The city of New Orleans simply doesn’t have much in the way of options for boba, also called bubble tea and pearl milk tea — those mostly exist outside of parish lines in Metairie, Kenner, and even Marrero. Now two dedicated boba shops are set to open before the end of the summer, bringing springy boba pearls, frothy milk foam toppers, and photo-worthy milk foam cakes to two central locations in the city.
Feng Cha Teahouse is “very close” to opening in the LGD at 2131 Magazine Street, according to a representative, in a former retail space that’s been under construction to transform it into a bright, open counter-service space the chain is known for. It’s one of many U.S. locations opening in 2022, adding to the more than 1,000 locations the Chinese tea chain has opened globally since its 2016 founding. It first landed in the U.S. in California, unsurprisingly, as it’s known as the boba capital of the U.S., before expanding to Texas, Las Vegas, and now states like North Carolina, Georgia, and Colorado. It’s fairly ubiquitous on social media, since the tiny foam cakes and colorful bubble tea concoctions make for a pretty picture.
It’s arrival in New Orleans is notable as the first dedicated bubble tea shop in the city — the chain serves dessert and a vast collection of drinks only, including cheese milk tea and milk foam toppers; boba staples like dirty boba; a selection of brewed teas featuring oolong blends; a caffeine and lactose-free “breeze” series; and fruit tea creations upgraded with kiwi basil, jasmine apple, and dragonfruit. Airy, not-too-sweet milk foam cakes are Feng Cha’s staple dessert — spongey bases are covered with creamy milk foam in flavors like sea salt and brown sugar boba, strawberry, matcha, tiramisu, and taro chocolate.
Moon Garden is also forthcoming, opening in downtown food hall Pythian Market in August. The cafe’s been popping up around town for a month or two with a menu similarly devoted to specialty drinks. There are sections for hot or cold bubble tea in flavors like mango vanilla, honeydew, and red bean; smoothies; fruit teas; and brewed teas. Customers can top drinks with boba jelly, made from tapioca but often in a square shape, crystal boba, made from konjac, regular bursting/popping boba, and most excitingly, boba ice cream bars, which come in three sweetness levels. At Pythian, the food hall stall will add food, “bubble tea and charcuterie,” the cafe says, serving charcuterie boards and grab-and-go sandwiches and salads.
Moon Garden Cafe at Pythian Market (234 Loyola Ave.) will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Stay tuned for Feng Cha Magazine opening information.