Ah, boba. That hyper-sugary delight, the Kryptonite of many a sweet-toothed child. For those unfamiliar with the term, “boba” is one of many names for a super-sweet tea drink that originated in the tiny tea shops of Taichung, Taiwan in the 1980s. The drink, also known as bubble tea or pearl milk tea (珍珠奶茶 zhen zhu nai cha), is named for the balls of tapioca starch it contains, though the term has since broadened in scope to contain the wide variety of teas, smoothies and milkshakes served up by drinks shops such as Mr. Fruits and itea. It’s especially well-loved among kids, who can’t get enough of the endless flavors and giant straws that make it such a novelty.
Nowadays, the craze has spread from its native Taiwan to tea shops across the Asian-populated world. However, most tea shops outside Taiwan can’t seem to get it right, serving up watery excuses for the coveted drink. Where can native Beijingers get their hands on a delicious cup of boba?
The answer lies in Kalakap. Unlike most cheap tea stands, this shop puts a classy and colorful spin on both its ambiance and its drinks. With friendly and efficient staff, an extensive menu of drinks, and speedy service, it’s hard to be disappointed here. Astonishing customizability is another plus: choose between tapioca or different flavors of jelly, adjust the sweetness (either 0, 30, 50, 70 or 100%), pick between hot or cold drinks, and select a medium (500ml) or upgrade to a large (700ml) for only RMB 2. Their boba is excellent, but it doesn’t hurt to be adventurous—the Japanese matcha shake (RMB 15) is delicious, and kids will love the chance to add coconut jelly (椰果 ye guo) for only RMB 2.
Bagou-area Beijingers will be delighted to know that this diamond in the rough is located conveniently in Wanliu Mall, just a few steps from line 10 Bagou exit C2. Scoop up your drink and be on your merry way—if your stomach isn’t yet filled with all that delicious boba, Maiquer, BreadTalk, Baskin-Robbins, and other tasty treats lie just ahead.