Ranking the Bubble Tea Shops in Pacific Mall
One of the most well-known Asian malls in the Greater Toronto Area, Pacific Mall is home to Asian fashion, food and technology. As a frequent visitor to the mall, you begin to notice that a few shops have the same name and sell nearly the exact same clothes. If you decide to purchase from one shop and they don't have it in stock, they'd run out to the other ones to grab the item. Almost all the phone shops on the side aisle are run by the same people - yet every one of them appear to be bustling with business. The same goes with bubble tea shops.
It amazes me that at any point in time you can see lines for bubble tea shops, and there's enough people to go around between competitors who are stationed right beside your shop. I've lived in the area for over 15 years and have pretty much tried whatever shop has opened (and closed) in PMall. Here I offer my rankings for the bubble tea chains. Note that I did not include the stores over at Market Village.
7. Bubble Tease This store exists in quite a lot of other western malls in the GTA, but nothing really stands out about it. It's also located on the second floor near the elevators that bring you back down to the first, so by the time you roam around the aisles you'd probably already have a drink in hand.
6. Tea Shop 168 Located conveniently in the food court area on the second floor, this one is a well known chain. I don't particularly like their strong tea, as well as the strawberry bubble tea taste. Their lemon tea is great though!
5. Real Fruit I must applaud them for their repetitive mango-cutting videos that they show at their stores, because now I always associate them for the mango slushie bubble tea deal. They're more known for their fruit smoothies than tea drinks, and because of their cheap deals you can't go wrong - unless mangoes aren't your cup of tea.
4. Fruity Okay between Real Fruit and this one there's hardly a difference. You usually see their shops side-by-side, or relatively close in vicinity. Nothing super fancy but great deals.
3. Presotea Their little twist to bubble tea is their 'Panda Milk Tea' - milk tea with white and black tapioca pearls (no difference in taste though). I tried their 'Hokkaido Milk Tea', but it didn't have that unique Hokkaido milk flavor that I was used to. Service is sometimes good, sometimes bad - when I ordered the black and white bubbles, I only got black without any explanation. They offer Vicinity Rewards.
2. Chatime Opened relatively recently compared to all the other mentioned shops, Chatime is probably the most recognized by it's brand. I actually didn't know about this popular chain until one opened up in Waterloo near my student housing. They offer their 'Chatime Bubble Tea' as a menu item with the tapioca already included in the price, as well as another section for 'QQ Jelly' - which is a mix between tapioca pearls and nata de coco jelly. I recommend their malt milk tea - which one of my favorites yet not a lot of bubble tea shops offer this flavor. I recommend to say "less sugar" for the drinks, as they tend to be on the sweeter side. It's also on the pricier end of bubble tea drinks available at PMall. They offer Vicinity Rewards.
1. Ten Ren's My childhood and old-time favorite - this is the only shop that gets my 'Strawberry Milk Bubble Tea' right. It's also the most expensive out of the chains, but it was one of the first bubble tea stores to open up in Pacific Mall.
My favorite flavors of bubble tea include:
- Original Bubble Tea
- Strawberry Milk
- Lychee Milk
Notable Mentions: Serissa Cate used to have a shop in PMall, but has closed down for a while. Their bubble tea drinks are light and they mix regular sized pearls with smaller ones,giving the drink a special twist. Their seasonal drinks feature exotic fruits and I associate their brand as 'classy, refreshing drinks'. They still have a shop open in Markham.
Written on 14th Sep, 2015