Milk-tea cafés are ubiquitous in Chengdu, especially in areas near universities and middle schools. A classic milk tea is a mix of black tea, sugar, and condensed milk, and is usually served with big, black tapioca beads. The drink originated in Taiwan, and its popularity spread rapidly to other parts of the world. In North America, the drink is referred to as "Boba" or "bubble tea"; in China, it's called 珍珠奶茶 (zhēnzhū nǎichá or "pearl milk tea").
The milk-tea shops in Chengdu are generally tiny stands or stylish small cafés that cater to the city's hip youth. If you want to find one yourself, just head to any student-hangout area and you are sure to run into a handful. Xinnan Lu near the Computer City area is also lined with milk-tea cafés, including this newly opened one decorated and named after the national treasure and pride of Sichuan.
In addition to the classic pearl milk tea, most shops will serve a number of variations on the classic pearl milk tea as well as other sweet drinks—coffee drinks, flavored tea drinks, slushies (沙冰), and milkshakes (奶昔). Milk teas can be made hot or cold, with or without the tapioca beads, or with other types of beads, including coconut or cantaloupe gummy wedges, and in a multitude of different flavors, some of the most common being chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, or other fruit flavors. Many shops also offer green tea as a base in place of the black tea.