The Royal Tea Truck, once part of the food truck landscape at Drexel, has found a new throne on Penn’s campus at 40th and Locust Streets. The bubble tea and lunch truck joins the growing number of bubble tea options in University City, including Winterfell on 40th and Ludlow Streets and Ochatto on 37th and Chestnut. Street decided to find out more about the move from Drexel’s campus, bubble tea and business in University City.
Compared to a lot of Penn’s food truck scene, the Royal Tea Truck stands out with its bright yellow and red painted exterior and smiling pandas dotting the truck. When asked why they moved from Drexel’s campus, a representative for the truck told us that they were offered the spot on 40th Street by the City of Philadelphia and that it was too good of an offer to pass up. The intersection at 40th and Locust is no stranger to traffic, with the Dental School, High Rise Dorms and Gregory College House all within a five–minute walk.
Location isn’t the only thing that's changed about Royal Tea—the menu's changed as well. The truck went from being a snack and bubble tea truck to a food truck serving rice platters. The menu was changed so the truck could serve more fulfilling meals, but the old snack menu may return in the future.
When you walk up to the window, the menu has many options for tea: three speciality teas, eight milk teas and six fruit teas. The three speciality teas are superhero themed: Iron Man, Spider Man and The Hulk. As for food, they offer four different types of teriyaki combos (chicken, beef, shrimp and tofu) and each comes with a choice of six bubble teas. Each combo is $8. After trying the Jasmine Bubble tea, which was sweet and flavorful with soft boba, Royal Tea staff recommended we try the Chicken Teriyaki and Black Milk Tea or Thai Milk tea combo next time.
Royal Tea brews their tea fresh, multiple times a day. The bubble tea is also competitively priced: a regular milk or fruit tea is $3 (large is $4) and a regular speciality tea is $3.50 (large is $4.50).
In the Royal Tea Truck’s two–year history, this move represents one of many steps to expansion. After starting at Drexel two years ago, opening Teassert Bar in Chinatown, relocating to Penn and, in the future, opening a Temple University location, this Philly bubble tea vendor has made their mark in Philadelphia. And, thankfully, they won't stop anytime soon.