My boyfriend and I decided to drop by new Hui Lan Shan in Milpitas earlier tonight. It's located right under ABC Seafood.
The place really seems like an Asian Jamba Juice. There are signs everywhere of mango and fruit, and many blenders behind the glassed-in counter. The Asian touch is that the tables are small rosewood ones with rosewood stools, like what you see at various Ten Ren teahouses. Contrary to what's been posted here, I didn't see any turtle jelly on the menu :)
The main ingredient that Hui Lan Shan focuses on is mango. There is mango pudding, mango drinks, mango drinks with mango, etc. The "strange" items on the menu would be various items containing:
- Harsmar: I'm not sure what this is, but it looked like a white, translucent cloud's ear mushroom, and tasted like a weak version of that
- Sago: What one thought of tapioca, before those bubble tea places became popular. Basically, small, white tapioca balls
- Bird's Nest: I didn't try this, so I don't know whether it's real bird's nest or not
My boyfriend ordered the double boiled harsmar with papaya. The waitress asked if we wanted it warm or cold, so we asked for her recommendation and she said she liked it cold, so we asked for it that way. The above-described harsmar arrived on the slightly-warm side, with cooked papaya in a slightly-sweet broth. The harsmar is a bit of an acquired taste, I think -- my boyfriend didn't like it at all and stopped eating it after two bites. However, it quickly grew on me -- the light sweetness of the broth melded well with the texture of the harsmar and the mouth-feel of the cooked papaya. I ate the rest of the bowl :)
I ordered the sago with mixed fruit in honeydew juice. The bowl came out with the sago mixed with the juice and the fresh mixed fruit (watermelon, strawberry, honeydew, kiwi, mango) on top. The juice was mixed with ice and was very cold -- this would be an excellent dessert for a hot Hong Kong day. The fruit is obviously out of season -- the watermelon, especially -- but it was still a nice, refreshing treat.
The place was totally crowded while we were there (about 9-10pm), which bodes well. The waitresses were friendly, but were very harried and often delivered the items to the wrong table and took forever to give us our checks. However, we'll be back, since it does seem like a healthy, refreshing dessert to get every now and then.
By the way, the Tokyo Ramen place next door was doing business, but when we got there (8.45pm) it was already closed! However, there was a chef behind the counter hand-making a big batch of dough, presumably for the ramen. I'm looking forward to trying it out soon!