Denise Sawicki | April 30, 2005
Bubble tea is weird. (link) Is anyone here a fan of this stuff? We went to a Vietnamese restuarant (yes, in Fargo!) today and shared a mango bubble tea. The drink itself surprised us with how tasty it was, like a smoothy, but soon enough the first little black ball floated up the straw... weird stuff, a little black ball with no flavor and the consistency of phlegm or something... I thought before I bit into it that it was a blueberry or something, but no such luck :). It was, of course, a tapioca pearl. We ate quite a few of them due to our waste phobias but once we got to the bottom of the drink it was pretty much solid tapicoa pearls, so we tried it with a smaller straw so as to avoid eating them! I keep giggling to myself remembering the feeling of apprehension when I saw a line of five black balls floating up my straw...

We paid 50 cents extra to have the pearls in the tea, feeling it might be more authentic that way, but as we told each other afterwards, we would easily have paid 50 cents not to have them. :)

The lunch itself was quite ordinary, just chicken and noodles and vegetables. We hadn't intended to share an order but the waitress got confused and thought we wanted to when Darrell asked me my opinion on what he was ordering. So at least we didn't get overfull as is usually the case when we eat out. Then we browsed the nearby Asian food market. Neither of us have ventured into such a store before so it was quite interesting. We even bought some canned vegetables there, and incense. All in all an entertaining afternoon!

Amy Austin | May 1, 2005
HAHAHAHAHA... yes, I am familiar with this, but not by the name "bubble tea" -- that's a first for me. There was a Vietnamese restaurant (chain, I think?) in Bremerton called Pho'Hoi (pronounced "fuh-wah" -- but we just called it "fuh" for short), and they offered the tea smoothies with or without "pearls"... but not being a big fan of tapioca myself, I thought it looked disgusting... glad to hear that I'm right! :-P ;-D I *love* mango, however.

The only way to make this "bubble tea" combo any more disgusting is to get durian, if they offer it (although I strongly advise against it!)... it is simply THE most disgusting, malodorous fruit on the planet!!! Everywhere you go in Thailand -- and especially Singapore -- you can smell this hideous spiky fruit... it's like a cross between rotting garbage and gym socks. It's just one of those things that I can't believe anyone ever thought to check for edibility at some point -- YUCK!

Oddly enough, however (or not so oddly -- being that I am a curious and adventuresome sort and not opposed to a little exploration in diversity!), I did accept the first opportunity to taste the stuff that came my way. Some tourists from another country (England, maybe?) were buying some little bite-sized turnovers with filling made from the stuff. Knowing what it smelled like, I couldn't help but remark on their bravery. The reply was that it was surprisingly good -- not as bad as it smelled, and that I ought to try one... at which point I was given one of the three that she had purchased (not cheaply, I might add!). Well, she was right -- it *was* surprisingly good!... the hint of durian added just the right amount of "something" to the tasty little pastry. (The cream filling was quite similar in color and texture to Boston creme to give you an idea... yes, Aaron would probably hate it!) If they hadn't been so pricey, I would have bought three more for myself!!!

Cut to Pho', about 2-3 years later. Having delightfully ordered mango here before, among many other quite acceptable and not so unusual smoothie flavors, I decided to try "something a little different"! I had seen durian on the list of flavors, but was naturally a bit leery of it in a rawer form than pastry filling. Quite rightly so, as it turned out -- I decided just to "go for it" and got the reputably stinky fruit in my smoothie... just for kicks. Knowing the propensity for Westerner aversion to the stuff (it's a "peculiar" flavor... an "acquired taste"!), the nice little Vietnamese lady had told me that I could add something else to it if I hated it. After just one nasty sip of liquid jock strap, I decided that it was a must, if I wanted to finish my drink. I think I started with strawberry. Then pineapple. Then orange. If I hadn't deemed it both an imposition and purely futile to keep asking for more fruit flavors to cover up the reeking flavor of this "exotic" Asian fruit "delicacy", I would have kept on until they were all in the mix!!! However... like you and Darrell, Denise, I have extreme "waste phobias" and so drank it down painfully... albeit less so than from the first sip. The stuff is amazingly potent and tasted EXACTLY as it smelled. I will never get it in a smoothie again! Consider yourself warned, folks!!!

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