Cristina crafts pieces on travel, parenting and lifestyle. Connect with her at www.editorialcreatives.com or www.facebook.com/pages/Editorial-Creatives/147954298617175 and @CristinaDimen on Twitter. WN mentor link: www.weekendnotes.com/profile/37614/
Published May 27th 2012
As you explore the neighborhoods in Manhattan and the other boroughs, especially those in predominantly Asian communities, you'll come across signs for drinks known as "bubble tea". Numerous places offer this refreshing beverage throughout New York City. Wander around Chinatown in the Big Apple, for instance, and you'll eventually wind up in one of the shops or cafes that offer bubble tea.
A few bubble tea flavors from Oh Two Five (OH25) Inc., located at 43 Bayard Street.
Originally concocted in Taichung, Taiwan in the 1980s, bubble tea drinks can be milk teas made with varieties of black tea, green tea and sometimes, even coffee, and of course, milk.
Another variation is made with fruit flavoring—often with fruit pieces in them. And, there are bubble teas that are milk teas with fruit. Cooked tapioca pearls are the main ingredient which give the drinks a chewy component. Sometimes, jelly cubes complement the drinks.
Chrysanthemum honey green tea with basil seed and aloe.
One of the popular places to stop by for bubble tea is bubbly Tea, where you may find lines during lunch hour or on the weekends. Check their signage or ask the staffers for specials offered on particular days.
bubbly Tea 55B Bayard Street (between Bowery & Elizabeth streets) 212-608-3688
Vivi Bubble Tea
Head over to Vivi Bubble Tea for its chocolate, strawberry, coffee and taro milk teas, plus an array of flavored teas including honeydew and mango. You can also pick from their yogurt drinks and special items, such as fruit tea aloe and Tiramisu milk teas. Popcorn chicken with pepper salt, spicy, garlic, curry and basil seasonings are among snacks you can enjoy at the venue.
Regardless of where you make your purchases, you'll notice that your bubble tea drink will come in plastic containers with a dome top with a hole in the center for your straw. Or containers with a specially sealed top, which enables you to shake your beverage to mix the ingredients, before you pop the oversized straw through it to taste the infused flavors.
And since there are so many interesting combinations, you'll just have to buy a few flavors and determine which type is your favorite. Thankfully many venues provide cards, which you can use to get a free drink after a specific number of purchases. Just present it to the cashier whenever you buy your bubble tea and they'll initial, stamp or punch a hole for each drink you buy per visit.
Use cards like these to eventually get one bubble tea drink free.
While the examples detailed above are all on Bayard Street in Manhattan's Chinatown area—tea or coffee shops offering bubble tea aren't restricted to just this neighborhood. Where do you go for yours? From your experience, where's the best bubble tea in New York City?