Is Bubble Tea Halal? - All You Need To Know About Everyone's Favourite Drink


Shasha Dania •  Oct 29, 2023

[Updated 27 October 2023] When it comes to sipping on a cool drink, there's nothing we love more than a nice cup of bubble tea! Whether you're a die-hard fan of the original milk tea with pearls, or interested in trying something new, bubble tea is there for you to give you a boost throughout the day. If you've ever wondered what goes into your cup of BBT though, that's what this article is for! From whether bubble tea is halal to what halal bubble tea shops there are in Singapore, read on to find out what you need to know before you go out to buy that cup of Tie Guan Yin.

Is bubble tea halal?

The answer is: it depends. On its own, bubble tea can definitely be made of completely Muslim-friendly ingredients! The popular ingredients in most bubble teas are tea, milk, and tapioca pearls. Sweeteners such as sugar and brown sugar are also commonly added. Other variations like Thai Milk Tea or Green Milk Tea typically use pre-made Thai Milk Tea or Green tea packets for flavour.

P.S. Not a fan of bubble tea? Maybe these 8 teh tarik deliveries are what your taste buds need.

Some toppings and add on's are also Muslim-friendly. Brown sugar pearls use the same ingredients as tapioca pearls, with the addition of brown sugar for colouring and flavouring. Aiyu jelly, which is another popular topping, is also Muslim-friendly as it's made with just Aiyu seeds and water. Originating in Taiwan, you can even make the jelly on your own if you purchase a packet of Aiyu seeds! Check out day 3 of this 4D3N Alishan itinerary or this 3D2N Alishan itinerary where we got to make our own Aiyu jelly to see what it's like.

Are tapioca pearls halal?

Most tapioca pearls are made from halal or Muslim-friendly ingredients! In fact, many people have even tried their hand at making their own tapioca pearls while staying at home. The typical ingredients are tapioca flour or starch, water, and sugar or brown sugar for taste. Some people may add flavourings like honey to create flavoured pearls. A common misconception is that tapioca pearls contain gelatin - however, this is not the case for most commercially-made pearls. If you have any doubts, you can always ask the bubble tea staff about their ingredients.

P.S. Do look out for pearls that are of a specific flavouring (e.g. strawberry or mango pearls) as these might use colourings or flavourings that are ambiguous.

What are the ambiguous ingredients to look out for?

Some ingredients to look out for are syrups, colourings, and flavourings as these may be derived using alcohol or from non-halal animal products. As bubble tea now comes in so many flavours, do ask the staff if they use flavourings processed with alcohol (e.g. vanilla extract). Synthetic flavours (e.g. vanilla essence) are usually Muslim-friendly as these are synthesized in a lab and don't use any alcohol in the process.

Bubble teas are also getting more extravagant, with more and more stores offering a wide variety of toppings you can add on. Add-on's such as cheese, jellies, sweets, mini cookies, or candy may contain gelatin or have ingredients derived from animal sources. Do ask the staff if the gelatin or ingredients are plant-based or contain alcohol - if they are plant-based and do not contain alcohol they may be Muslim-friendly, but we recommend that you dine at your own discretion.

Can I find halal bubble tea in Singapore?

Sure! In Singapore, you can get halal bubble tea from TP Tea (halal-certified) and Sofnade (halal-certified).

Another halal bubble tea cafe is Mikko. It's a neighbourhood bubble tea cafe at Pasir Ris that also serves mains, like tacos and spaghetti. If you want bite-size food, they have that too! You can check out their Instagram page here!

Some other halal cafes and eateries also offer bubble tea ... and bubble tea delivery too! Read on here to find out how you can get halal bubble tea delivered to your doorstep. We've also checked with some of the popular bubble tea brands in Singapore to find out the halal status of their ingredients. While the individual stores may not be halal-certified, do note that they may use halal-certified or Muslim-friendly ingredients.

We are not a halal certification body, but this information is meant to help you make a discerning choice! Do ask the staff at any bubble tea shop if you have questions, and dine at your own discretion:

  • The Alley: Not halal-certified but no pork, pork derivatives, or alcohol used in their ingredients.
  • CHICHASanChen: Not halal-certified, but their ingredients are free from pork, lard, and alcohol.
  • Gongcha: Not halal-certified but all ingredients used are halal-certified.
  • KOI Thé: Not halal-certified but many of their ingredients are from halal-certified suppliers, and most ingredients are from plant/fruit-based sources. The exception are some dairy (cow) products e.g. ice cream, fresh milk, cream, and yakult. No gelatin or alcohol are present in any of their ingredients.
  • Milksha: Not halal-certified but their ingredients are free from pork, lard, alcohol, and alcohol derivatives.
  • Playmade: Not halal-certified, and their ingredients are all meat-free except for the Kanten Jelly topping which uses gelatine. No alcohol or alcohol derivatives are in any of their ingredients.
  • Tiger Sugar: Not halal-certified, their ingredients are free from pork, lard, and alcohol. Their brown sugar is all-natural with no additional flavourings or colourings.

If you're unsure, the best bet is always to ask the staff behind the counter! Thankfully, halal bubble tea options do exist in Singapore so we can sip and chew on those delicious pearls without any worries.