Atlanta Restaurant Scene

First Look: Bubble tea and Hong Kong egg waffles are the buzz at Boba Bee

Looking to change up your cafe routine? Head to Boba Bee for a bit of milk tea and a Hong Kong egg waffle.

The new shop, located at 5150 Buford Highway in the Asian Square shopping center (the same one that houses Sweet Hut bakery) in Doraville, serves a variety of hot and cold milk teas as well as iced drinks that feature the powdered green tea called matcha that’s become popular on food and drink menus throughout Atlanta.

To set Boba Bee drinks apart from other bubble tea businesses around town, owner Oanh Nguyen took the healthy route, using fresh fruit and only organic milk for milk tea and lattes. All Boba Bee loose leaf tea hails from Taiwan and is either organic or premium-grade.

How does it work? First, choose the drink. Among the eight “standard drinks,” there are classic milk tea (a blend of black tea and organic milk), house-made horchata and a Vietnamese-style coffee topped with sea salt cream.

There are also numerous matcha-plus-milk combinations. While matcha iced coffee topped with matcha cream has gained traction as the leading crowd-pleaser in Boba Bee’s first month in business, other matcha drinks can be made with pureed strawberry, blueberry or red beans. All matcha drinks are prepared using pure, Grade A matcha.

Next, choose the sweetness level. Most drinks are sweetened with a house-made rich simple syrup made from brown cane sugar as opposed to corn syrup that some bubble tea shops use. Patrons can opt for the normal (or 100 percent) sweetness level, or dial it down all the way to zero.

Then, choose your milk. Boba Bee offers organic milk, soy milk and almond milk.

Finally, select your add-ons. Extras include honey boba, the chewy tapioca balls that give the restaurant its name, as well as lychee jelly, a tamarind straw or a scoop of ice cream, among others.

As is typical of bubble tea establishments, drinks are sealed with a plastic film so that beverages can be shaken before being consumed.

The food menu is brief, and the focus is on Hong Kong-style egg waffles. Compared to American or Belgian waffles, this variety is made from a sweet, eggy batter and cooked in a special waffle maker made of two plates with molds that look like mini Easter eggs. This results in a finished round disk dotted with puffy, egg-shaped spheres. The edges of the waffle are crispy while the egg “bubbles,” which can be torn off with your fingers, are soft and chewy.

Boba Bee has options for doctoring up its waffles whether you’re in the mood for something sweet or savory.

When dessert is in order, make it the egg waffle cone that gets stuffed with a scoop of vanilla, chocolate or green tea ice cream, then topped with your choice of four toppings. Among the more than dozen toppers are Fruity Pebbles cereal, Oreos, fresh fruit like blueberries or strawberries, and the Japanese chocolate-coated biscuit sticks Pocky.

Savory waffle choices include the Fish and Chips Waffle, Garlic Shrimp Waffle and the popular Chicken and Waffle. The latter is an Asian-Southern fusion that features pieces of Taiwanese popcorn chicken, french fries, slivers of fried Thai basil, a dash of chile powder and drizzles of garlic aioli all swaddled in a waffle and served in a cup.

Boba Bee also offers a brief menu of appetizers like Taiwanese fish nuggets, popcorn shrimp, fish cakes and Cajun fries. Additional food items will hit the specials menu board soon, Nguyen said.

The 35-seat space is bright and airy, with a comfy arrangement of sofas and chairs that make for pleasant chats with friends. And, with free Wi-Fi, Boba Bee just might become your new favorite place to tap away on your laptop.

5150 Buford Hwy. NE, Ste 150, Doraville. 770-710-0993,

More images from a First Look at Boba Bee




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About the Author

Ligaya Figueras joined the AJC as its food and dining editor in 2015.