National Bubble Tea Day: 5 bubble tea facts that may surprise you

By Sarah Chua April 27, 2023
National Bubble Tea Day: 5 bubble tea facts that may surprise you
Koi bubble tea with its eco-straw set. Photo: Koi Singapore/Instagram

You’ll be hard-pressed not to find bubble tea in Singapore, no matter where you are. Or in the rest of Southeast Asia, for that matter. 

The sweet and refreshing drink, typically topped with chewy tapioca pearls, or boba, is undoubtedly well-loved in Singapore and the region. 

The numbers speak for themselves. According to Grab Singapore’s 2022 Food and Grocery Trends report, milk tea was the sixth-most-ordered item on the GrabFood delivery service across 2021 and 2022. That’s right below fried chicken in 2021 and nuggets in 2022. 

In advance of National Bubble Tea Day this Sunday (April 30), let’s deep dive into how bubble tea has been consumed around the region through the lens of GrabFood’s data from 2022.

1. A cup of bubble tea is ordered every minute on GrabFood across the region

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Bubble tea bottles. Photo: Unsplash

Yes, you read that right! 

Based on GrabFood data, consumers ordered a cup of bubble tea every single minute in 2022. 

If that doesn’t show how much Southeast Asians love their boba, then let this other fact sink in — the region consumed a total of 300,000 litres of bubble tea in 2022. That works out to about one-eighth of an Olympic-sized pool!

2. Thais are the most avid bubble tea drinkers

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Photo: Unsplash

It’s no secret Thais love their milk tea, with their version of the beverage (Thai iced milk tea) featuring on most menus across the country. 

But we see that bubble tea has also made its way into the hearts of the Thais by appearing in other forms — the milk tea flavour is commonly seen in sweet snacks such as ice cream, cakes and puddings in Thai cafes and shops.

3. Singapore’s top 3 bubble tea flavours are classic milk tea, black tea and taro

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Assorted bubble tea flavours at Gong Cha. Photo: GongChaSG/Instagram

While it is unsurprising that the classic milk tea has taken first place in Singapore’s bubble tea flavour rankings (in fact, it’s top in all regional markets, except Malaysia), taro, or yam, has also muscled its way into the palates of boba drinkers in Singapore.

Interestingly, Singapore was the only country with taro in its top three flavours. 

If you’re looking to get your taro milk or taro milk tea fix, here are some well-loved takes on taro around Singapore:

  • Gong Cha’s taro drink (S$5.20)
  • Koi’s oolong milk tea with Taro Q pearls (S$4)
  • HeyTea’s taro coconut milk (S$4.50)

4. Malaysia’s bubble tea drinkers bucked the trend, with brown sugar coming out top

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Original brown sugar boba milk from Tiger Sugar. Photo: Tiger Sugar Singapore/Instagram

While brown sugar was also among some of Indonesians’ favourite flavours, Malaysians’ bubble tea trends differed quite a bit from those of their regional counterparts.

Bubble tea of the brown sugar variety came out on top in Malaysia. The other two top flavours were classic and chocolate.

The top flavours in the other countries in the region were:

  • Indonesia – Classic, brown sugar and green tea
  • The Philippines – Classic, black tea and caramel 
  • Thailand – Classic, green tea and black tea
  • Vietnam – Classic, green tea and yuzu

5. Old is gold – classic toppings including tapioca pearls, grass jelly, taro and pudding are ordered most

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Having Chicha Sanchen tea. Photo: Pexels

Despite the gamut of toppings available at most bubble tea chains, classic toppings such as tapioca pearls, grass jelly, taro and pudding still proved to be crowd favourites, appearing frequently in GrabFood orders.

If you made it to the end of this article, you must be a diehard bubble tea fan. Check out how pearls are made from scratch and read about your favourite OG bubble tea brands

All bubble tea brands mentioned here are on the GrabFood delivery service and offer free delivery (up to S$3 off) with GrabUnlimited. You can also book a ride to their stores.

Sarah Chua-HungryGoWhere

Sarah Chua


Sarah is constantly seeking out new coffee spots and cocktail bars around the world, and should probably drink more water while at it.

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