I’m Asian and every Asian can’t go on without a good cup Bubble Tea.
Some of you may be wondering what is Bubble tea? Bubble tea or Boba as they call it in some places is a popular Asian drink that has been adapted from Taiwan. It is a great alternative to drinking the plain milk that many kids do not like. It consists of a sweetened milk tea mix with the options of additional flavoring such as taro, redbean, honeydew, almond, etc. Often the drink is also added with tapioca pearls, which makes it a pearl milk tea. You can of course also make smoothies and slushies as well. Every time I stop by Chicago, I have to go to Joy Yee for their gigantic sized bubble tea. Here’s a picture just to make your mouth water.
Bubble tea as been international recognized for many years now spreading from Taiwan to Mainland China, the UK, Canada, and the U.S. I have been an avid fan of bubble tea since I was 11 years old! I am always on the hunt for a good glass of this creamy milk tea.
So what has Ann Arbor offered me? Surprisingly, in such a small town there’s two famous places, Momo Tea and Bubble Island, that are famous for serving this delicious drink. Both located close to the intersection of S. Forest and S. University.So how are they different/unique?
As soon as you step into Bubble Island, you get the modern college student feel. It is a popular place for students to just gather and play games such as Monopoly, Taboo, and Jenga. With the recent renovation this past year, it is not much brighter and warm.
Momo Tea, which open only over 3 years ago is still a rather new place. The inside gives you an authentic Taiwanese shop feel. It is roomier compared to bubble island, with more seating space and dimmer lighting.
Who doesn’t like choices? The more the merrier right?
At Bubble Island, there are the main categories of smoothie, milk tea, turtle tea (milk tea with coffee), and fusion tea (plain tea). Each of the categories can be paired with flavorings such as Honeydew, Taro, Orea, Almond, Passion Fruit, Strawberry. There are about 12 flavoring to select from the list and you can mix and match flavors together to make you unique blend. On top of that you can also add in tapioca (Black or pink), mango stars, or my personal favorite, lychee jellies. Outside of drinks, there are some comfort food offered by bubble island, such as their delicious curly fries, popcorn chicken, fried dumplings, and mochi ice cream.
At Momo Tea, the menu is quite long and I feel as if I have yet to master it completely. You can select milk tea, plain tea, as well as smoothies. Each tea mix you can also have the choice of green or black tea. There are some unique flavoring such as Green Mango, black sugar, ginger, and avocado. Their add-ins are quite unique with pudding, grass jelly, and ayu jelly as possible choices. Along with the wide selection of drink options, Momo Tea’s food menu offers very authentic Taiwanese appetizers and entrees. There’s mince pork rice, popcorn chicken, and congee.
So you must be wondering, so how much difference could there really be in milk tea? Well truthfully it is art to make just the right blend of milk and tea flavor. You don’t want the sweetness from the milk to over power the fresh tea flavor, but you also don’t want the bitterness of the tea to scare you away from finishing the drink.
Well we are going to put the Taro milk tea to the test. Taro is one of my favorite flavoring in milk tea. I like the creamy taste of Taro mixed in with the smooth milk tea consistency.
Left: Bubble Island Taro Milk Tea with Black Tapioca
Right: Momo Tea Taro Milk Tea with Green Tea with Black Tapioca
They look quite similar in terms of packaging. Both have the purple hue from the Taro. Bubble Island prices the drink at $3.44 + tax and Momo Tea prices its drink at $3.89 + tax. In terms of taste Bubble Island has more milk and sugar favoring. The Taro also taste a bit artificially sweetened. Momo’s milk tea has a strong hint of tea that is noticeable with the sweet Taro.
WHO REIGNS SUPREME?
Even though the price is steeper and they have a less flexible $4 card policy, there’s nothing that can beat it’s more authentic taste. If I am going to get milk tea, I want both the milk and tea experience without being over powered by the sugary taste. But once again, it is a personal choice. As always, the best way for you to find our favorite blend is to go and try it out!