Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Oahu for a short weekend trip. We were fortunate with perfect, sunny weather during our stay. We ate many things, and one thing we really enjoyed was Nana’s Green Tea.
Nana’s Green Tea is in the back of a Japanese food court, Waikiki Yokocho. Their menu is filled with drinks and desserts. The prices are not cheap at all, but the quality is decent. I’d recommend the soft serve or parfait desserts.
We tried both matcha soft serve & hoji soft serve. While everyone is familiar with Instagram-friendly matcha, we were introduced to hoji tea. Hoji is roasted tea that has a more subtle, darker flavor.
I think hoji soft serve could make it big as an Asian dessert. As someone who follows food news, I’ve never come across any hojicha coverage, but matcha is covered all the time. Hoji isn’t as Instagram-friendly (perhaps swirl it with matcha), but the flavor sells itself.
There is endless boba in Los Angeles. I currently live in Ktown where every block seems to have a boba shop, a patbingsu shop, or both.
It’s hard to rank boba joints, because the drink customization (sugar level) and drinks on the same menu vary so much. There could be a big difference between the house specialty (let’s say rose milk tea) and the random drink (almond milk tea).
I value the quality of the ingredients (made in house with real things instead of powder), the freshness of the pearls (boba), and the flavor profile (not mind-numbingly sweet). I’ve tried many dozens of boba joints in LA, and I usually order large, 50% sugar, and less ice.
Below are places that have consistently good drinks with a sample recommended order. Not every order is your standard PMT (pearl milk tea).
- Gong Cha
- QQ Passion Fruit Green Tea (comes with pearls & coconut jelly)
(fruity & refreshing)
- Taro Fresh Milk Tea with Pearls
(real taro bits is a plus)
- High Mountain Green Tea with Cheese Foam
(as a cheese foam drink, it is heavier than a PMT)
- Ten Ren’s Tea Time
- Honey Milk Tea with Pearls
(their teas are underrated)
- Twinkle Brown Sugar (Ozero)
- Brown Sugar Grass Jelly
(drinks like a meal)
- 7 Leaves Cafe
- Sea Cream Jasmine Tea with Honey Boba
(crema top layer)
- 85C Bakery
- Sea Salt Mountain Green Tea
(has a good foam/crema top layer. their boba is bad)
- Kung Fu Tea
- Jelly Wow
(not a traditional PMT, more of a meal)
- Mango Passion Peach with Boba
(tea is very “drinkable”, not the best, but it goes down well. boba is not fresh)
- Wushiland Boba
- Jasmine Green Milk Tea with Pearls
(try 1/2 regular & 1/2 small pearls)
While I don’t inherently favor chains, I’ve found that big chains from Asia are more reliable and consistent with the boba freshness. Gong Cha 9 out of 10 times will have fresh boba, whereas your average LA boba shop will probably not have fresh boba.