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Bubble Tea

"What Is That?"

David EngIf you've walked the streets of New York's Chinatown, and you're like us, you've found yourself standing and staring at something and wondering, "What is that?" Hey, Chinese tourists must wonder the same when confronted with apple-bobbing, luxury pet hotels and Hot Pockets®.

Fortunately, Explore Chinatown can lead us off the beaten path.  After you...

"What is that?"

"That's Bubble Tea."

"Bubble Tea is said to have originated in Taiwan in the early 80’s at a tea stand popular with kids getting off school. The proprietor experimented with adding fruit flavors to a standard tea-and-milk mix, and later came up with the idea of adding marble-sized balls of tapioca.  As the tapioca pearls sat at the bottom of the glass, a wide straw was introduced to draw them up through the tea.  Japanese media coverage led to a pan-Asian youth fad in the 1990s that is spreading to North America in communities like Chinatown New York City.

"Let's make one...." 

"Start with non-dairy creamer"

"Add hot water"


"Add sugar"

"Add ice"

"Oh yeah, don't forget the tea"

"Shake it up"

"Add the tapioca pearls"


Where to get Bubble Tea

Many teahouses in Chinatown sell Bubble Tea. 


Have you ever wondered "What Is That?" 
Send your questions and we'll find out, if possible