Bubble tea, or boba, is a Taiwanese treat that became popular in the 1980s. It spread quickly to other Asian countries, such as Vietnam, and soon after hopped continents, spreading to the Unites States. Essentially boba are small balls of tapioca that are mixed into bright fruit smoothies, rich brewed tea, or creamy milk teas. Thankfully, if you are not too keen on delicious pearls of tapioca, most boba shops also offer a variety of flavored jellies.
Here’s where to get your boba tea fix in Dallas.
Sweet Hut has locations in Georgia but their Plano spot is the first in Texas. This bakery offers Nutella chocolate buns and house-made crispy chicken nuggets as well as boba drinks like mango green tea. This large, modern, and bright cafe opens early and closes late (midnight Sunday through Thursday and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday). Bonus: there’s complimentary lemon water, an outdoor patio, and their case is full of baked goods. A new cafe is coming soon to Garland.
This cozy spot is a Dallas original that can customize your drink to a Starbucks-esque level. They offer a food menu, drink menu, and a case full of delicious cookies and cheesecake. Their waffles are topped with ice cream and fruit, or if you are in a savory mood, pair the waffles with chicken wings. Don’t leave without trying their handmade Haus Crepes (especially the Nutella filled). But their over-the-top Mason tea jar refreshers, adorned with fruits and filed with multi-colored jellies, are the main event. Usually the shades are drawn and the shop is dimly lit, perfect for a chat with friends, game night, or food splurge.
Former IT expert Terry Pham was bumped during the dot-com bust and went back to his Vietnamese roots to embrace bubble tea. His first store opened in 2002, the second in 2007, and the rest is history. Fat Straws is based in Dallas and is community oriented, with a modern atmosphere, lots of bright colors, clean lines, and abstract art. Food is not on the menu here but the avocado smoothie is a must.
A decade ago, in Queens, New York, Michael, Allen, and Ray decide to make a franchise that sold authentic Taiwanese bubble tea. They partnered with their friend Sean, aka the “Kung Fu Master,” in Taiwan who was unsatisfied with his bubble tea business at the time. From there, Kung Fu Tea was born. They have snacks like chips, instant noodles, and some desserts in addition to their full drink menu. A few can’t-miss-items are the Kung Fu milk tea (made with black tea) and the decadent cake balls. Some locations have stacks of board games, but feel free to bring your own.
This Dallas original has been open since 2003. They had humble beginnings, running their shop from a tight 500 square foot space. But in 2016 they expanded to over 1500 square feet. The space is very bright, white, and modern with clean line furniture. Try the the piña colada slush.
This bubble tea shop opened in March 2002 and is located throughout Dallas, Austin, and Houston. Tapioca House is dedicated to bringing Taiwanese culture to the Dallas area with their authentic food and drinks. The simply decorated spot offers food in addition to a variety of boba drinks. House specialties include the “Tap” calamari and mint-Oreo ice cream shake.
This shotgun-house-style restaurant is based in Dallas and Houston. It is dimly lit and filled with comfy chairs, modern decor, and loads of board games. The real charm of this place is in the food. They carry Asian fusion dishes such as their Pho-Nomenal dip, a mash-up between pho and a French dip sandwich, and kimchi fries loaded with Sriracha-mayo, shredded cheese, green onions, and sesame seeds. Drinks include irresistible specialty teas and coffees. They also carry gluten-free jellies and non-dairy milk options for the boba teas.