By Jade Inglada
Patience goes a long way for generous servings at a fair price over at the 88 Tea Bar.
Conveniently located across the street from East Los Angeles College in a small shopping center, this Asian café offers a variety of delicious meal plate items, snacks, a wide selection of boba tea drinks and more importantly a $4.99 student special.
The moment customers enter they are greeted with a bright and colorful interior. The dining area invites people in with warm yellow walls and eye-catching seating options. Outdoor seating is offered as well.
Not all menu items are displayed on the wall. Only the snacks and plate items are shown, so it’s important to go through the menus that are available on the counter.
The crispy chicken wings are fresh out of the kitchen while still burning hot. The extra fried skins are garnished with chopped green onions. While the chicken itself is well cooked, the wings are mostly bland as the skin lacks any serious distinct flavor.
The chicken katsu, a large piece of fried breaded chicken, comes with a heaping amount of steamed white rice and a little bit of broccoli. The bread crust has a crunchy texture and the chicken is juicy, and not the least bit dried out. The rice is well cooked and the broccoli also tastes fresh.
The plates come with a small cup of sweet and tangy sauce that gives the dishes an extra twist of flavor.
88 Tea Bar offers a Student Special plate for $4.99. It includes fried fish filet, BBQ chicken, steamed white rice and broccoli. The to-go menus also come with a $1 off coupon for any boba drink when you purchase a rice plate that’s $6.50 or more.
For an average plate price being $6.50 and up, the cost is fair for the large portions diners receive.
A nice perk for customers would be the variety of boba tea drinks available on their menu. From milk, green and black teas to icy slush and smoothies, 88 Tea Bar offers as many drinks as they do food.
For an additional $0.50, customers can include extras such as pudding, red bean, lychee jelly, or honey boba.
The passion fruit boba slush comes in a short but wide cup. The ice does not melt right away into liquid and lasts, unlike most places that make similar boba slush beverages.
The café does not offer any other type of soft drinks aside from Coke, but with such a wide selection of unique flavors, there’s no harm in experimenting.
While the ordering process is quick, the problem lies in the time between placing the order and receiving it. 88 Tea Bar has busy days, and can be understaffed when there’s a high customer flow.
The wait time can be as long as 20 minutes, but the end result is worth it.
The total was $11.35 for one plate and a slush drink, which isn’t bad considering the amount of food that is given.
Customers are welcome to use the free Wi-Fi service while dining. There is also a television set up on the back corner wall that plays back-to-back English and Asian pop music videos.
Anyone that enjoys Asian food while getting a good bargain should consider stopping by 88 Tea Bar. It is located at 2215 S. Atlantic Boulevard, in Monterey Park.