Trendy Tea Do enters Boston boba scene

By Ling-Mei Wong

 

Tea Do, or “way of tea,” marks the entrance of one of the few dedicated teahouses in Chinatown. While you can still satisfy your boba fix at one of the bakeries or Vietnamese restaurants, Tea Do puts the quality of their beverages first in a trendy space on Tyler Street.

Founded in Philadelphia in 2012, Tea Do arrived in Boston’s Chinatown with plenty of experience in pleasing their customers. The Boston location, which opened in March, keeps crowd-pleasing features such as games, vibrant decor and late hours, staying open until 1 a.m. Regular drinks are $3 while large ones are $4, keeping prices wallet-friendly. The Jenga-playing groups make this a lively teahouse — boba tea definitely does not provide the same experience as English high tea.

The classic boba milk tea ($3) nails just the right mix of black tea, cream and chewy boba. Be sure to specify how sweet you want your tea, along with how much ice you’d like, as the drinks tend to be on the sweet side. “Half sugar” is more than enough sweetness for me, as I prefer strong tea.

Among Tea Do’s specialty drinks is the “Sunset,” which features green tea mixed with kumquat, lemon and aloe jelly ($4). Tea Do uses real tea leaves rather than powder, a choice that becomes most evident in the taste of its green tea.

Tea Do’s specialty “Sunset,” green tea mixed with kumquat, lemon and aloe jelly. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.) 茶道的『日落』飲料有綠茶、金吉、檸檬和蘆薈(圖片由黃靈美提供。)

Tea Do’s specialty “Sunset,” green tea mixed with kumquat, lemon and aloe jelly.
(Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

Japanese green milk tea ($3) is a matcha drink, which is easily confused for jasmine green milk tea ($3) on the menu.

Japanese green milk tea. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.) 日式奶綠加珍珠。(圖片由黃靈美提供。)

Japanese green milk tea. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

 

The helpful clerks will typically check to make sure patrons get the right beverage, but do be careful when ordering.

Jasmine green milk tea. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.) 奶綠加珍珠。(圖片由黃靈美提供。)

Jasmine green milk tea. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

Snacks are tasty and fairly quick at Tea Do. The takoyaki ($3.50) includes six scrumptious squid balls that are hot and topped with mayo and bonito flakes.

Takoyaki. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.) 章魚燒。(圖片由黃靈美提供。)

Takoyaki. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

Onigiri, made-to-order rice wrapped in sheets of nori, or roasted seaweed, range from $2.50 to $3.50. The Kani, or crab onigiri ($2.50), was perfectly complemented by spicy mayo dipping sauce.

Kani or crab onigiri. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.) 蟹肉飯糰。(圖片由黃靈美提供。)

Kani or crab onigiri. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

 

Spam onigiri ($2.50), fried spam enveloped in warm rice and crispy nori, also made for a satisfying snack.

Spam onigiri. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.) 午餐肉飯糰。(圖片由黃靈美提供。)

Spam onigiri. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

Tea Do already has a number of fans, including Boston City Councilor and former teahouse owner Michelle Wu. With the right mix of tea, fun and lively ambiance, Tea Do has carved out a hip niche in Chinatown.

 

Tea Do
8 Tyler Street
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 988-8182
http://kenshinteado.com/

This post is also available in: Chinese

About Ling-Mei Wong 黃靈美

Editor of the Sampan, the only bilingual Chinese-English newspaper in New England 舢舨報紙總編輯。舢舨是全紐英倫唯一的中英雙語雙週報。
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