Seeing as how I skipped lunch, industriously working at my desk, I was looking for a snack while out running errands on my way home. I passed this place in a strip shopping center intriguingly named “Bubble Island.” It appeared to be a food establishment, but what kind?
Apparently they serve Vietnamese (Taiwanese? Chinese?) Tapioca drinks. Their menu has the unfathomable depth that only combinatorics can provide — about forty different drink flavors with many possible add-ins. Apparently the most common add-in is Tapioca — these black chewy pearl-sized balls which taste, I dunno, kind of like walnuts or something, but gummy. To my gringo American palate, it tasted good, but very strange.
I ended up with a coconut milk drink with about two inches of the little black bubbles in the bottom. The cup itself was interesting. The lid was a thick cellophane that was heat-sealed onto the cup and then the straws — big enough in circumference to accommodate the tapioca — are pointed and you just pierce the cellophane with the straw and suck away.
The sensation of getting three or four little chewy balls with every sip of your drink takes some getting used to. But I could get used to it. I’ll definitely go back.
While I was sitting there sipping gummy bubbles and coconut milk, eating my peanut toast (the only food item they serve is toast. Yes, toast. Seven different flavors of toast.) I became worried that this place was too exotic to survive in the land of Taco Bell and the Olive Garden. I asked the guy behind the counter how business was and he said it was pretty good. It is steady during lunch and after work on weekdays, but on weekend nights the place is packed, the line stretching out the door.
Cool. Good for them. I’ve got to take Heidi and see what she thinks. A little local color is a good thing.