Presenting Palgong Tea


Zahra Ghadeer

Palgong Tea opened in February and serves up teas and unique treats in Hinsdale.

On Friday, Feb. 23, Palgong Tea launched its soft opening in Hinsdale, Ill. Located only 0.6 miles from Hinsdale Central, Palgong Tea is a cafe which serves varieties of tea, boba, coffee, smoothies, and Korean corn dogs.

The cafe presides in a small strip mall inside the quiet suburban neighborhoods of Madison street. The cafe franchise emerged in South Korea in 2017, and now contains more than 400 stores in South Korea. Since then, Palgong Tea has expanded to the North American continent, with more than 10 locations in Canada. The chain recently spread to the United States as well, as the location in Hinsdale became the third addition to the franchise’s chain in the US. 

“Palgong Tea, if you look at our logo, actually stands for 80 degrees,” said Premal Patel, the owner of the Palgong Tea cafe in Hinsdale. “ The P-A-L stands for eight, and the G-O-N-G stands for zero. This is the ideal temperature in Celsius to brew the tea.”

The cafe serves a wide variety of drinks, including yogurt drinks, smoothies, herbal teas, coffees, and much more. In fact, Palgong Tea has something to offer for every age.

“In the morning generally you’ll see all generations because we also have herbal tea as well,” Patel said. “We also have different varieties of coffee as well. For like the young generation, they like bubble tea.”

With a previous location in Glenview, Ill., the location in Hinsdale already proves to be a hit among Hinsdale Central students, motivating many students to get a job at the cafe. 

“I grew up in Chicago, mainly Chinatown where there are thousands of boba stores in one place,” said JianPing Feng, junior. “I wanted to work in a boba shop since I was little. When I saw that a boba shop nearby was planning to open, I applied immediately.”

Zahra Ghadeer

Currently, eight students from Hinsdale Central are employed at the cafe. For many students, the cafe represents their first opportunity at having a job.

“This is my first job,” said Eunice Kwon, sophomore. “I got this job because I really enjoy boba, and I’ve been to the first location before. The working environment is very relaxed and friendly.”

This positive sentiment about the working environment is shared by other employees as well.

“The working environment is very nice,” Feng said. “The boss is really nice and the same with the coworkers. We all get along well.”

Furthermore, the close proximity of the cafe and minimalist decor seems to attract many students. 

“I loved the service here,” said Hannah Fang, sophomore. “I also love the simplicity of the design of the restaurant and how it’s very open with many chairs to sit at… It was so convenient to come here because it was really close [to Hinsdale Central].”

One of the aspects which sets Palgong Tea apart from other boba cafes in the area includes their Korean corn dogs. According to Patel, the corn dogs originate from Korea (as explained in the name) and blend with the rest of the drink-based menu.

“[Customers] don’t want to just eat tea, they want something else to grab on as well. So we decided to go with the corn dogs,” Patel said. 

This detail to the menu has not gone unnoticed. In fact, many customers agree that the Korean corn dogs are one of the best parts of the cafe, including this customer who has made repeated returns.  

Zahra Ghadeer

“The corn dogs were so good,” Fang said. “The melty gooey cheese was just so delectable. The golden-brown fried potatoes were so crispy. The corn dogs were so good that I’ve been thinking about the corndogs all week but I have no self control so I’ve been buying them after school. This store already has been the reason I’m going broke.”

The owner of the store is considering adding new corn dog flavors onto the menu, such as Ramen noodles and Fruity Pebbles. 

We are working on different corndog flavors,” Patel said. “So we are coming up with a Ramen Noodle corn dog. We also are coming up with Fruity Pebbles corn dog with powdered sugar on it. We tested it and it seemed a lot of people liked that one too.”

If you would like to visit Palgong Tea, the cafe is located at 5811 S. Madison St., Hinsdale, Ill.