Friday, December 24, 2010

Jackie's Guide to SoCal Boba :)

So if you follow my twitter you probably always hear me harp about how I don't like certain types of boba and how I think SoCal boba is always a winner. You're probably wondering...well why do you care? Well let me tell you that I'm seriously addicted to boba! I love me a good cup of boba like how a fine wine connoisseur loves a vintage glass of wine.

So what's boba? For those of you that don't know, boba (also known by its other names bubble tea and tapioca milk tea) is a popular Asian drink that hails all the way from Taiwan- it all began when a tea shop owner experimented with different ways to inspire children and adults alike to enjoy cold milk tea. Usually it consists of a sweetened milk tea where it is optional to add flavorings- such as: honey, almond, honeydew etc...but it can also be a slushee fruit drink as well :)

Since you guys always hear me talk about how California boba is better, let me tell you why. There's just a different standard for boba here: all the shops make it fairly well, so you have to be able to compete if you want business. To me the perfect cup of milk tea is not diluted and sweet and flavorful enough to be enjoyed on it's own. The perfect boba (or tapioca pearls) should be sweet and chewy, but with no hard center. I've had boba all over the united states, and I promise you the best cup is waiting for you in California :) So here I will tell you my favorite places to go, and the drinks they specialize in.

Los Angeles Area

AU-79 - Arcadia and San Gabriel locations
If you are in the 626 area (Alhambra, San Gabriel, Monterey Park, Arcadia, San Marino etc) you are one lucky soul! 626 is the mecca for authentic, cheap and delicious Asian food in southern California. AU-79 is authentic in the aspect that the focus is their delicious teas- milk teas, green teas etc. Get the pink boba, it's not only cute but really sweet and yummy as well :)

Half & Half- San Gabriel and Monterey Park locations
One of those places you don't really go to for milk tea- it's kind of bitter and just doesn't taste that good. The star here is their iced milk drink with honey boba and pudding. Sounds weird, and trust me I'm picky and I hate weird, but it is one of the most addicting drinks I've ever tried. The textures and flavors together compliment each other so well, delicious :)

The first time I went here was with my boyfriend, and being the horrible conniving girlfriend I am I forced him to get the iced milk drink since he's far less pickier than I am LOL. Well karma bit me in the butt with that one and I ended up hating the milk tea and stealing all of his drink- so trust me. Even though it sounds horrendous it's delicious and me and my friends all HIGHLY recommend it :)

Orange County Area

Tastea- Garden Grove
DO NOT. And I mean DO NOT get milk tea here..I had one sip of mine and threw it out LOL. This place is known for their delicious fruit slushees :) My favorite is mango all the way, its a delicious icy sweet drink with real mango chunks inside! And of course I get boba added in ;]

Cha For Tea- Irvine, Ca
This establishment is in walking distance from UCI. The milk teas here are some of the best :) In more authentic tea houses I recommend the milk teas over any slushee drinks- as they definitely do them right. Their tea is sweet, and one of my favorites from any of the tea-focused shops is Royal Milk Tea. It's made with Earl Grey Tea and is slightly sweeter and super flavorful :)

Ten Rens- Riverside, Ca
Who would of thought good boba exists in the middle of the inland empire? This is actually my favorite Ten Rens location I've ever been to ( I think all the ones in LA are just O.K) . Should you ever run through however, this place makes some of the best milk teas and slushees I've ever had. All their milk teas are excellent, and so is their strawberry kiwi green tea- it comes with little strawberry bits ^_^

Tapioca Express- Convoy St. in San Diego, Ca
I only get one thing when I visit here: watermelon juice with boba and mango jelly. Its SO delicious I tell you, everyone whose tried it has not regretted it ;] I wouldn't recommend the milk teas though as they're awful here.

Tea Station- San Diego, Ca
I truly believe these are my favorite tea station locations that I've ever been to. They have two locations, one in Mira Mesa and another on Clairemont Mesa Blvd but they're both VERY good. However if you are visiting I would suggest stopping by the Clairemont location because Convoy St. is right around the corner- where lots of delicious cheap Asian food awaits you. Milk teas are the highlight here, and so are their jelly ice drinks (if you don't like tea) that are flavorful slushees mixed with pieces of fruity jell-o throughout :)

So there you go! I hope you guys enjoy :)
But in any place that I mention the milk teas are great- I seriously suggest trying Royal Milk Tea if it's an option. It's my favorite because it's so sweet and flavorful =]
Also, many of the tea houses do have great slushees and green teas, but I personally like to make the focus milk teas since they are more traditional (and in my opinion delicious ;] ) but tweet at me if you ever have any questions and I'll be glad to answer! My twitter sn is: Mszjackiechu ...just like all my other Sn's LOL Take care guys :)

Yes, I drank it all LOL. Stomach hurt...but I would not be defeated!
I figure it's like how a monster cup of beer is to my friends...all at once thrilling but intimidating at the same time

And I hope you guys have a safe and fun holiday season ^_^
Sincerely, Jackie Chu :D

PS. please note I took many of these pictures off the Internet and do not own them- I just think blog posts are immensely more interesting with pretty pictures to look at. LOL

PPS. Please note those photos of me were taken at Sago in Flushing, NY. Flushing is like the chinatown of queens :) I go there whenever I visit, but it's not a favorite. However in places where the milk tea is kind of subpar I find that adding honey to your milk tea (or getting the honey milk tea option) makes it significantly better and more tasty :D


Caroline said...

I love this blog post! Anyone who doesnt like boba is... well, strange. Hahaha, thank you so much, I cant wait to check out the boba place in RS next time we drop my sister off at UCR! I must admit though its nice being a san diegan and being able to try out all the boba places on convoy (TapEx is LOVE!) :DD Happy Holidays Jackie! <3

blushfully by cendana said...

hehehe love this post! for the love of bubble tea! i just call them bubble tea hahaha... =p yum yum yum

kawaiikao said...

ahh i love this post haha!! half and half is ultimate fav. i either get that drink or their mocha latte if i need some caffeine :p

Alice said...

thanks for the suggestions! :D im a hugeee boba fan as well and i even feel like drinking one atm :P lol you are so pretty btw! :)

Hyoriu said...

Have you tried tapioca in houston?!?

Sara said...

Ahh. I love bubble tea. Just today I bought some instant milk teas and tapioca balls to make at home when I'm craving it! My fave is taro!

mszjackiechu said...

Aww Caroline its been awhile!
Hahah and yes San Diego does have a lot of great spots, just not much to do
I hope you have a nice holiday season too ^_^

blushfully-LOL yea I always say "can I have boba" in my drinks in NY and they just give me weird faces LOL I always forget

kawaii-ahh man..half and half...that drink..I dream about it I swear LOL

Alice- thank you so much ^_^ Im a huge boba fan as well :D sigh. best thing ever haha

Hyori- no unfortunately I haven't =[

Sara- have you ever found the instant ones to be any good? All the ones ive tried are awful LOL

pfefi said...

Omigosh this is super comprehensive and useful! Bad boba tea is definitely a pet peeve of mine, also. I have a bad habit of ordering it at pho places and am always horribly disappointed. >.<

pfefi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angela said...

:< you didn't go to my favorite bubble tea place in flushing! I really hate Sago I don't know how people love it so much.. its also more expensive =/
ten ren has good tea but the tapioca's pretty blend..
the place i like is between sago and joe's shanghai.. i wish someone told you about it when you were in NY.

cjx3pooh said...

Wow I always go to Tapioca Express for milk tea, I guess I'll try Tea Station next time then. The thing about watermelon juice for me is why drink the juice when I can just eat watermelon which is delicious anyway? Lol. The rest of the places I haven't even heard of, I guess that's what I get living in NorCal

Michelle said...

Great post!! I love coffee boba!!!! ^_^

Ashlyn said...

Boba is pretty amazing isnt it! I love the pictures along with your blogpost. Too bad I dont live in Cali to enjoy any of the places you mentioned. Keep up the good work!

[Jakester] said...

hi Jackie~
new fan here =)
im just wondering how much does it cost for a cup of bubble tea there?
cuz i live in Taiwan and it cost me bout a dollar...(TWD30)

elleovely said...

omgosh what an amazing post!! I think I may have finally found someone as crazy as I am about bubble tea! If you ever visit Toronto, let me know. I'll give you the inside scoop on which restaurants & shops are good at which specific types of drinks :)