I’ve been on a quest for some time now to find the best boba tea drinks in the city. Back home in the Bay Area, it had become a ritual to drink boba several times a week, so naturally I had to find a way to continue this behavior in Los Angeles.
At first I was pretty casual about finding boba. I took a few trips to Sawtelle, a restaurant-filled street near campus which holds a few boba shops. But each of these mini-outings produced so-so results. Pearl drinks in San Jose are freakishly delicious, and I was simply not getting that transcendental boba experience I was used to getting weekly at home.
I expanded my search to include boba tea places in other neighborhoods. A friend who grew up in Koreatown spoke to the quality of the boba there, so I filtered my Yelp searches appropriately. The bubble teas I came across in Ktown were certainly better, but making the trek out there on a biweekly basis was not a sustainable endeavor. I had to figure something else out.
There are always a number of groups out and about on campus selling food to raise money for whatever cause or clubs they are looking to support. Today a group called Project Wild was selling pumpkin pie and apple juice in the Court of Sciences and Hillel sells challah every Thursday on Bruin Walk. Luckily, boba is the most popular of the fundraising foods, and practically every day of the week there will be a club selling milk teas or Thai iced teas with boba somewhere on campus. And even better – these drinks come from all over Los Angeles. I asked one girl I was buying some tea from where it had originated, and she said Alhambra, a neighborhood that’s a 45-minute drive away on a day without too much traffic. Another group had bought their boba from a shop in Mid-City and another from Culver City.
With the help of these student groups, I’ve been able to consistently get my fix both for delicious pearl drinks and for LA exploration. Even though I may not be driving myself out to these boba places just yet, I still get to sample their drinks and perhaps decide which ones are worth going to. It’s almost as if the cosmos aligned, knowing I had a need for boba that couldn’t be met by frequent 45-minute drives and then meeting that need by bringing the tea to campus.
Of course, I still try new places from time to time, but being a UCLA student has helped me realize my true potential of drinking boba to and from my classes on a regular basis. I’ve achieved my milk tea fulfillment.