Boba Craze found in Chinatown

| March 5, 2009 | 0 Comments

By: MJ Tam

Not that the whole Boba Craze is anything new, but it is somewhat still very foreign for some and I thought I can help in explaining what is all the hoopla over some drinks called Boba or what some people know as Bubble drinks/teas.

What is Boba anyway? Boba are these small tapioca (a root starch from the cassava plant) balls that are mixed in ice slushes or dessert drinks. My kids actually call it gummy balls since the texture is much like a gummy candy. These tapioca balls are soft in the outside but chewy and naturally sweet inside. The sweetness or sourness of these dessert drinks which are usually fruit flavored goes well with the tapioca balls, so don’t be afraid to try.

The next time you come and visit Chinatown, take a look around. You’ll notice that most Chinatown restaurants now have posters outside enticing you in for their Bubble Teas or Boba drinks; however, there are only 3 places I will suggest for you to try these drinks from.

  • Joy Yee Noodles, a Pan-Asian Restaurant located in Chinatown Square in my opinion has the best selections of these Boba / Tapioca drinks. They use fresh fruits and even have some exotic tropical fruits such as Durians, Lychees, Papayas, and more. This cheery and bright restaurant is one of my children’s favorite place to go. The delight in their faces show while picking from Joy Yee’s photographic drink menu. And yes, the food is yummy too! This is also one restaurant where you can order Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese and other Asian cuisines all at one place. Joy Yee Noodles can also be found in University Village, Evanston, and Naperville.

Joy Yee Noodles
2159 S. China Place
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 328-0001

  • 188517523_42207c36f0_mSaint’s Alp Teahouse – This Hong Kong chain now found here in Chicago and New york is the equivalent of Starbucks in US, but with way better food and for a way cheaper price.  But besides Boba drinks, their selection of milk teas are the best. I also even go out of my way to order their Curry Fried Rice to take home. Just the thought of it makes me want to run there to pick up some.  With a Boba drink of course. This mod looking restaurant is a great place to hang out and even have free wifi. This is also probably one of the only restaurants in Chinatown where you can easily maneuver those strollers through.

Saint’s Alp Teahouse
2131 S Archer Ave
Chicago, IL 60686
(312) 842-1886

  • Bobabar Café – This place is not necessarily a favorite of mine, but I believe that it is worth mentioning since I know a lot of friends who enjoys this place for their Boba and milk tea drinks. It is a pretty popular hangout place for a lot of the high school kids and quite inexpensive.

Boba Bar Cafe
2334 S Wentworth Ave
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 881-9298

I hope this will get you to go and try a boba soon and don’t forget to check again every other Thursday for the “Let Me Take You Down To Chinatown” series.

Saint’s Alps Teahouse Photo Credit: Diva Eva

This is an original Chicagonista article.

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Category: Cultural Voice, Eats & Sips

About the Author ()

Head Chicagonista, Co-host of the Chicagonista LIVE! show, Lead blogger for, and Co-Founder of Women Driving Excellence. MJ is also the annual host of SocialRevUp - Brands & Bloggers Summit (#bbsummit) attended by about 200 professional high-profile bloggers nationwide. Follow MJ on Twitter: @mjtam

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