Friday, September 25, 2009

The More Boba the Better!

Word on the street (well, actually word in the Southwest Journal) is that Uptown will soon be home to another bubble tea place. Bubble Me will be opening at 1404 W. Lake St., next to Stella’s. The Southwest Journal is describing it as a “bubble tea, snack bar, and coffee shop.” Given the name, though, I’m assuming the focus is on the bubble tea (boba) part of the equation.

I love boba. I’d take it over coffee any day, and appreciate the fact that most (all?) of the boba places in the Twin Cities are independent places. It’s kind of a strange love, admittedly, as I don’t have particularly like the taste of the tapioca balls, although I don’t dislike them, either. I like the big straws, the bright colors, the very non-Minnesotan tropical flavors, and the weird sense of accomplishment that comes from sucking one of the balls up through the straw. Boba can be refreshing on a hot summer day yet warming (in the purely imaginative sense) on a cold day in January.

I admit that when boba first showed up in Uptown I didn’t think it would stick around. Is there really enough of a true boba following in Minneapolis (and in Uptown in particular) to keep boba around in the long-term? Now I know it’s been trendy for a long time now; it started in Taiwan in the ‘80s, became very popular in parts of Asia in the ‘90s, then made its way to New York, Los Angeles, and other strongholds of Asian immigrants who knew and loved the stuff. It’s since hit the rest of the US, including, of course, Uptown. Tea Garden opened its first location, at 26th and Hennepin, in spring 2002. It’s still going strong, and has over the years opened multiple locations around the metro area. I welcome more Uptown boba options, and concede that although I thought it was just a trend that wouldn’t last, maybe the boba bubble hasn’t yet burst.

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