Bubble tea is something that almost every Taiwanese person holds dear to their heart, myself included. Let's be honest, we're not exactly known for much else outside of Jay Chou, so boba is basically a thing of cultural pride, a national treasure of sorts. When I read about a Chinese bakery in Philly that was making yogurt pop boba drinks, I was both curious and livid. Put chewy tapioca balls in milk tea, smoothies, whatever, and I guarantee you it'll be awesome. It's a formula that works... you don't fuck with something that works. It's like insulting millions of Chinese people by telling them that their beloved national drink of choice isn't good enough. Them's fightin' words. But like I said, I was curious. If they actually keep this "yogurt pop" nonsense on their menu, then there must be some reason right?
Apologies for the picture of a partially finished smoothie. I get that some people don't like to see photos of things that are half-eaten, but I really didn't know how else to depict the bubbles without going to such extremes. The concept is simple, you take yogurt drink (think Yakult) and put it inside thin layers of what is most likely a gelatin based skin. These are your "new and improved bubbles." They look kind of like little cream colored pearls sitting in a bed of unnaturally purple crushed ice. I realize that sounds incredible... but really, they kind of suck. Sure, the idea of stuffing yogurt drink inside bubbles is admittedly very creative, but why? I tried drinking it with an open mind, but I honestly don't see the appeal. The tartness of yogurt isn't really something I want complementing a smoothie or milk tea, and the skins end up sticking to the top of your mouth (they actually feel kind of like dead burnt skin). I generally like most drinks that have sugar in them, but this one legitimately made me sad. Failtown.
Anyway, I want to apologize to anyone who actually likes these things. Sorry. I'm sorry you've never had truly fantastic bubble tea, because it puts this to shame. If you've ever tasted a batch of perfectly cooked tapioca pearls, you'd know that they needed no such improvement.