Boba-boba, fa-boba, Boba! In Chinatown the other day (for the Jackie Chan film festival) I ordered a smoothie. "Would you like Boba with that?" the proprietor asked. What the heck?
Boba, I now know, is an interesting thing, part food group, part desert. I would describe Boba as a small gelatinous ball made of tapioca. These little balls rest at the bottom of your drink (iced coffee, fruity drinks, etc.) and are chewed slowly after slurping your drink. Unfortunately the straws are so wide that one can (as I did on my first try) suck one straight through the straw into ones windpipe!In large parts of LA, the Boba place has supplanted the coffee shop. Even places that still call themselves coffee shops offer Boba.
The Boba stores have names like: Bobalicious, Boba World, Bobapioca and the perfectly cross-cultural (and my personal favorite) Boba-loca.
Perhaps this delight might sound more appealing if one thinks of them as gummy-bears (but not as good). Boba is sometimes known as “bubble tea” or “pearl tea” and is typically served in iced tea, now can be found resting at the bottom of anything from a strawberry smoothie to a cafe latte.
There is even a web site called boba-fate which offers (if you can deign to email them a photo of your Boba, (and by-the-way they suggest you use your camera phone for this)) a fortune-teller to study and interpret your Boba image. You will receive a return email with your fortune (in less than a day)! How about that? I can’t say I ever considered my future might lie in a Boba (except that one that landed in my windpipe)!