Photos by Haritha Pavuluri, Words by Deborah Wong
Coming from Hong Kong where bubble tea is part of my daily diet, I am choosy when it comes to rewarding a bubble tea shop in Boston with my stamp of approval. Surprisingly, I don’t travel all the way to Chinatown when I crave that sweet goodness. Kung Fu Tea
After a four-to-five hour bus ride to New York, my friends and I were dying of thirst. The first shop we saw was Kung Fu Tea, a clean (which is rare) bubble tea shop that could probably only hold 15-20 customers but still had a massive HD screen television. I immediately ordered my favorite, taro milk tea. Once my friends and I took our first sips, our eyes bulged and we glanced at each other, signaling that our drinks tasted like home. Once I received the Facebook event that Kung Fu Tea was opening in Allston, I immediately clicked “attending.”
This is Kung Fu Tea’s first time to branch out of New York. It’s a hole-in-the-wall store but there is always a line formed by Boston University students that almost overflows out of the door. The room was designed similar to the one in New York where fancy HD TVs display the menu. Once I order my usual, it had the same consistency as the drink I had in New York. The tea was smooth and didn’t have any chunky powder bits in the bottom that many shops in Boston have. What I love about bubble tea is gnawing on the boba or tapioca balls, and Kung Fu Tea’s boba has a uniquely sweet taste along with a soft, chewy texture.
Of course you have your typical options of milk tea, taro milk tea and green flavors but you also have the Kung Fu Coffee and their famous creation, “Wow Milk". These drinks have a thicker texture because of the herbal jelly, red bean or green bean mixed with the boba and condensed milk. Many people cringe when they hear red or green beans in their foods or drinks, but it’s an acquired taste and texture and are used for many Asian desserts. Even though their regular milk tea is the most popular, if you want to be brave and open yourself up to unusual Asian delights, then order one of their Wow Milk at least once.
Infusions Tea Spa
Infusions Tea Spa is easier to find since it’s right across from the street filled with different Asian cuisines. It’s quieter than Kung Fu Tea because it’s sometimes a place where Boston University students go when they want to study in the afternoon. Free wi-fi, a quiet space and a variety of mouthwatering tea and snacks? It’s a perfect spot away from campus and to hit the books. Infusions Tea Spa may not be as creative with their flavors, but they’re different because they also sell popular Chinese or Taiwanese snacks. Sometimes they have a special promotion where they sell both snacks and boba tea for a special price.
One of my favorite local Hong Kong snacks is the condensed milk brick toast, which is toast smothered with condensed milk. Now you’re probably thinking that is way too much condensed milk in my diet, but that’s how we Hong Kong people roll. Crunching down on that toast reminds me of the local restaurants back home who always had that on their menu, no matter the time of day.
What’s great about Infusions Tea Spa is you can customize your drink by adjusting the sugar level and the amount of ice you want. Personally, I like to order my drink with “less sugar", especially if I'm accompanying my rich tea with my favorite toast spread with condensed milk. Infusions Tea Spa not only receives my stamp of approval for their bubble teas, but also for their Chinese/Taiwanese snacks.
Kung Fu Tea 131 Harvard Avenue Allston, MA 02134 (617)-783-3388
Hours: Mon-Sun 11am-11pm
Infusions Tea Spa 110 Brighton Avenue Allston, MA 02134 (617) 254-1122
Hours: Mon-Fri 12 pm - 11 pm Sat-Sun 10 pm - 11 pm