Welcome to Tiger Town Treats — a new Prospect series where I compare delicious snacks ’n sips from local businesses so you know where to go to satisfy that one craving or reward yourself after that rough p-set!
Our first treat: BOBA!
I sampled boba from four establishments right on Nassau: Fruity Yogurt & Cafe, Kung Fu Tea, Korean Barbeque Grill (KBG), and Ficus. At each location, I got a standard milk tea with tapioca pearls so I could be sure I was making a fair comparison. But of course, every location has its own specialties, so I also asked the staff about their favorite drinks. Along with my reviews, you can find other recommendations for inside scoops and specialties!
I’ll be rating these treats on a 10-point scale, with 10 being the best I’ve ever had, five being average, and one being not too great. But, keep in mind, an “average” treat is still pretty delicious!
Update: Also see our review of boba at Junbi.
First stop: Fruity Yogurt & Cafe (FY&C)
Price: $4.10 (16oz) *all prices listed before tax
Boba Rating: 4/10
- The boba was on the firmer side, making it a little hard to chew, and it wasn’t overly sweet. It wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t terrible either.
Milk Tea Rating: 4/10
- The tea itself wasn’t too sweet, verging on slightly bitter. But that could be good for those who prefer their drinks less sweet!
- FY&C is full of bright colors and is rather cute. Even their cups and lids depict adorable children surrounded by hearts and bubbles. The shop has a fair bit of seating, but it is mostly closed off for health and safety at the moment.
- FY&C had a perfectly adequate, standard boba tea. It wasn’t a personal favorite, but FY&C specializes in the fruity and sweet, so give the staff recommendation a try! The cashiers love the Mango Fruit Milk Tea with Boba ($4.10) for something tart and tropical!
Next up: Kung Fu Tea (KFT)
Price: $4.00 (16oz)
Boba Rating: 6/10
- The pearls were sweet and soft, but not mushy! They were in a light syrup, making them slightly sticky (but in a good way).
Milk Tea Rating: 6/10
- The tea was sweet and creamy! I got full sugar this time, but in the future, I might get it 75 percent or half sweet. Overall, it was a solid, classic milk tea.
- KFT has a rather chill, relaxed atmosphere, though it is far more corporate than the other shops on this list. KFT is the largest chain out of these locations, and its decor, TV monitor menus, and colorful posters reflect that status.
- KFT was exactly what you would expect out of a shop with “actually good” boba tea. If the classic is too standard for you, try the staff recommendations of Taro Milk Tea and Honey Milk Tea (both $4.00)!
Third time’s a charm: Korean Barbeque Grill (KBG)
Price: $4.00 (16oz)
Boba Rating: 8/10
- The boba was incredibly fresh: warm and soft, soaked in a sticky and flavorful syrup that mixed very nicely into the tea. They were aromatic, with a slight coffee-like undertone. Another bonus: you aren’t charged extra for it! Boba is a free addition to any drink!
Milk Tea Rating: 9/10
- The tea was creamy and light without being very sweet. It was a perfect balance of deep, well-steeped tea and a light, creamy finish!
- KBG was incredibly busy, even within five minutes of their closing time. Students were lined up even outside the shop front. The environment is typical fast-casual dining, with efficient and appetizing food and boba bars.
- This was some of the best boba I’ve had in a while! This might be because KBG specializes in traditional boba flavors, with the Classic Boba Tea being one of the staff favorites, along with the Taro Milk Tea (both $4.00)!
Final Stop: Ficus
Price: $5.85 (16oz)
Boba Rating: 8/10
- The boba was rich, warm, and the perfect texture, doused in a decadent, thick brown-sugar syrup.
Milk Tea Rating: 7/10
- The tea was light and very sweet. However, the sweetness came mostly from the brown-sugar boba syrup, rather than the milk tea itself.
- Ficus gives off a trendier, more high-brow vibe than its boba shop counterparts. With plenty of natural light and minimalist decor, it is an immediately calming environment, perfect for a weekend brunch with some friends. The drink itself was considerably more expensive than the others I sampled, but the overall aesthetic was also more distinct and “Instagrammable.” If you are looking to feel a little bougie, Ficus is the shop to hit.
- Ficus’s milk tea with boba definitely hit the spot and is a wonderful way to splurge a little and treat yourself. Ficus’s menu also has plenty of more innovative boba drinks. The staff favorites include their layered Valentine’s (or other holiday) speciality drinks ($5.00–$7.00) and the Black Peach Tea with Strawberry Popping Boba ($5.85).
Now get out there, support Princeton’s local businesses, and try some boba!