The Truck Stops Here: Royal Tea Truck
Can tea be royal if it is served out of a truck? Is it truly sovereign if there are mysterious and chewy black balls in the bottom of the cup that we the people have decided to call bubbles? The answer is yes. Once you try a bubble tea from the Royal Tea truck on Norris Street between 13th and Broad streets, you’ll understand why this tea is queen. It’s the perfect blend of caffeine and sugar to get you through class and then allow you to crash into a beautiful glucose-induced nap. Want to chew on more than just bubbles? There’s a selection of Taiwanese-inspired snacks, too.
If the Royal Tea Truck is trying to do anything other than supplying us with yummy beverages, they must be trying to help us with our decision-making skills. Their drink menu is massive. Luckily, they’ve marked which drinks they recommend and which can be served hot. Before we start ordering, a quick vocab lesson is in order.
Bubbles: Also known as boba and pearls. They’re actually tapioca balls and don’t have much of a strong flavor on their own—it’s more of a texture thing.
Popping boba: Instead of being made from tapioca, these bobas are make from water, sugar and usually fruit juice. They have a thin, gel-like coating and when you bite into them, they burst with sweet juice.
Rainbow jelly: Usually made from tropical fruits like coconut and lychee, it’s sweet and it's texture lies somewhere between Jell-O and a gummy bear.
The menu is separated into four different drink sections: speciality, milk tea, fruit tea and smoothies. The speciality drinks have names like Iron Man, Spider Man and The Hulk. We imagine that you might feel like one of these characters afterward. All of these options have at least two fruits and some jelly.
The other drinks are fairly straightforward. If it’s your first time experiencing this world of beverages, we would recommend starting off with a milk tea. The jasmine milk tea is one of our favorites and is a Taiwanese classic.
As we mentioned, these teas are sweet. Very, very sweet. Seems like they know that, too, because they have a sugar-level menu. You can always go in hard at 100 percent, but you can ask for less or none at all.
Speaking of less-sweet options, the food menu is small but pairs well with the teas. The teriyaki combo is an incredible deal that comes with a bubble tea, and the snack options are usually east Asian fare, like takoyaki or dumplings. Be on the lookout for when bao buns are on the menu—it’s not every day.
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