The Boba Files: BAMBU Desserts & Drinks (San Jose, CA)

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Files #001 BAMBU? Bamboo? In milk tea? Say what? 


First of all, just let me say: I am one with milk tea. I kid you not, I can drink this every day for the rest of my life if it wasn’t such a calorie bomb.

Bambu is first on the list of the many boba places I frequent. The location of Bambu is convenient; located in a large Asian plaza filled with small restaurants and a huge 99 Ranch, it’s in a prime location for customers. It’s also on the way, to and from work. I would say I come to this particular BAMBU semi-regularly—probably at least a couple times a month (and much more so during the summer time).




They specialize in a Vietnamese dessert called Chè. The best way I can describe Chè is shaved ice + coconut milk + an assortment of sweet beans (azuki, mung beans, green beans), jellies, tapiocas and fruit. It’s a bit like the Filipino’s Halo Halo and a bit like the Korean’s Patbingsoo if you need to draw comparisons. This particular location can get packed with customers quickly—and by quickly I mean out the door and onto the sidewalk. But no worries, these ladies are pros at serving these large crowds.





Usually, I would order their Jasmine milk tea or their Strawberry milk tea with either their honey boba or the pandan jelly. I find the Jasmine milk tea quite strong (as in, it’s quite high on the “how-much-can-it-mess-up-Amy’s-sleeping” radar). It’s also on the sweeter side, but it dilutes to a bearable level thanks to all the ice. The strawberry milk tea (as shown in the photo) comes with bits of mashed strawberries in it and there’s a nice milky contrast to the sweet and slightly grainy strawberry seeds. On special occasions, I splurge on the chè. While I like chè, I can’t eat too much of it without getting stuffed (especially the avocado one).

Ambiance wise, it’s a small café (the mirrors on the side gives off the illusion of a bigger space) and they play music videos on the large flat screen they have. I’ve seen everything on that TV, from Vietnamese songs to English to Korean and the rare occasional Japanese. It can get really loud in the café, especially during the warmer weekends when everybody is hanging out and trying to find something refreshing to cool down from the heat.

Bambu is a fairly well known establishment in the neighborhood. They are a franchise so there are other Bambus around the South Bay and even one as far up as Davis.

Have you ever tried Bambu? If so, what's your favorite on the menu? 

Bambu Desserts & Drinks
1688 Hostetter Rd.
Ste D

San Jose, CA 95131

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