HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


tapioca pearl iced tea

  • l

I just moved to L.A. from New York and there are some things I'm missing. One thing is tapioca pearl iced teas in different flavors. In NY, there are cafes with tea menus with pages of types of teas. You can get black tea, green tea, taro root, almond...Are there any places like that here? Does anyone know where I can get tapioca pearl iced tea? I would love some Monterrey Park/Chinatown suggestions, but in addition, I live in the South Bay. Does anyone know of any places to get tapioca teas around there? Thanks in advance.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Try two places in Brentwood on San Vicente. Zen Zoo has a huge tea menu, and Thai Fusion, a pretty good restaurant, serves tapioca pearl iced tea.

    1. If you live near Long Beach or Westminister/Little Saigon it may be worth it to check out the Vietnamese neighborhoods. In Long Beach (along E Anaheim St near Atlantic Ave), there are several Vietnamese restaurants serving the type of tea you describe.

      1. In the South Bay, try the branch of the excellent pho shop Pho 79 on Anaheim Street in Long Beach, which will have several different kinds of squishy teas as well as great noodle soup. Also worth investigating, though not necessarily for the tea, are the dozen Cambodian restaurants on that street: New Paradise stacks up rather nicely with the big seafood restaurants in Phnom Penh.

        1. There was an article in the LA times in feb/mar about tapioca ice tea at a really cool restaurant.

          Can't remember the name, but you should be able to find it in the archives

          1. There's a place in Chinatown called the Ten Ren teahouse that is in the mall that houses Pho 79 between Broadway and Hill just north of Ceasar Chavez. It has a huge selection of pearl "bo ba" iced tea drinks, and if you get your card stamped ten times, you get a free one.
            Does anyone know how to make it at home?

            3 Replies
            1. re: Jenji

              Also, Noodle World and Noodle Planet in Alhambra and Noodle Planet in Westwood serve pearl Thai iced tea and coffee.

              1. re: Jenji

                I've made it at home. It wasn't as good as the "bubble tea" I had in Queens, but not bad. I'm sure that you can buy the large tapioca you'll need in LA (it's brownish in color) and you'll need the large straws, which a friend brought back from San Fran. for me.
                You can use just green tea (iced) with milk and sugar or flavored milks. I think a banana flavor would be good, or strawberry. You can put the tapioca in any beverage you like. The only trick is getting it cooked just right so that it's glutinous all the way through, not al dente at all. No one in St. Louis makes it commercially but I was able to get the pearls in an Asian market. Good luck.

                1. re: pat hammond

                  They explored this in Giant Robot a few issues back. I don't recall the recipe, but you can get the tapioca, and you can soak it to make the pearls. The rest is condensed milk and tea.

                  You should look for your local 99 ranch market in Torrance or Gardena. Then, go to the other shops in the mall looking for the bevs.

                  I think that the Shau May chain uses a mix for thier stuff. Caveat Emptor. E Pluribus Unum. Chinga Tu Madre.

              2. Theres Fantasia in Milpitas or Cupertino in the 99Ranch malls. It strikes me as an Asian Starbucks and has a really huge variety or tapioca teas .

                1. here's the recipe i use and it actually comes out pretty well: (just a side note, all the necessary tools for this drink are all available at your local 99 ranch market.. they even have the big straws too)

                  you can either buy dry packaged tapioca or fresh ones found somewhere in the refridgerated section of the market (highly recommended). boil tapioca in water for 20 min. let it sit and cool for about another 40 min(don't drain the water). when you have about 10 min left, you can go ahead and boil some water and make some lipton tea. use brown sugar and come coffee mate to finish making the tea. add tapioca, stir... then add a couple ice cubes. voila! you just made your own "bo ba" ice tea

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: al

                    Hi Liz,

                    Is the tapioca black when you buy it dried? The only tapioca (pearl size) that I found at 99 ranch market was the usual white. Do you know if there is another secret ingredient that makes the pearls black/brown like the ones that you get in you drinks?


                  2. In Chinatown, go to Ren Ten's Tea House (I'm not sure about that spelling - but I think it's off Broadway). They have all sorts/flavors of pearl iced teas. In Monterey Park, there are a LOT of places to go: Tea Station, Relax Station, there's a place in the plaza at the corner of Del Mar and Valley. There are a bunch of places.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: K

                      I am fond of the new Tapioca Express chain of pearl-tea stands that has been popping up all over Alhambra and Monterey Park. A million different flavors, perfect squishies, and they even deliver. Quality is a little less consistent than Sweet n' Tart in New York's Chinatown, but is pretty high.

                      1. re: K

                        It's Ten Ren's Tea Time, in the Wing Hop Fung Plaza at 726 N. Hill St. There's parking underground in the plaza, with ehtrances on both Hill St. as well as Broadway, and Ten Ren's does validate. They have a wide variety of flavors, with your choice of green or black tea, with or without milk.

                      2. is there anywhere to get it in the san fernando valley?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: christa

                          Samalung cafe (sp?) on Sherman Way between Coldwater and Laurel Canyon serves thai ice coffee and ice tea with large tapioca and oversize straws. The tapioca really flys when blown out of the straw like a spit wad! This place is open 24 hrs, or at least to 3am, and serves good thai food ar very reasonable prices.

                          There are also a number of thai dessert places on Sherman Way that may serve the large tapioca.

                        2. Where can you buy tapioca pearls in Los Angeles? I've checked a bunch of markets on the Westside and none of them have the big black pearls (only the small white kind), I've tried Mitsuwa on Centinela, a couple Asian markets on Sawtelle, and random non-Asian markets. Do I have to go to Thai town to find the pearls?

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: ecovegangal

                            Try a Chinese market and look in the frozen foods area.

                            1. re: ecovegangal

                              Wow, a nine-year-old post resurrected.

                              The big black pearls start life as frozen small brown pearls. You need to go to a Chinese (meaning Taiwanese, since most of the Chinese markets in LA are Taiwanese-owned) market, and there are none of those on the Westside. Your closest one will be 99 Ranch on the northeast corner of Victory and Sepulveda Blvds., in Van Nuys. Look in the frozen section, usually toward the bottom.

                              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                Yeah, I think it was from before the word "boba" was coined! And complete with a Jonathan Gold reply.

                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                  Thanks everyone. I found them by chance at Asia Supermarket in Alhambra (I was in the area). They had the exact kind I wanted, plus several different brands and varieties. I was sure to get a bunch, but I'm bummed that there isn't a place on the Westside that carries them when I run out again!

                              2. Wow ANCIENT thread!

                                Try Noodle Planet. www.noodleplanet.com.... their boba permutations are almost infinite.