There is this food blog that I’ve recently started reading and this food blog recently had a post about Bubble Tea and a new place that does Bubble Tea in Soho. I was intrigued – I had no idea what bubble tea was and had obviously never tried it either.
I then educated myself about it (thank god to Wikipedia!) – Bubble Tea is a sweetly flavoured, non-carbonated drink that was invented in Taiwan. You can drink it hot or cold and it comes in zillions of different flavours. This is all not that special yet, but the really fun thing is the ‘boba’ – tapoica perls that are in the tea and you suck up through a gigantic straw. I am not sure I have explained this very well, I rather show you a picture that I found on the web:
So this looks interesting, doesn’t it? I immediately wanted to try it and fortunately a meeting brought me to Soho not much later. I was, as always, 10 minutes early and what would be better to kill time than trying something new?
I quickly found the Bubble Tea place recommended by Kay of From Chopsticks to Steaknives called Boba Jam. It is new, roughly a month old, and looks all new and shiny and very East-Asian. I was stunned by the choice: milk based tea, fruit juice based tea, mint tea based tea or black/green tea based tea? each of which comes in 20 odd flavours, which one to choose? and then, hot or cold?
The nice lady behind the counter saw my desperation and told me that the milk teas were the most popular and tastewise she recommended me to go for taro. Haha! Do you know what taro is? I certainly didn’t, but you know, I am so experimental. Even after having read about taro on Wikipedia, I still don’t know what it is : ‘edible starchy tuberous root of taro plants’.
Anyway the lady mixed a couple of syrups and some powders together, shook it and put it into a plastic glass containing some dark brown pearls. These pearls are made of tapioca and have the same consistency as jelly, only a little bit harder.My first bubble tea turned out purple and was very reminiscent of a blueberry milkshake, at least by the way it looked.
The drink is then sealed with a very sophisticated drink sealing machine and you have to pierce the film with one of the gargantuan straws.
The first sip and I giggled. It’s really fun and unexpected when the pearls glide into your mouth. And it tastes good! I am not sure I would want to drink it every day and I have the feeling all the ingredients are rather artificial but this is something everyone should at least try once. I think it’s the funniest drink in the world and I am looking forward to trying the other variants!
Boba Jam, 102 Shaftesbury Avenue Chinatown W1D5EJ