Thursday, March 18, 2010

BOBA knows no bounds in creativity

Another gripe I have with NYC and the US in general. How does it cost you $5 to mix milk with tea and scoop in tapioca bubbles from a giant vat? No, that's a serious question. Is it to cover costs? That's impossible, the components are all super cheap. Labor? Not there either... ~ugh, but that's not why I'm making this post. This isn't specific to 1 specific tea stand (because let's be honest, that'd just be stupid), but rather the creativity that's found in bubble tea in Taiwan vs. in the United States. First off, the tea that I photographed was 30 NT (read, less than $1). The only reason I ordered it was because of the name... 三國戀 (San Guo Lian) or... Romance of the Three Kingdoms. That seems stupid until you realize how appropriate the name actually is. It's a plain rose tea mixed with cream (because that's what they mean by milk unless you request otherwise) with... tapioca pearls of varying size, 仙草 (Xian Cao), and 愛玉 (Ai Yu). I realize that might have you scratching your head, but it's hard to explain. Xian Cao is actually a medicinal herb that Chinese people, especially native Hakkanese people of Taiwan, make into a jellylike dessert. Similarly, Ai Yu is basically lemon flavored jelly. When you mix the 3 things into bubble tea, it makes for a deliciously flavored drink that has hints of lemon, while simultaneously offering 3 different textures. Again, this is nothing overly special in Taiwan, but for some reason, the concept of innovating milk tea hasn't hopped the pond yet.

I should note that there's actually another variant called 三兄妹 (San Xiong Mei) or 3 sisters, that offers rice noodles instead of the lemon jelly. I know it sounds gross, but trust me it works.


joanh said...

rice noodles? ewww. i've had the milk tea with pudding which is weird but awesome

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