Sydney’s Suggestions: Boba in San Diego

My favorite boba spots in San Diego, long overdue after many student requests!


Sydney Chan

The pieces of mango and smooth texture of the mango smoothie from Happy Lemon make it, quite literally, happiness in a cup. Pictured beside the smoothie is a strawberry black tea with lychee jelly and boba, another great choice.

It’s no secret that boba has grown in popularity over the last few years. Last year, during the annual Lunar New Year celebration, members of the Bishop’s community enjoyed a boba tea with their Asian lunch; and it’s now common to see students with these drinks after school. But it’s not hard to understand why everyone is obsessed with this Taiwanese delicacy. Boba tea is the epitome of happiness: a sweet, cold, and refreshing drink, paired with warm, chewy tapioca pearls. And after many student requests (some being Marcus Buu-hoan (‘24) and Dane Jorgenson (‘24)), I’m excited to bring you the boba edition of this Sydney’s Suggestions!

Prefacing notes: The following locations all have a great traditional Jasmine milk tea (my favorite type of milk tea), so I’ve decided to focus more on each spot’s speciality drinks below! I also typically order these drinks with 50% sweetness, if that’s an option.


1. Handmade Taro Fresh Milk + Passion Fruit Yakult – Rare Tea: 4203 Genesee Ave #102

I’ve always loved taro, a root vegetable native to southeast Asia that’s known for its signature purple color. It’s very similar to ube, in both appearance and taste, if you’re more familiar with that. After drinking countless taro boba drinks from various locations, I’ve come back to this Rare Tea drink time after time. The sweetness isn’t overpowering, and the drink tastes incredibly light and refreshing.

A bonus drink suggestion is one of my younger sister’s favorites from Rare Tea: the Passion Fruit Yakult. This drink is the next step up for those of you who typically order tar juices or fruit teas from your usual boba stop. And can we just appreciate how fragrant passion fruit is?! These two drinks are sure to impress.


2. Mango Smoothie – Happy Lemon: 4545 La Jolla Village Dr Suite 9034

This may be my favorite drink on the list, not only because I’ve always been an avid fan of mango, but also because of the particular texture of the smoothie. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ll always love a thick açai smoothie, but for being paired with boba, I find the thinner and smoother texture of this drink to work perfectly. I also love the little bits of mango scattered throughout the drink.


3. Strawberry Smoothie + Purple Rice Drink with Milk Tea – Meet Fresh: 9420C Mira Mesa Blvd

First of all, I could not recommend Meet Fresh enough — for delicious desserts in general. Their grass jelly and shaved ice are the perfect, light treat. As for drinks, the strawberry smoothie from Meet Fresh is pretty much flawless. I’m in awe of the way they simultaneously make the smoothie have such a smooth texture but still have little crunchy ice bits. The strawberry jelly at the bottom adds a nice punch of strawberry flavor. (No, it’s not technically boba, but it’s a boba topping nonetheless!)

If you’re looking to get a little out of your comfort zone, I’d also highly recommend the Purple Rice Drink with Milk Tea. It sounds a little strange if you’ve never had it before, but it’s absolutely a drink to remember. The sweet rice is paired with sweet red beans, a common ingredient in Asian desserts. And like most of the drinks on this list, it’s not too sweet, which I love.


I’m so happy to conclude the first year of Sydney’s Suggestions with an article on such a widely loved drink. To those that have been here since my Hotpot article and to those that are here for the first time, thank you for reading and for sharing my love of food. Have an amazing Winter Break.