At first sight, it may look like an unassuming glass of flavoured milk. But then, its spherical fillings will pique your interest. It is only when you slurp it up that you realise that this drink’s appearance definitely had you deceived. Increasing in popularity this summer, bubble tea has made its way into the hearts – and bellies – of many Bengalureans.
“They are a lot of fun to drink,” says Tanisha Ballal, a regular at Big Straw, one of the joints serving the drink. “The chewables certainly amplify the drinking experience and are like tiny surprises in the mouth.” Sreelekshmi Prithviraj, another patron adds: “They’re also a great pick-me-up. Who can say no to a cold drink in this heat?”
Vidya Pai, co-owner of Big Straw, says that while the traditional bubble tea may not be as popular with Indians as they are with Southeast Asians, the variants of these beverages are.
“We’ve brought out an assortment of bases that replace the tea such as ice cream floats, smoothies and slushies to name a few,” she says. The range of chewy titbits has also expanded. There are nata de coco (fermented coconut water), jellies, basil seeds and fruity ‘bombs’ that explode with flavour in the mouth.
When Suresh Rao, a devout chai drinker, decided to give the bubble tea a try, he had mixed reactions to the drink. “It’s an interesting concept. Although chewing the tapioca balls does help me savour the tea, I would prefer the drink without them.” However, he was quick to add that he liked the many variations of the traditional drink better.
Starting at Rs.70 for 250 ml, these drinks may not be easy on the wallet but are a definite must-have for their unique taste. So go ahead and make bubble tea your latest addiction this summer!
Pate-Paton kiosks in Garuda, Mantri and Gopalan Malls, Big Straw branches in Malleshwaram, St. Marks Road, Indiranagar and Sahakar Nagar
What is bubble tea?
Originally from Taiwan, the traditional bubble tea or Boba is a sweetened tea-based drink made using natural flavours, syrups that are water or cream based, black tea and tapioca pearls. The large-sized dark brown tapioca pearls are boiled, drained and sweetened, and later added to the tea. As you sip the drink through a wide straw, the tapioca pearls come up too, giving you the opportunity to ‘eat your drink’.