by Michael Hsu, 01/29/2013 [Updated 02/04/2015]
Photo: Nicole Honh
Kung Fu Tea
73 Chrystie St., 646-288-4936
234 Canal St., 212-334-3536
It's getting easier and easier to find bubble milk tea—that sweet, creamy drink garnished with gumdrop-size balls of dark tapioca—as Chinese restaurants and cafés alike are serving the once exotic drink. Still, specialized teahouses dedicated to the beverage tend to have a more refined drink (the tea flavor is more complex, the tapioca consistently fresher). Kung Fu Tea, which has two locations in Manhattan's Chinatown and close to 20 in the City, is one of the best. You can't go wrong with the basic Kung Fu Bubble Milk Tea, but if you're looking for more than just bubbles, try the popular Jelly Wow Milk, which adds a dollop of a mild-flavored herb-based jelly to the mix. The menu here is extensive; you'll find teas sweetened with longan honey, slushes made with passon fruit or red bean, and even icy coffee drinks with caramel or chocolate.