Pretty good bubble tea near Rockville Town Center
I was jonesing for some bubble tea this afternoon in Rockville Town Center. Turns out the bubble tea they sell at Kam Sam Supermarket isn't half bad! The tapioca is passable (not disgustingly soft or chalky, though it could be improved) and I think they used real passion fruit juice in my green tea-passion fruit. This is refreshing since I'm used to the artificial powders and syrups used at most places. They were also very friendly. I will definitely return there when I'm in the neighborhood.
I also tried the bubble tea at Bob's Noodle 66 last week, and it was not too good. Very limited flavor options and no tea options at all??!! Just different fruit juices. The tapioca was not very good (too mushy) and I thought my lychee tasted mainly like canned lychee juice. Eh.
Kam Sam Supermarket
300 N Washington St, Rockville, MD
I spend way too much money on bubble tea. I usually go for the "smoothie"-style bubble teas, even though I know those are not very authentic. I pretty much worked my way through all the offerings at Jumbo Jumbo Bubble Tea (next to the IHOP) and only found the mango one was acceptable. I also feel like they need to improve their bubbles. Sam's Cafe (the Persian gelato joint) also has bubble tea now. He is still perfecting his formula for smoothie-style bubble teas, but his bubbles are by far my favorite. My overall favorite in the area is Yami Yami in College Park. It's the only place where I'm comfortable trying random flavors. Try the avocado smoothie there. (Just had one this week on my way to the cherry blossoms.) Folks I know who prefer non-smoothie bubble tea usually go to Ten Ren, but it's been a long time since I sampled their tea. Happy bubble teaing!
I am a bubble tea fanatic, but I can't get out to all those suburban places since I don't have a car :( Thanks for the recs though.
If you're in DC, I recommend Panda Cafe (Foggy Bottom) and Shanghai Tea House (Glover Park) for bubble tea - tea, not smoothies. Though they have may have smoothies at Shanghai Tea House...I tried TNR in Courthouse once, and it was good; but this was a while ago.