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How does Quickly compare to Sweetheart?

Quickly or kuai ke li stores seem to be sprouting, um, quickly.
How do they compare to Sweetheart Cafes? The drinks, the snacks?

The first 4 pictures are taken in Oakland (new, 328 10th St
at Harrison & Webster), and the second 2 are taken near the Mission in San Francisco.

Oakland's 10th street is turning into a restaurant street.

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  1. massive chain with low prices.
    really doesn't hurt to try.
    although the only thing ive ever gotten at sweetheart was their durian drink.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Lynda Vuong

      Yes, I did try the durian "snow" smoothie, and didn't realize it wasn't a boba drink. The whole thing was white, sweet, icy and slightly weak.

      Their snack offerings look cute and enticing. Next time. When I don't forget to stop by before eating somewhere else.

    2. The pictures don't post in the main post.

      Let's try here. (Oakland)

        1. I don't know if you could see it clearly (the 4th picture above), but the menu is delightful.

          Turnip cake $2.99
          Fried dace balls,
          Mixed fruit grass(?) jelly $4.99
          Fried shrimp or
          Cheese sticks $2.99
          Sweet potato fries $2.99
          Homemade French fries $1.99
          Peanut butter waffle or
          Pop dogs $2.99
          Summer hot banana berry snow $3.50
          Watermelon and aloe delight or
          Mango and coconut delight $3.99
          Durian snow $3.99
          Avocado snow
          Papaya milk $3.75

          And here's the menu board on the wall.

          1. I have only been to Quickly once in San Francisco (the one at Castro and Market) and the jasmine green tea with tapioca pearls I had was fine. In general, I find Quickly's boba to be too soft....this is based on Quickly in NYC and San Francisco. I guess this would vary from place to place though.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Dave MP

              Here's their website.

              Perhaps it's worth finding out which ones are better than others.

              1. re: Dave MP

                Having been addicted to boba drinks for quite some time, I find that the batches of tapioca can vary quite a bit, from sweetness to firmness. I found that the Tapioca
                Express green tea, no milk, tasted more tea like and the Quickly was not as good. Snacks vary from store to store as well.

              2. I don't usually get snacks at milk tea joints, so I could only comment on the drinks.

                The quality at Quickly tends to vary really widely from store to store. Most of the times that I've been to the Quickly on Polk, the pearls have been very bad -- wrong texture, torn up, with hard, practically unchewable bits -- so, not the least bit like a pearl should be: lightly soft and chewy, with a bit of bounce, and more-or-less spherical. I've pretty much given up on the Polk location. The one on Castro/Market is better, and I'd probably put the one at 24th/Mission somewhere between those two. I think of the Quickly stores I've been to, my favorite might be the one on Ocean, which can be sort of out-of-the-way, depending on where you are. I haven't been to the other SF ones recently enough to rank them well.

                I prefer Sweetheart over Quickly by a large margin, though I have only been to the Oakland branch of Sweetheart. The tea is nice and full-bodied, and not overly sweet, and the pearls are generally good. The one thing I might fault them on is that the pearl to liquid ratio is too high, but it doesn't stop me from getting tea there anyway.

                Ming Yuen in Oakland (on the edge of the Pac Ren Plaza) used to be one of my favorites in that area too, but I haven't been by in awhile.

                2 Replies
                1. re: shortexact

                  if Ming Yuen is the place on the Webster side of PRP, i think they changed owners recently.

                  1. re: kc72

                    Yes, that's the one! Thanks for the head's up, I think it may be time to pay them another visit to check things out.

                    I hope they still accept my old frequent buyer card which is almost full :-)

                2. I agree, Sweetheart in Oakland is my favorite in the Chinatown area but it varies as the one in Berkeley isn't as good.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: soft tofu

                    Sweetheart Cafe on 9th in Oakland is absolutely the best, even better than the Clement store. The Berkeley one is closest to me, and it's all right, but never as good as the Oakland mother store. Berkeley store offers fish balls on a stick, etc. but I don't remember the Oakland store offering anything hot, and they have a big selection of funky candy, and always a looong line.

                  2. Nothing can beat Sweetheart's soymilk boba drinks.

                    1. After reading and participating in this thread today, I went and got bubble tea at the Quickly at Castro. I got a regular jasmine green tea (no milk) w/ boba. It was OK. The boba were pretty good, but like I remembered, a bit soft for my taste. But I've definitely had WAY worse, so overall probably a 7 out of 10. The tea was way too sweet, but I could have avoided this by saying "not too sweet" when I ordered, which I failed to do.

                      Dave MP