Pearl Milk Tea from Snack Express (Hong Kong)

Pearl Milk TeaA cup of Pearl Milk Tea is probably one of my favorite holiday treats. Always served  iced, it is incredibly popular in Hong Kong. Besides its coolness, I am happy with the tea’s functions on fulfilling basic human desires, i.e. against thirst and hunger. I particularly like the chewy, waxy and jelly-like texture of pearls. With some jasmine flavor, it can be a light meal a few hours before dinner.

After hanging around last Sunday afternoon, I bought a cup of 350 ml Pearl Milk Tea from Snack Express (a very small snack bar in my home town). I stuck by Black Tea, milk and pearl, although others might like to add caramel/herbal flavor, and have grass jelly / nata de coco / konjac instead.

The salesperson stirred the black tea, condensed milk powder, syrup and ice in an electronic blender, and then poured dozens of pearls into the cup. She worked fast and the tea came out in 2 minutes. The packaging is featureless, yet has shown different layers of the tea clearly – pearls at the bottom, black tea in the middle and milk foam on the top. Well, maybe, they think that the tea speaks for itself.


It is a snack after all. The tea did not possess much black tea aroma, nor a creamy texture. But the sweetness and full jasmine fragrance was delighting. I also found a subtle scent of coconut milk which may be their successful formula. The fragrance faded away quickly and left the addictive bite of tea together with a few pearls. Usually, I get 3 pearls in a suck. These chewy balls taste plain and something like a mixture of flour and brown sugar. I sucked the tea once again in order to retrieve the delicate fragrance but the cup was soon empty.

Pearl Milk Tea arrived in Hong Kong 10 years ago and sold at HK$20. Now, it is “dumping”  at HK$5 (US$0.64) in my home town, although the price doubles in the CBD. The tea, being hygienic and offering a fair taste, is a really good buy. What can you say? No doubt, on the one hand, students with limited income can barely resist this temptation. On the other hand, the business, despite a seemingly crowded environment, has mushroomed again during this mighty economic depression. The cost of a cup of Pearl Milk Tea, excluding rent and electricity however, is about HK$1.5 (US$0.19). You may like to think about it.

Reference: A Big Mac set meal is selling at HK$25.8 (US$3.3) in Hong Kong.


The Tea Guru

Very nice review!! It makes me wish I were walking the streets of Hong Kong! Your description is mouth-watering and so precise…thank you so much for sharing your experience with this tea.


Thank you very much for your encouragement. Sharing views on teas are indeed relaxing and interesting.


Yum! I love bubble tea! (that is what we call it here in the US) It is a favorite treat when I visit the mall (which isn’t often) I do wish that we could get them at that price here though! Here, it cost about $4 or $5 (US) for a bubble tea.

The Tea Guru

She’s right, it’s PAINFULLY expensive to buy a bubble tea here in the US. Over here it’s like a delicacy.


Thank you very much. Sharing views on teas is really interesting and relaxing.

Haha, I’m very lucky then. If you don’t mind, I would like to buy you a cup of bubble tea when you visit HK.

The Tea Guru

I would very much like that. Perhaps some day I will be lucky enough to visit! Our tea review blog here would be much duller without your reviews!


Hi, may I know where I can find Snack Express in Hkg? I will be going there this Christmas and I might as well try it. hehehe…



Hi Lite,

It is located at a remote corner in Tuen Mun, a town 1-hr bus away from the CBD.

You may search it via
and type in “lee bo”.

You may get lost. This kind of Pearl Milk Tea can be easily found, for example, in Mongkok.


Is there anything similar to this in India, with Chai tea? I’m going in a few weeks and I love Chai but it’s going to be about 30c and I’d prefer an iced drink. This sounds delicious!

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