Tapioca Express Tapioca Express
4646 Convoy St 7770 Regents Rd
San Diego, CA 92111 San Diego, CA 92122
Tapioca Express is a big chain of these tapioca tea places in California, with three locations that I know of in San Diego. The two I go to are the one on Convoy and the one on Regents.
Tapioca Express is my favorite tea place is San Diego. They have a large variety of drink flavors for their milk teas, hot teas, snow bubbles, icys. They also introduce some new drink items every once in a while like italian sodas, yogurt drinks, juices. They also offer a variety of "toppings" to put in your drinks, such as the regular tapioca balls, small tapioca balls, different jellies, and pudding. Their snack/meal menu is fairly large as well. I also enjoy Tapioca Express because I think that they are the most consistent. There are other tea places I go to, where I never know what I'll get. Sometimes the tapioca balls are too chewy, not sweet enough, etc. Sometimes the drinks are sweet, sometimes not.
Here is the menu from the Convoy location:
Snacks: The crispy chicken is probably the most popular item on the menu and my favorite. You can order it mild, medium or spicy. Little pieces of chicken are fried and then peppered with red cayenne pepper. They are incredibly addicting. Sometimes I'll get it as a meal, and the chicken is served with a bed of rice, some vegetables and sometimes a pot sticker. Usually the meal comes with black or green tea and you can upgrade to another tea and pay the difference. Some of the other fried snacks are pretty good too, like shrimp balls or tofu.
Drinks: For milk tea flavors, I prefer the original milk tea. I also like the snowbubbles, which are drinks made with ice (think smoothie or starbucks frappacino) and often taste like ice cream/milkshake ( I think it's something they add in the mix, not sure what.) My favorite at Tapioca Express is the Matcha Green Tea Snow Bubble. This tastes a lot like green tea ice cream. If you like green tea ice cream, I would recommend this.
Here is a picture of a regular tapioca milk tea, taro milk tea and a mango snow bubble. As you can see, the snow bubbles are huge, almost the size of a venti frappacino!
Convoy vs. Regents
The Convoy location is by far the more popular one. It has a bigger menu than the Regents location, with all sorts of various combination of drinks (like coconut taro, mango papaya). They often have new combination or flavors they are trying out posted on a handwritten sheet near the register. Unfortunately, it's also located in a plaza with a horrible tiny parking lot. As a result, I don't often come to this location. If I'm in the area though, I will stop by. I think the prices may also be slightly cheaper on the food items? I'm not sure though, since I rarely come to this location anymore. It's a nice hangout spot as well, with a lot of chairs and tables set up.
The Regents location is a bit quieter. It mainly caters to the UCSD students that live nearby (the open hours are drastically reduced when UCSD students are on break), however I often see adults sitting around with laptops or reading the newspaper during the day. It's located in the Vons plaza, which has a lot better parking. The menu is a bit smaller though. They don't have as many drink combinations, but they do have the majority of drink flavors. The location is much closer to me and so I often will come by here for my drink fix. I haven't really noticed a difference in taste. I think both locations are consistent with both their food and drinks.
Here are some more photos of the drinks and closeups of the menu from Convoy from my last visit: