Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
May 5, 2008 11:47 AM

Bubble Tea/Boba

This has to be one of the worst food service fads of all time. I don't really understand the appeal? I like tapioca, but not this way. I almost choked on one of those stupid pearls.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I also wondered about the choking thing, especially in such a litigious society like America. I liked it when I first had it for the novelty sake because it was fun, not because I particularly enjoyed the taste. Not sure exactly where you're from, but the trend is dying down in NY and generally located in Asian neighborhoods (and street fairs). I think they're still big in Asia.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Miss Needle

      don't mean to get off-topic, but america really isnt as litigious as people generally believe. only about 30% of valid, actionable claims are brought. as an "ambulance chaser," I just feel the need to defend my profession's validity wherever possible.

      I live in georgia and had my first bubble tea in california in march, in a filipino neighborhood. any idea where this originated?

      1. re: batdown

        I believe the origination of bubble tea is from Taiwan.

        And about the litigious nature of America -- not everybody out there is an ambulance chaser, but you will never see some things happen in America compared to other countries because of fear of lawsuit. In Puerto Vallarta, there's a huge area by the center of town where there are no fences or gates or anything. You've got kids playing around there all the time. If you fall, you're going to probably crack open your head on the rocks. This would never fly in America because somebody will crack open their head and sue the city.

    2. I actually like it. I generally get it when I am at the cafe with my husband to study and read. Drinking bubbletea with a book in hand is much easier than struggling with a sandwich and it satisifies hunger just as well. The cafe we go to uses all fresh fruit and I generally get mango or pineapple.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ArikaDawn

        interesting...what do you mean by fresh fruit? are the tapioca pearls somehow prepared with fruit or do you mean tea with chunks of fruit up in it?

        1. re: batdown

          Well when served cold it is traditionally brewed tea, ice, and milk. When I get the fruit variations, rather than ice, they blend in pices of super chilled fruit. It's very refreshing. There is also the option of adding flavors syrups to the tea, ice, and milk, but I don't care for those as much. At the cafe I frequent, they wil also add the tapioca pearls to a straight fruit smoothie, no tea, if that's what you want.

      2. What do you not like about it? The sweet, milky tea? Or the actual tapioca balls?

        Also, well made fresh tapioca balls are very soft and tender and would pose no more of a choking hazard than, say, dice-sized jello cubes.

        Also, a good representation of boba tea is probably not found in a Filipino area. Better places to look for good boba would be Chinese, Taiwanese or HK neighborhoods.

        10 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          the place I went to sold different types of blended smoothies with tapioca pearls at the bottom. I like tapioca and I enjoy a good smoothie/tea, but just not together. Believe me, if I wanted to chew stuff floating around in my beverage, I would have been dropping sharkbites and gushers in years ago. I guess, generally, I dont understand why food and drink are merged into one food item.

          1. re: batdown

            I agree. I tried tea with boba for the first time about a week ago. I think I missed the point entirely! The tapioca balls have absolutely no flavor.

            1. re: High Heels and Frijoles

              The tapioca balls are not really there for the taste. It's mainly a textural thing.

              1. re: High Heels and Frijoles

                When I had my first boba, I didn't get it either...and the first ball that hit the back of my throat caught me by surprise. But after following friends into boba shops a couple times, I became addicted to it for a while.

                Now, I'll occasionally pick up a boba on the way back to the office when I'm running errand during lunch.

                1. re: High Heels and Frijoles

                  Good quality boba balls should have a slightly sweet flavor and enhance the overall flavor of the drink. The balls are made from cassava starch. I've enjoyed boba for years, though its been quite awhile since I've had some...I'm trying to cut down on sugar, otherwise I would have bought some this evening! It was such a popular fad when I was in high school...a lot of us even learned how to make it at home.

                2. re: batdown

                  But really, how is this different than say soup or chowder?

                  Take seafood chowder, aside from the temperature difference, aren't you chewing stuff that you are drinking from?

                  But then maybe I'm being presumptive and you also don't like chowder ...

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    i guess i just dont consider soup or chowder a beverage. maybe if I ate boba with a spoon, I would feel differently. I just find it strange sucking up tapioca from that oversized straw

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Yes, but, the seafood in the chowder tastes like seafood, it's not just there for texture. The boba in the tea doesn't taste like tea. It doesn't taste like anything! I still don't get it.

                      1. re: High Heels and Frijoles

                        The tapioca in the tea I've had is slightly sweet on its own, but generally takes on the flavor of whatever drink it is in.

                3. I totally choked on a tapioca pearl from a delicious almond boba today! How appropriate......won't keep me from having one again soon.