Culinary travel in the West

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Tap into the tapioca craze
Photo by Laure Joliet

Tap into the tapioca craze

Remember the Frappuccino? Yeah, neither do we. Once tapioca drinks exploded onto the scene about a decade ago, the midday sugar-fix-through-a-straw got a lot more interesting. Bubble (or "boba") teas originated in Taiwan before moving east to the Asian communities and micro-communities of the West. Now you can't walk ten city blocks, it seems, without drifting into a Quickly, Tapioca Express, or any of a thousand other pearl shacks where you'll be greeted by a freakishly long list of exotic juices (sour plum, wax gourd), slushes (kumquat-lime, red bean), and milk teas (almond, litchi)—none of which is complete without a handful of gummy tapioca beads dropped in. So pick a flavor, grab a fat straw, and say goodbye to Starbucks.

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