̶E̶̶a̶̶t̶ Drink Around the World in the Queen City: BOBA

Not that we are BUBBLE TEA or BOBA experts but we’ve drank our fair share of this delicious little treat that is FINALLY (thank the heavens!!!) becoming more readily available in the Queen City. Before, we had to either go make a trek to our favorite Asian market in Stallings, NC or go to one of the few hole in the wall Vietnamese restaurants on South Blvd to satisfy our BOBA craving, and some times it wasn’t even that good because either the boba wasn’t cooked right or because they use powdered flavoring. Either way, it just wasn’t cutting it–but now, there are more places opening up in the QC and we are all for it!!! #bobaislife and our blood type is milk tea so bring on all the tea houses. Here’s our quick little guide on where to find it and how to order your boba fix in Charlotte as part of our Eat Around the World in the Queen City series.

ICYMI: Our first post in these series featuring international cuisines to help you travel the world right here in your own backyard without your passport but just an open mind and your tasting palate!
Eat Around the World in the QC: Kabab Je
Eat Around the World in the QC: Tandur Kitchen

where to order in the QC:

Central Tea House
3000 Central Ave #6, Charlotte, NC 28205

They also serve banh mi, some apps, and a display case of baked goods.

1204 Central Ave Ste 102, Charlotte, NC 28204

The newest spot to open up in CLT–they have one of the most ‘complicated’ menus we have seen because they really offer a lot of different flavors and combinations. Check out their Insta or website for recommended flavors if you’re overwhelmed with the menu board.

Around The World Cafe
5110 Park Rd 1-K, Charlotte, NC 28209

In addition to bubble tea, they also offer ROLLED ICE CREAM and few in-house baked goods.

Banh Mi & Tea Company
2130 Ayrsley Town Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28273

They have banh mi and all sorts of other apps like fried calamari at this spot. We enjoy grabbing a banh mi here along with our boba.

Queen City Tea Bar
3615 Whitehall Park Dr, Charlotte, NC 28273

We’ve only stopped in for their boba, but they also serve snacks and apps. They cater to students and even offer a discount on certain days so bring your student card!

House of Leng in Cochran Commons
2712 W Mallard Creek Church Rd #430, Charlotte, NC 28262

This is a Chinese restaurant that happens to offer bubble tea–and (un)fortunately, it’s too often a go-to lunch for Kriska while at work. If you need a DoorDash or GrubHub code, please let us know so Kriska can at least get a discount on future orders!

Banh Mi Brothers
230 E W.T. Harris Blvd suite a7, Charlotte, NC 28262

This is another one of Kriska’s lunch delivery orders–so help a sister out and use her referral code! But this restaurant is also known for their loaded fries!

New Asia Market
4400 Potter Rd, Stallings, NC 28104

Said grocery store that we could get boba from whenever we have used up our 50-lb bag of rice and need to restock on it and all of our other Filipino food cravings! We love this Asian market because it’s fairly open, has an easy layout, does not have a very strong smell (except by the seafood counter but it is a mark of very fresh products), and more importantly, they carry a fairly good amount of Filipino products. Their boba is really good–especially the Thai Tea. We have officially turned a fellow CLT-Monroe foodie on to this spot, and it’s basically her favorite boba place now!

how to order:

So, now that you know where to pick up boba–how and what to order?

Our top go-to favorite flavors are hands down the Thai Tea and Mango with boba–but mango in the US is just not as good as the ones we’ve had back in the Philippines. Unfortunately, it’s often made with powdered flavoring here in the US so it often tastes artificial–but if you do find a spot that uses REAL mangos or real mango juice (at least), then give it a try! We have also been into milk tea, since our trip to Singapore back in January.

Our cousin introduced us to the flavor–and it’s just perfectly sweet and refreshing! Some places offer you the option of ordering it as black, green, or oolong tea–Kriska just happens to prefer the oolong, but who knows!

Sometimes if we’re in the mood for it, we’ve also ordered matcha and Vietnamese coffee with boba in a few places. On an extremely hot day, we’ve also ordered fruit teas–like lychee or passionfruit. The options can be intimidating when you walk into a tea house but here are a few basics:

  1. Black | Green | Oolong: these are 3 different kinds of teas often used as bases for bubble teas. Black tea is typically bold but probably a good introductory pick because most sweet tea that’s served in the South is some form of black tea {it’s also the most commonly used tea in the Western world so it will be likely more familiar}. Green teas are typically sweeter in nature but can sometimes be very HERB-Y or grassy! Oolong is kind of the in-between but can be super complex with some very interesting flavors like honey or vanilla and floral notes–so we’d recommend asking what kind of oolong tea they serve if you’re interested in trying something new!
  2. Toppings! Basic tea shops may only offer the most common TAPIOCA pearls or BOBA but some may have additional options.

    Tapioca pearls: when cooked properly, these are translucent and perfectly sweet and chewy. These should not be al dente and have a bite (uncooked white center).

    Jellies: whether they are cubed or in some rectangular or star shape, these are often fruit-flavored like mango, lychee, coconut, grass jelly, coffee, etc.

    Popping pearls: these are kind of weird–at least to us. Just as in the description, they will pop/burst and some form of juice will come out and you’ll have this edible film left. It’s an interesting added texture to the drink but sometimes the film and the popping is a weird experience.

    Ice cream: some shops may actually offer ice cream as an added mix-in.

    Milk cap: made in some combination of milk/cream/salt/cheese, the frothy layer adds another dimension of texture and sometimes that nuance of saltiness to just add to the boba experience.
  3. Other customizations:

    Sweetness level: We like when a tea shop offers this option because sometimes some flavors do tend to be clawingly sweet, and also if you’re watching your sugar intake, it’s nice to have the option!

    Ice level: Just in case you prefer to have a less cold drink, some places will also offer less ice!

So there you have it! Our little guide to bubble tea in the Queen City. We hope that you venture out and try out this treat. Let us know if you like it…or just find it weird.

Y’all! We had initially introduced this as ExploreCLT Neighborhood Ambassadors when we first visited Bachi.CLT, and we are super excited to bring it back to life on our site.

Click here for our ExploreCLT post on Bachi.CLT  and ICYMI: our first post in these series featuring international cuisines to help you travel the world right here in your own backyard without your passport but just an open mind and your tasting palate!
Eat Around the World in the QC: Kabab Je
Eat Around the World in the QC: Tandur Kitchen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: