|Photo courtesy of dchantastic|
Growing up in Hawaii and later in California, I never knew about this "boba phenomenon" until my teenagers became hooked on the drinks sold at Boba teahouses that are mostly owned by either Korean, Taiwanese, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese or Thailanders.
If adults love their coffee, teens love their Boba just the same!
People refer to the popular ice tea drink as Pearl Ice Tea, Tapioca Pearl drink, Milk tea, or boba ice tea. The drink is a concoction of tea, milk, sugar, and tapioca balls. The black tapioca balls is the unique component of the drink and most people like to chew on it because of its soft, gummy-like texture.
The drink is non-carbonated and non-alcoholic, and addicting! Customers can either have it served hot or cold but my kids, like the majority, like it cold!
If there is anything that can differentiate a boba drink from any other drink, it is the wide straw to slurp the tapioca, the plastic top, and the transparent cup to show off your tapioca at the bottom. Some of the drinks come in pastel colors, coming from the array of fruit combinations a customer can request for their tea. Customers can choose from a wide selection of fruit like mango, strawberry, peach, orange, blueberry, and a slew of other flavors. In addition, they can select the type of tea they want such as jasmine tea, herbal honey tea, black tea or green tea.
The boba drink is a cultural staple for young Asians in Southeast Asia, around the world, and in U.S. cities where there is a large Asian population like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Honolulu, Seattle, and Canadian cities Vancouver and Toronto. You'll notice, most tea houses reflect the young crowd it serves with blaring music, colorful decor, and comfy couches.
Yes, that yummy goodness tastes good but little did I know that it contains anywhere from 300-900 calories with whole milk as one of its main component. If you are diet-conscious, you can ask for a "sugar-free" version and request low-fat milk or no milk for your boba drink. Check with your boba tea house expert first before you make that special request.
The drinks aren't cheap and average $4 and above, depending on the type of tea you order. However, the price is generally accepted by customers, who can't get enough of this overindulgence.
Oh, and if you really want Asia's most addictive soft drink, make sure you go during off-hours (not during lunch or dinner times or the weekends) when wait times are less at your favorite Boba tea house. That's what I learned the hard way.