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Friday, December 21, 2018

Where to Find Bubble Tea in Grand Rapids

It's bit harder to find some bubble tea in Grand Rapids, compared to cities like Chicago and Detroit. Thankfully, there are still some delicious options to cure my craving of the ever so wonderful chewy tapioca and purple taro needs. If you've never had bubble tea before, it originated in Taiwan, and has since evolved to include endless flavors and toppings. The actual "bubbles" are tapioca pearls and are flavorless, and the actual drink can be a tea, coffee, or thick smoothie. My favorite is the classic milk tea with black bubbles! 
Cafe Boba
Located on the corner of 44th street and Division, this place is a stand out in the area. Just down the street from some Asian markets, they have ample seating and a great atmosphere to do work or catch up with friends. The cafe even has some comfy couches and games to play as well! In addition to the tradition black bubbles, they also have fruit jelly, red beans, and "popping boba" which are chewy and burst with liquid when consumed. If you're hungry, they also sell some snacks like sushi, ice cream, and dumplings too!

Rak Thai
I love the location at the Downtown Market because all of the food is delicious and made quickly! In addition to their noodle and rice dishes, they of course offer over ten flavors of bubble tea with the black bubbles! From passionfruit to avocado, it's the perfect compliment to some coconut stir-fried rice and veggies. Also, they do a great deal on buying five drinks to receive one free.

Erb Thai
Similar to Rak Thai, a nice fruity drink will go perfectly with some peanut noodles. One unique thing is that they offer their boba drinks as an icy (on the rocks), slushie (blended with ice), or smoothie (with milk and whipped cream) as an option. They have less flavor options, but I like the customization available. Not to worry though, because coconut and taro and some flavor options, and that's enough for me!

B&N Sandwiches
It is a hole in the wall, and located in a small plaza on Division, right down the street from Cafe Boba. Selling Vietnamese sandwiches among other treats, they sell frozen smoothies with the boba. It's not my favorite, but I'd get it if I was very desperate. To be honest if you come here, get a sandwich and some vietnamese jello instead :) 

The Bitter End
A 24 hour coffee shop, they have one option for "bubble tea"! It's green tea based and not traditional, but still a fun drink of course because of the fruit pearls. It's quite sweet if that's what you prefer.

Sweetie Thai
Located in Grandville, they have two options where you can add black bubbles to either Thai Iced Tea or Thai Iced Coffee. 

Poki Toki
A very new establishment, their menu states they they have a boba tea bar with free refills?? I haven't been, but it's next on my list! It seems like such a unique place for Grand Rapids, and a great place to take my mom to lunch. Who doesn't love deconstructed sushi?

Bambu
Last but not least, is Bambu, a Vietnamese chain. I was SO excited to see this establishment come to West Michigan, because I frequent another location whenever I head to Chicago. They offer Che, a Vietnamese "parfait", and of course, bubble tea. They offer an astounding amount of 18 tea and milk tea flavors, blended tea, sea salt milk foam tea (such a unique treat!), fruit tea, and 12 different add ins other than black bubbles. It's more of a stop and go place instead of a cafe to sit, but one of my favorite items is their pandan waffle, which is sweet and chewy. There's something for everyone with even more options such as coffee, maracons, mochi, fruit smoothies, and yogurt. Yes, it's the only chain on this list, but it's the only location around here for hundreds of miles!

Bubble tea has been a childhood favorite of mine that I have not stopped loving. It is a choking hazard because of the bubbles, so be careful when giving to young kids! I think it's a great switch up from a $5 drink at starbucks, and it's always a nice treat to have once in awhile. Am I missing any other places? Let me know in the comments below!
Photo from Rak Thai Yelp

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