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Bubble Tea


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Ah, originated in Asia (Malaysia, can't remember which country), then made popular in Hong Kong among other places, then exported to Canada & US. Aka "Bubble Tea" (referring to the original drink being tea based with starchy "bubbles").

I'll only drink the fresh fruit (or tea ones for that matter), not the junk with powdered "stuff" to flavour the liquid. My personal recommendation in Vancouver, BC for good Bubble Tea places is Oasis (Kerrisdale area... West 41st Avenue). Nice soft, slightly chewy balls with real fruit for the drink.

Anyone know of a really really good Bubble Tea house in Seattle?

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What's the point of bubble tea other than to make the drink more filling? I don't think it tastes bad but, it doesn't exactly add much taste to the drink. Texture yes, taste no. In fact in NYC I've gotten brave enough to now order bubble tea without the bubbles and you know what, it's better.

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It depends how you feel about tapioca. :smile:

Texture is an important component in Chinese cuisine. Chinese Gastronomy, an important and fascinating book about the underpinnings of Chinese cuisine, states that the merit of each dish lies two-thirds in its flavor and one-third in its texture. At the most sophisticated tables, texture became an end in itself. In some cases the cook was challenged with the problem of providing taste for substances that had none, but were valued for their texture. Bubble teas seem to spring from this tradition.

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Is it tapioca you like or tapioca pudding? If the latter, as I suspect, it is really the eggs, cream and sugar that you like. To put it kindly, plain tapioca is a textural element, not a flavor component. For those who enjoy bubble teas, the tapioca adds some bouncy fun to what otherwise would be a simpler, sweetened, milky iced tea.

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Sandra, have you been to Dim Sum Go Go? In their vegetarian dim sum platter, they have something I think they call white sea fungus that is this amazing spongy thing, quite beautiful, that's almost all texture.

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I don't like bubble tea at all. The slimy little "bubbles" are tasteless and, well, slimy and I don't understand the point. Do the bubbles add flavor or only texture? Steve, that's a good idea, to order it without the pearls.

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They're not tasteless, but are there mostly to add texture to the beverage. They do add a slight detectable flavor to the drink.

At any rate, if they aren't to your tastes, you can order straight milk tea. No need to confuse the issue by ordering bubble tea 'without the bubbles.'

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Well, if not "bubbles" or "pearls", then perhaps have you tried Coconut meat in your "bubble tea"?

Personally, I still like "bubbles" for the texture factor, gives me something to do to NOT just chug the whole drink. btw, my favorite flavours still are Passionfruit, and also Mango. What's yours?

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I love the concept of bubble tea and have begun to see variations in the slightly more "haute" realm...

One that comes to mind... At a benefit in Chicago earlier this year Grant Achatz of Trio did a "bubble tea" consisting of, I believe, cucmber juice, green tea, a little crème fraîche, a dill ice, and salmon roe as the "bubbles". The whole was served in a cordial glass, straw and all. Cute, and sounds tasty too (didn't get to sample it).

I also like the juices/teas with little cubes of flavored agar jelly. Overall, the ones I've sampled have been cloyingly sweet or obviously not made with highest quality product. Like I said, the concept...!

Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef

New York


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I have to agree with Plotnicki (is that okay?) on the "stuff in the tea" issue. I actually like the "bubbles." I like the texture and I think they're fun (and a shocking surprise the first few times you sip one up through the big fat straw). But they end up being a distraction from the drink. It becomes all about the bubbles rather than about the tea. In essence, the bubbles take over the tea so it's not about the tea at all but rather about the bubbles. The bubbles themselves add texture initially (they don't impart flavor and they do obviously add texture), but that textural experience is when they first enter your mouth--after that it's more of an exercise in chewing and all thought (and taste) of the drink in which the bubbles were suspended is long since forgotten. So, is bubble tea about the solids or about the liquids (it is supposed to be a beverage, isn’t it)?

Personally, after my first bubble tea experience (which I had in Richmond--the suburb of Vancouver, not the state of Virginia) I determined that it was fun once but the bubbles were too much of a distraction--I preferred the beverage on its own. At which point the entire concept unraveled for me because the bubble tea shop also had fresh squeezed fruit juices (to which they were adding bubbles) so I ordered my very favorite--papaya juice.

Ellen Shapiro


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You know maybe the problem is they put too many bubbles in the tea. Sometimes you get a mouthful with just one sip and then you have to do too much chewing. Next time I order one I will suggest less bubbles. But one thing nobody mentioned, how about those cool straws that you could drive an 18 wheeler through? Ice cream stands should consider using them for extra thick shakes so you don't have to suck so hard to get the shake to come through the straw.

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Next time I'm in Canada (hopefully very soon), I'll try and find some.

klink, bubble tea is all over Seattle!

There's a stand in the Uwajimaya food court; there's the ultra-cool Gossip nearby in Chinatown; there's one on Pike right by the market; and there are about ten in the U-district. We'll go check it out.

I like bubble tea, but I haven't really noticed any gradations of quality. And I believe it's from Taiwan, originally.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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. But one thing nobody mentioned, how about those cool straws that you could drive an 18 wheeler through? Ice cream stands should consider using them for extra thick shakes so you don't have to suck so hard to get the shake to come through the straw.

YES! The straw makes you feel like a kid in grade-school with peashooter. :smile:

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In Seattle, check out Pochi Bubble tea and Crepes on 50th and University Ave (right by the saturday farmers mkt!).

They have really nice bubble tea. A favorite of mine is the fresh strawberry "smoothie" with milk pudding added. drool.... This mix is also a good way to introduce people to the idea of a textural component in a drink.

Their food is ok, the toasts and crepes are fun!

For the adventurous or insane, try a durian bubble tea!!!!!!

Ben :laugh:

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!


I have two words for America... Meat Crust.


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I like bubble tea. I like the texture of the bubbles, and they seem to absorb some tea flavor after a while. But, i do order it sometimes without the bubbles (or milk) when I'm in the (already sweetened) iced tea frame of mind. I prefer that to getting unsweetened ice tea somwhere and stiring like mad to gte the (now cold) sugar to dissolve. :)


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I agree, if the tea is not intensely flavoured, then the bubbles don't pick up any flavour and they only add a textural element to the tea... which I actually like.

I had a "mini" reunion over the weekend with the girls that I lived with at college. Two girls of japanese descent, two of chinese, two of korean... my husband and another korean friend went to St. Alps to have bubble tea. We actually had a discussion about how important texture is to Asian cuisine, and how important having vegetables crisp and noodles al dente is to us. The Japanese have a word for it, "ha gotai" it literally means "tooth feel", and is hugely important.

My asian friends and I all love bubble tea (not to say we are representative of ALL asians), for us it adds another element of complexity to the drink. Although, I wouldn't turn down a glass of bubble tea without the bubbles either!

And St Alps has a black tea and coffee bubble tea and that one actually imparts its flavour to the tapioca. Chew and taste even more intense coffee!

By the way, my very anglo british husband who can describe tapioca pudding as his most hated dessert at school growing up, loves bubble tea. :rolleyes::rolleyes:

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I'm new to the board;but I'm an expat American living in Singapore.

I heard that Bubble tea originated in Taiwan;but made trendy in

HK. The Bubble tea boom has ended in Singapore;but at one point

in 2000 it was everywhere. The going price for Bubble tea is about

90 cents to $1.50 Singapore dollars. The tapioca balls are good;but

some stall owners under cook or over cook the tapioca balls. If you

like Japanese mochi(rice cakes made with rice flour) you will like

the bubble tea. If your not familiar with the rice flour treats- the

Bubble tea might seem overated.

There's still some Bubble tea stalls on the island ;but they seem to

be the last hold outs. These stalls usually have a huge menu.

Taiwan pudding with the tapioca balls, yougurt shakes with tapioca

balls, coffee shakes with tapioca balls etc.. You can even order

just the juices or teas with out the tapioca balls now. Bubble tea

without the bubbles. LOL.

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I have to say it ... I am a closet tapioca pudding fan.. I like sago too.. sigh .. I don't know how after all this time and all the good food in the world.. I still like Tapioca pudding. A comfort food I guess, reminds me of being little and watching TV in my PJs with a bowl of creamy sweet tapioca pudding.

Ok I think with this post I have just destroyed any possibility of having some credibility on this site :) :biggrin:

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Gah. Tapioca is or was one of the enforced foods at British boarding schools. Every bloody day.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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The Bubble tea boom has ended in Singapore;

How long do you give it in North America? Food fads have a very short lifespan. There was a time when every other store on Lexington Avenue was a flavored popcorn place; then, it was chocolate chip cookies (or were the cookies first?)

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Longer than Singapore that's for sure. The food fads here seem to

come in surges. First the novelty , then the bandwagon hoppers, then

the over saturation. Since I've been in Singapore (Dec 2000) I've witnessed

the end of "Apple Strudel", the entire Bubble Tea boom, and now the

fancy Japanized French bakery bread bonanza. Surely the over priced

European Chocolate is the next thing here. First it was at posh Takashimaya

Department Store, then post Tangs department stores- it's at the local

supermarkets now.

We have our food fads, but we're stubborn. I think we Americans learn

to keep food from fads. Look at the Cookie biz, or California Kitchen/ Wolf

Gang Puck Asian Pizza dishes. America is huge. There's always a market

to expand to.

I would like to see how far Bubble Tea could go in the USA in a city without

an Asian community.

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