After eating a satisfying meal in Chinatown, I’m always down to grab bubble tea afterwards. However, I always struggle to choose between two of the largest bubble tea places in Chinatown: Joy Yee and Kung Fu Tea.

If you’re like me and never know which to get, then fear no more. I have put together a comprehensive list of categories pitting Joy Yee against Kung Fu Tea. Who will be victorious? Read on to find out.

Classic Milk Tea

Both Joy Yee and Kung Fu offer their own take on the classic bubble milk tea. Joy Yee’s milk tea has a dark beige color and a strong tea flavor, while Kung Fu’s is slightly creamier, sweeter, and almost floral.

cappuccino, tea, cream, coffee, milk
Lindsey Jay

Both had an adequate ratio of tapioca pearls to milk tea (you are not left with too many pearls when you have run out of tea to drink). Overall, since I like my milk tea strong, I would go for Joy Yee’s milk tea.

Winner: Joy Yee

Joy Yee: 1 Kung Fu: 0


Joy Yee is both a restaurant and a bubble tea establishment, while Kung Fu focuses mainly on bubble tea with some additional snacks. Joy Yee’s waiting area for bubble tea is unfortunately small and cramped since the rest of the space is saved solely for the restaurant. All bubble tea transactions are to-go, so if you’re looking to hang out with your bubble tea, this is not the place.

cookie, cake, beer
Lindsey Jay

On the other hand, because Kung Fu is dedicated solely to their tea, they have a brightly lit space for sitting with games like Jenga, cards, and dominoes you can play at the tables. Kung Fu's welcoming atmosphere invites you to chill and sip on bubble tea while playing fun games with your friends.

Winner: Kung Fu Tea

Joy Yee: 1 Kung Fu: 1

Variety of Flavors

Joy Yee has an extensive menu of over 150 bubble tea flavors, from variations on milk tea (lavender, rose, etc.) to fruit smoothies, Oreo shakes, and even coffee shakes. They also offer many toppings for an additional 50 cents including custard pudding, whipped cream, popping pearls, jelly, and classic tapioca pearls for you to mix and match into your drink.

If you want to try something new, I would suggest the Apple Cooler with Lychee Jelly, which is a mix of Apple syrup, Sprite, lychee, and nata jelly. If you are feeling extra adventurous, you can try some of their stranger flavors like Jackfruit Sprite, but stay away from any of their bitter green tea flavors. Fruit-lovers should come to Joy Yee for its many combinations of fruit freezes.

Kung Fu also offers over 60 tea flavors under the categories Classic, Milk Tea, Slush, Punch, Yogurt, Milk, Coffee, and Milk Cap. For an additional 50 cents you can get classic pearls, red bean, mung bean, nata jelly, Oreo, pudding, or herbal jelly. You can also ask for varying sugar levels (extra, regular, less, half, little, or zero), which I think is a pretty neat idea.

If you want less or no ice, you can specify that too in your order. I would recommend trying the passion fruit green tea with nata jelly or anything on their Punch list.

Given the sheer number of items on its menu, I would say Joy Yee is the winner.

Winner: Joy Yee

Joy Yee: 2 Kung Fu: 1

Other Menu Items

Because Joy Yee is a Pan-Asian restaurant, you could also order takeout along with your bubble tea. If you want to have a full meal with your bubble tea, then Joy Yee is your best bet.

Kung Fu Tea has small snacks that you can order along with your bubble tea that won’t take too long to make, including takoyaki, fried chicken wings, and snow cream. Having bubble tea with some finger food and a game of Jenga is definitely a cozy way to spend a rainy afternoon with friends.

The type of food you want with your bubble tea just depends on your mood.

Winner: Tie

Joy Yee: 3 Kung Fu: 2


tea, milk, beer
Lindsey Jay

For 25-oz. of tea with no toppings, Joy Yee’s tea can range from around $3.55 to $4.25 with tax. Kung Fu has similar pricing, charging from $2.75 to $3.50 for the medium size and $3.50 to $5.25 for the large size. Also, Kung Fu is cash-only, while Joy Yee takes cash or credit. Although both are comparable in pricing, if you want slightly more tea and the option for cash or credit, opt for Joy Yee.

Winner: Joy Yee

Joy Yee: 4 Kung Fu: 2

Wait Time

Usually, the only bubble tea place people know about is Joy Yee. Naturally, the lines at Joy Yee are much longer than any other bubble tea place in Chinatown. The last time I went to Chinatown, there was no line at Kung Fu, but at Joy Yee, there were at least 30 people in line. Yikes.

beer, liquor, alcohol, wine
Lindsey Jay

Winner: Kung Fu Tea

Joy Yee: 4 Kung Fu: 3


Even though Joy Yee offers more flavors, I believe Kung Fu Tea overall has the better bubble tea. Kung Fu has a solid line of fruit-tea fusions like their passion fruit green tea and peach oolong tea that I just can’t get enough of. Plus, it feels much more customizable since you can choose both the sugar level and ice level.

milk, green tea, beer, coffee, tea
Lindsey Jay

Winner: Kung Fu Tea

Joy Yee: 4 Kung Fu: 4

Overall Impressions

Since these categories are currently tied, I took it to a vote with my friends to see overall which they liked better. Three voted for Kung Fu, and one voted for Joy Yee.

milk, coffee, tea
Lindsey Jay

All else being equal, they preferred Kung Fu mainly because you can hang out there at tables and play games leisurely instead of waiting in a cramped area, boosting the bubble tea experience. They also thought Kung Fu had the tastier tea.

Winner: Kung Fu Tea

Joy Yee: 4 Kung Fu: 5

It was a close match, but after careful consideration, I am happy to announce Kung Fu Tea as the winner! Next time you find yourself in Chinatown, check out Kung Fu Tea for yourself.