Kadiri’s Kitchen: Boba!

Sadie Dowhan

Jordin Kadiri

Whether it be a hot summer day or cool fall night, bubble tea is always ready to fulfill the appetite of Evanston residents across town. Giving Downtown Evanston the title, “Bubble Tea Hub” isn’t a stretch at all.

With the abundance of places to purchase from, three key differences emerge: taste, quality and ambience. Nowadays, many boba restaurants are beginning to truly embrace the restaurant title, by selling food as well. 

For this special edition of the Evanstonian, I, accompanied by my good friend, Sadie Dowhan, visited three well-known shops: Kung Fu Tea, Tealicious Bubble,and Joyee.

Kung Fu Tea – 4.5/5

Kung Fu is an automatic go-to, not only for myself, but my friends as well. Located on the corner of Clark and Sherman, it shines through, making its presence known with its abundance of customers that keep the establishment packed. This time around, I ordered my regular: a Taro Milk Tea with tapioca. Without fail, the silky smooth tea quenched my thirst. It was on the sweeter side, with a good amount of ice, keeping the flavors fairly balanced. The bottom of the cup was filled with squishy tapioca, making the experience even better. The total ended up at around $6.30, which is not too bad, but with how addicting Kung Fu is, is sure to rack up over time. 

Joy-Yee – 4/5

Standing as a classic spot in Evanston, Joy-Yee brings not only its delicious food, but its teas and smoothies to the table as well. This restaurant manages to cater to dozens of customers, at all hours, throughout the week. Similar to at Kung Fu, I ordered a Taro Milk Tea with tapioca. I was given a wide cup, filled to the brim with purple deliciousness. The tea was less sweet than that of Kung Fu’s and the milk had an airy essence to it. A prominent issue was the tapioca, though. It was very thick and hard to chew at times. This was the most expensive tea I purchased, being $7.17. Despite the small tapioca error, this tea was very enjoyable and I recommend Joyee to all in the area.

Tealicious Bubble – 5/5

This fairly new restaurant which opened in June 2019 has proven itself as an Evanston staple, bringing in a range of customers young and old. It is located on the corner of Sherman and Davis, and works hand-and-hand with its neighbor Potbelly. With its extensive menu that includes creative teas across the board, it was hard to choose just one drink. Following the pattern, I ordered Taro, as well as a Strawberry-Matcha tea. Separately, both drinks came out to $6.09. The Taro was significantly different from that of Joyee and Kung Fu in the way that it had a chalky, yet organic flavor. The Strawberry-Matcha, on the other hand, burst with flavor from the very first sip. It was like nothing I’ve tried before. For that reason, I think Tealicious is the most promising out of the three businesses. Its original recipes will keep it open for a very long time!

This experience really opened my eyes to the different techniques boba shops may use to make their tea. I could taste each and every shift in flavor and texture between the four cups. All three establishments — Kung Fu Tea, Joy-Yee and Tealicious Bubble — are bound to bring joy to Evanston residents for years to come.