Bubble tea (or Boba Tea, if you wish) is definitely my latest obsession. Any day that I don’t have it, I seem to spend all day thinking about ways I can acquire it and if it’s in my “calorie budget” for the day. It’s like some kind of Sam-crack. I realize the variety that I like is definitely non-traditional (more like a smoothie than tea, really), but hey, that’s how I like it! I’m North American, I take other people’s cultural traditions and bastardize them, dammit!
The bubbles in bubble tea are black tapioca pearls that get glomped up your thick straw mixed with the icy, smoothie-like drink. If you were wondering about “glomped”, well no, it’s not a word, but it’s my onomatopoeic way of describing the sound and sensation of sucking up the chewy, gummy tapioca balls. Apparently the drink originated in Taiwan before spreading across Asia and into North America.
Flavour-wise, it comes in all kinds! Some are made from fresh fruit, some are powdered mixes (the milk teas often are, as opposed to the fresh fruit ones). My personal favourite flavours so far are taro, young coconut, raspberry and pineapple, but I still have so many more to try.
One other thing I love about bubble tea is jamming the thick straw into the crazy sealed plastic top. Most joints use a special sealing machine to place a stretched plastic “lid” on top of the drink that you have to puncture with a straw. I love these because some of them have the oddest graphics and sayings on them.
There’s a ton of new places that have opened up in Winnipeg recently, but Boyfriend Nik and I are currently digging Asia City (especially upon discovering that there was one only a 5 minute drive from our house – score!). There’s also Tea House 101 on Portage, Bubble Bistro in the South Osborne area and a little place at the Forks whose name I can’t recall. So if you haven’t tried it before and like me have always been fascinated by the black pearls at the bottom, give it a try!