The Bubble Tea Mystery April 23, 2012Posted by Jodi in Lightheartedness.
I have this one Friend. I hope everyone has at least one friend like this. We were roommates in college and stand-ups in each others’ weddings and have managed to keep a friendship growing through a combined eight children and a thousand miles of distance. She’s undoubtedly one of the reasons I manage to keep a toehold on sanity.
Every year my Friend and I try to get together for a long weekend. Sometimes she flies to see me, sometimes vice versa. This year we’d like to meet somewhere interesting—like Georgia O’Keeffe’s New Mexico—but we’ll see. Planning and anticipating this trip is a large fraction of the fun and has had me thinking through some of the great memories we’ve made in our nearly 20 years of friendship. Lately I haven’t been able to stop thinking of the night we tried bubble tea, so this morning I pulled down my journal from a couple years to refresh my memory.
We were looking for something to do in Philadelphia, where we were staying in a hotel downtown for the weekend, and I called another friend who lives in the city asking for suggestions. His advice resulted in some great entertainment, as I noted in my journal:
[He] suggested that…we take the subway west to the UPenn campus and have a “bubble tea,” which might make the short list of World’s Strangest Drinks. Mine was a fruity tea with gelatin balls, about the size and appearance of blueberries, at the bottom of the glass. These teas are served with an extra-wide straw so that the balls are inevitably sucked up through the straw and into your mouth…and then you must decide what to do with them. At first I tried chewing them, this seemed like the natural thing to do, but they gave off no flavor and the texture was borderline unpleasant. So I tried holding the little blob of goo in the straw with my tongue while attempting to suck the delicious blueberry drink on its own. No such luck, the straw was designed so that each little globule perfectly blocked the opening with no room for even liquid to squeeze through. Finally, I tried swallowing each ball as it came into my mouth, trusting gravity and the momentum of the tea to push the little gag-inducing sphere through my esophagus, which really wasn’t designed to allow for the passage of an object of that size and firmness (question: how often do those little glue balls enter a poor drinker’s trachea?). I concluded this last method seems to be the most likely intended means of ingesting bubble tea, but it left me with a bloated and rocky stomach. Bubble tea is a curiosity I don’t yet understand.
I wrote that in a Barnes & Noble on the UPenn campus. After I’d finished, my Friend and I earned dirty glances from the industrious readers around us by sharing it between ourselves and giggling till our little round bellies shook like bowls full of jelly balls.
Someone help me out, though. What are you supposed to do with the bubbles in bubble tea?