November 28, 2000
7:54 AM   Subscribe

Need something to wash down your Turducken? Try a tapioca milk tea. "A popular import from Taiwan, the frothy beverage is a mix of tea, milk, sugar and giant black tapioca balls served hot or cold. " Guhhh! Imagine slurping on your beverage and then... GLUCK!... a big ball of gumminess gets shlucked through your straw. Gluck, gluck, gluck! Bubble Tea, will it catch on?
posted by ljc (27 comments total)
i can't believe i registered just to reply to this, but here we go...

believe it or not, tapioca milk tea is actually good. i was first introduced to this tasty beverage this summer at the st alps tea house in chinatown. and i just found another st alps on 3rd ave, about 3 blocks from my place. good flavours (almond, coconut, yay!), and you know, those big, scary, squishy, black tapioca balls are actually fun.
posted by dahlia81 at 8:07 AM on November 28, 2000

This drink has been extremely popular with Asian youth for the past few years. It has caught on with the general public also. It's got a Starbucks-like price tag, with drinks going for $3.99 CDN and up.

Bubble tea shops almost have their own subculture here in Toronto. Late at night, you will see youth in there, sitting at couches, sipping their bubble tea and talking, playing games, and just generally having a good time.

Part of this whole subculture usually includes "sup'ed" up import cars (i.e. lowered civics with big spoilers), luxury cars, teeny tiny cell phones, and smoking.

The tapioca balls are actually quite yummy... adding an interesting element to an already wide assortment of flavors. If you get the opportunity, I urge you to ask around and find out where a good bubble tea shop is, and give it a try. I now have a caucasian friend who considers himself to be a bubble tea connosieur . Hehe...

In Toronto, I recommend:

A Place for Us in First Markham Place
Ten Ren's in either Market Village or Metro Square

In Vancouver, I recommend:

Bubble World on Granville St. south of 57th St. (I don't remember exactly where)
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 8:08 AM on November 28, 2000

i don't know. i cannot feel compelled to drink anything that 'squishes'. also, tapioca gives me the creeps.
posted by jyoung at 8:16 AM on November 28, 2000

"sup'ed" up import cars (i.e. lowered civics with big spoilers), luxury cars, teeny tiny cell phones, and smoking give me the creeps.
posted by tiaka at 8:22 AM on November 28, 2000

A few years ago my brother and I got a can of "Grass Jelly Drink" 'cause hey, we'll try anything once....

It tasted like lawnmower.
And the jelly blobs were nasty.
I suppose that if you grew up with it,
that lawnmower isn't a bad flavor, actually.
posted by mimi at 8:28 AM on November 28, 2000

Imagine slurping on your beverage and then... GLUCK!... a big ball of gumminess gets shlucked through your straw.

Anybody remember Orbitz?
posted by harmful at 8:42 AM on November 28, 2000

jyoung: It's more chewy than squishy. Try it.

tiaka: Well, that's what kids do.. If you go during the daytime, you can usually avoid the whole scene.

mimi: Grass Jelly drink isn't for the weak stomached. Heh.. I think you'd like bubble tea a LOT more. Most chinese kids don't even like grass jelly (it's an acquired taste), and it's one of the things moms make us eat because it has some special properties (like making pimples go away... or so she'd have you believe).

harmful: Oh yuck... do NOT compare bubble tea to Orbitz. That was a brutally nasty drink. Bubble tea is very, very different.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 8:59 AM on November 28, 2000

I am not so fond of Tea, but last time I was in NY I was taken someplace where these teas are served, and found a nice peach and condensed milk drink with tapioca beads that made me giggle. I like Orbitz too, but that makes me glower. God stuff all around.
Postscript: the Spell checker questioned condensed milk and suggested condemned milk instead. Only if BGH is present.
posted by thirteen at 9:41 AM on November 28, 2000

Know what's really fun? TAPIOCA BUBBLE RACES!

Take two tapioca balls, stick them on the wall, and watch them go! First one to touch the floor wins, but if it falls off, it's disqualified. A hit at parties.
posted by Succa at 10:24 AM on November 28, 2000

thank you succa. i almost passed out in my office from that visual. then i started thinking of cottage cheese, yogurt, and all of the other uneasiness passing as nourishment. shiver.
posted by jyoung at 10:26 AM on November 28, 2000

They've got one of these tapioca drink places in Berkeley, CA, for those in the Berkeley/Oakland who want to try it. Although I'm sure there's one or more in San Francisco.

I was always scared to try it. Lumpy drinks are not for me, be it tapioca tea or glögg.
posted by snarkout at 10:27 AM on November 28, 2000

I always liked tapioca wars... take a nice big sip from the straw, and let the liquid go down your throat. now you can load the bubbles back into your straw and shoot them pea-shooter style at your friends. Great fun for whenever you run out of roman candles. =P

I'm kidding about the roman candles btw.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 10:46 AM on November 28, 2000

It's mulled wine season in Oxford. Yum. Not so much lumpy as, well, fruited.
posted by holgate at 10:57 AM on November 28, 2000

<obligitory response from young asian person regarding bubble teas>
I've managed to take a good amount of co-workers to the local bubble tea place down the street (if you're in San Jose, CA: Fantasia Coffee and Tea, on Wolfe Road near I-280)

Roughly, half the white non-Asian people LOVE the bubble-thingies at the bottom of the cup, the other half associate little round brown things with gravel and it freaks them out. To each their own, I guess.

Oh yeah... you can try making them yourself, too.
</obligitory response from young asian person regarding bubble teas>
posted by littleyellowdifferent at 12:02 PM on November 28, 2000

um, actually i've been waiting to try the stuff for a while now

anyone ever have that great coconut milk with the big chunk of soft coconut at the bottom?
ah, starchy goodness
posted by ethylene at 1:14 PM on November 28, 2000

This was the link I meant to have in the first post, not the page the "tapioca milk tea" linked to. Oooops.

Considering some of the positive posts concerning the bubble tea... I will make an effort to try it.
posted by ljc at 2:15 PM on November 28, 2000

Mmm...I love this stuff, though when I was contracting at HP I heard it called, "tea with pearls," which sounds so magical. And I think I've been to the place on Wolfe Road to get it. Don't knock it till you've tried it, it's lots of fun, and tasty too!
posted by megnut at 4:20 PM on November 28, 2000

meg, they gave you the literal translation.
posted by hobbes at 6:11 PM on November 28, 2000

btw, the place on Wolfe Rd, is that the bakery with lots of other goods, too?
posted by hobbes at 6:11 PM on November 28, 2000

i'm going to guess you can't find this in st. louis, missouri? anyone?
posted by bkeaggy at 6:44 PM on November 28, 2000

bkeaggy: I'm not enough of an STL native to know exactly where to look, but aren't there a lot of international markets somewhere down on South Grand? I know I've heard the name "Jay International Foods", though I've never been there.
posted by harmful at 7:59 PM on November 28, 2000

OK, no one has done it yet - but I can't sit back and let this grievous transgression go unnoticed . . .

ljc, y'ain't supposed to be linking back to yer own 'blog like that. Upsets people, you know how it is . . .

Of course, I don't mind - just felt a little, tiny flame was necessary.

posted by aladfar at 9:44 PM on November 28, 2000

hobbes: the bakery with the baked goods is Sheng Kee, which is next to the Ranch 99. Fantasia is in the back of the shopping center -- look for the store with the Mexican busboys and the pissed off Taiwanese teenagers in the lowered Honda Civics, giving dirty looks to anyone that doesn't look Asian enough.

Me bitter much? Never.
posted by littleyellowdifferent at 11:47 PM on November 28, 2000

aladfar... I KNOW I made that mistake. I didn't realize I put the wrong link in until a friend was reading it. AND if you look at the post I made at 2:15 I pointed out that I made a mistake. This only my second time doing posting, so I apologize, but you are being kinda harsh.
posted by ljc at 6:42 AM on November 29, 2000

In fact, I felt panic when I realized I made that mistake. I figured someone would say something, I just didn't think it would be such a scolding. This has made me nervous. I don't think I am going to post again for awhile.
posted by ljc at 6:45 AM on November 29, 2000

anyone know of a place in nyc that serves bubble tea? *good* bubble tea?

posted by judomadonna at 7:02 AM on November 29, 2000

ljc, I think he was kidding. Or "kidding." It's hard to say. Irony is the new Helvetica.

But I'm glad you mis-posted! Otherwise I never would have seen the wonderfulness that is how to wear your gap scarf.
posted by rodii at 5:33 PM on November 29, 2000

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