Our youngest daughter is living in Alameda, California, a quaint, small island community in the San Francisco Bay Area, connected to Oakland by bridges and tunnels. We were out for a walk on the last night of my visit when Rachel asked if I’d ever had bubble tea. When it became obvious that I had no idea what she was talking about, she took me to Quickly, an Asian Fusion Cafe with franchises in Northern California and Nevada.
I was so enthralled with the rose bubble tea she bought me that I went back the next day for another tea, a bit of lunch, and asked if I could video the tea making for this post. The staff were a little surprised by my request, but they graciously complied. The packaging process was as fascinating to me as the black tapioca pearls (bubbles) in my tea. We made the tea video just as their lunch rush began. The restaurant filled up with high school students on their lunch break. I can understand why the kids go there. The food and drink are delicious, perfectly and “quickly” prepared and very affordable.
From what I’ve learned in my research, bubble tea began as a drink for youngsters in Taiwan. It’s popularity has spread globally in Asian communities and now comes in all kinds of flavors, some of which include no actual tea – more like a non-carbonated Italian soda.
The bubbles are large tapioca pearls, kept in a syrup after cooking. In the video, I ask my server about the liquid in which the tapioca is stored. You may not be able to hear her answer; she says that’s honey flavored. The end result is a gummy bear texture and taste.
So here’s a peek at the actual process. We start of with a serving of the bubbles (also known as bobas, remember my fascination with the filled, popping bobas at the yogurt shop?), rose syrup, ice, cold water, and then the top of the cup is sealed. You drink bubble tea with a special straw. It has a pointed end to pop through the sealed lid and is big enough to allow the blueberry sized tapioca to travel up the straw. So tasty and so much fun!
My food was great too:
|I couldn’t pass up the shrimp, something we don’t find in Poland|
|I believe the sesame balls are a white sweet potato dough with a dab of black bean in the center. At the WOOK restaurants in Poland, these are served with a drizzle of caramel sauce for dessert|