think people either like boba or don’t,” freshman Meghana Potla said. “It’s definitely worth giving it a try. I tried it last year and I’ve been obsessed ever since.” 

Prices differ between $5 to $8 for drinks. The menu has a wide variety of milk teas, slushes and refreshing fruit teas. In addition, they provide several options for toppings as well such as grass jelly, popping boba and nata jelly. 


O’Bread & Cake 

For those looking for exotic, Asian style pastries, O’Bread & Cake is the place to visit. Located in Centreville, the fairy lights give a warm, cozy mood to the cafe. O’Bread & Cake sells Asian pastries as well as cakes and drinks. Asian pastries use unique ingredients such as red bean paste, white bean paste, chestnuts and sweet potato. The cafe bakes fresh bread every morning before opening. It is recommended to come before noon because the bread sells out quickly. 

“The variety of bread is crazy and they also have gluten free options,” freshman Carrie Chia said. “I asked for recommendations and the staff nicely recommended the traditional red bean walnut bread. The bread was fluffy and not overly sweet, which I personally really liked.”

To prevent allergy problems, the ingredients are listed under the name of each bread. The cafe sells both whole and sliced cakes, which range around $5 for sliced cake and $26-$36 depending on the size. In addition, there are many types of drinks such as coffee, smoothies and fresh squeezed juices, which range around $4 to $6. 


Matcha Cafe Maiko

Calling all matcha and hojicha lovers to Matcha Cafe Maiko for Valentines Day. Located in Centreville and McLean, Matcha Cafe Maiko is known for their green tea desserts and drinks. Matcha, also known as green tea, is a tea made out of finely ground green tea leaves that are often used in Asian pastries and drinks. In addition, they also sell hojicha desserts and drinks. Hojicha is a spicier kind of tea also made of grounded green tea leaves. All their products are imported from Uji, Japan. 

“I am not much of a green tea fan, but I actually really enjoyed this cafe,” freshman Isabella Pazos said. “The cafe’s interior gives off Japanese anime vibes. I got the matcha ice cream float and it had a very strong matcha flavor.”

For those who don’t like sweet drinks, the sugar level is controllable and toppings can be added such as tapioca pearls. There is a cute seating area and there are also many restaurants around the store, creating the perfect place to stop by any day.