The Everything Hapa Asian Food Series is an in-depth dialogue into Fusion Cuisine found within the United States and beyond. As the convergence of Eastern and Western cultures becomes ever more prevalent, incarnations of traditional cuisines will be considered a commonplace.
Bubble Tea – Originating in Taiwan during the 1980s, bubble tea is a sweet flavored tea beverage most commonly available in two variations: milk tea or fruit-flavored teas. Bubble teas often contain small tapioca balls found at the bottom of the beverage. Referred to as either pearls or boba, these tapioca balls are derived from the starch of the cassava root, where once cooked, it becomes a sweet chewy ball with a gummy texture. A common misconception is that the term bubble refers to the tapioca balls, however it really refers to the bubble foam on the top of the tea after shaken vigorously to enhance its flavor.
Bubble tea began as a chanced invention by Liu Han-Chieh of a popular tea shop set up in front of an elementary school. To help attract students, he started adding tapioca balls to shaken iced tea. Because of the sweet, cool and unique taste, the popularity of the tea quickly spread throughout the island and subsequently onto nearby East Asian countries. It traveled to North America via Vancouver and its large Asian community, before spreading to Chinatowns throughout the United States, and then onto various college towns along the West Coast. Link, Link