Bopomofo Cafe


Lisza Lo, Staff Writer

Boba shops are pretty much located on every block of the San Gabriel Valley’s 626 area, but it takes unique characteristics for these shops to set themselves apart from others.

Bopomofo Cafe is currently the hottest place for drinks and food. The popular cafe has a never-ending flow of customers due to its extensive following of over 26,000 on Instagram. Phil Wang, the co-founder of Wong Fu Productions, founded the cafe with business partner Eric Wang. The success of Bopomofo Cafe is in part fueled by the loyalty of Wong Fu’s online fanbase.

The road to prosperity was not simple, though. In 2017, Bopomofo Cafe was planned to be opened in a different location. The landlord backed out of the plans last minute, which transported both founders’ plans back to square one. Despite this failure, the cafe has found itself a new, welcoming home in San Gabriel.

In an interview with Eater, Wang shared that Bopomofo Cafe was created with the vision of paying “homage to both Chinese and American traditions.” The name itself is a reference to the first four syllables of the Mandarin phonetic system, ㄅㄆㄇㄈ (bopomofo). His desire has been reflected in the menu, which ranges from freshly made teas and coffees to Chinese-American fusion snacks. In order to “maintain and offer only the highest quality,” Bopomofo only uses “real fruit” instead of flavored syrups unlike other boba shops in the same area. Some of their special menu items include, but are not limited to, Strawberry Basil Ginger Lemonade, Carrot Matcha Milk Tea, and Mapo Tots!

Since their grand opening event on Mar. 9, Bopomofo Cafe has had lines stretching down the block daily. Some of AHS’ own students themselves visited the cafe to see what all the hype was about!

Junior Katrina Lee tried the Carrot Matcha Milk Tea during her time there, while Junior Genevieve Ngo had the Kiwi drink. Katrina thought the “drink was good and different from other local boba shops” while Genevieve believed that “although it was tasty, it was kind of overpriced.” On the other hand, Genevieve “enjoyed the popcorn chicken, especially the sauce it was served with.”

Overall, Bopomofo Cafe has introduced a multitude of drinks, unlike the classic milk teas that many are used to. Because it’s still a new boba shop, there is still room for improvement and expansion in its menus. Be sure to visit Bopomofo Cafe in the near future to find a new favorite drink or snack for yourself!