>> Wednesday, June 30, 2010
My friends and I were arguing the other day over what "Taiwanese" food really was. One person tried to suggest typical Taiwanese breakfast items such as sweet soybean milk with deep fried crullers, but then another person (who's from China) said that these types of dishes were all over China. Another tried suggesting shaved ice, but the Chinese friend again pointed out that you could find shaved ice all over China as well. Finally, there was only on thing that everyone unanimously agreed was totally Taiwanese.
Boba Tea. (also called bubble tea, tapioca milk tea, pearl milk tea)
Boba tea was invented in Taiwan in the 1980's and has since gained in popularity, first throughout Asia and now throughout the world. Boba tea is a tea drink that typically consists of sweetened tea, milk, and chewy tapioca balls. The balls come in different sizes, but the classic Pearl Milk Tea usually has the bigger balls (about the size of a large blueberry). The drink comes with its own special over-sized straw, through which you simultaneously slurp tea and tapioca balls.
Boba tea connoisseurs typically consider two things when judging tea: excellent tea flavor (brewed tea is typically better than reconstituted powdered tea); and good boba consistency (soft and chewy with a bit of resistance, otherwise known as "Q" in Taiwanese). The boba chewiness factor can make or break a tea drink.
Two months ago, Leisure Station, a franchise of Easy Way in Taiwan, opened its first tea shop on the East Coast. Lucky for me, it opened right in Kendall Square, a mere T-stop away from my workplace!
I had a chance to visit this place last Wednesday.