With the rise of East Asian popular culture in Chennai — aided by the diaspora residing right here and the Hallyu wave – ramen and sushi have crept into into each main menu. Now, locations which might be devoted solely to serving bubble tea are additionally claiming the map.
Tracing its origin to Nineteen Eighties Taiwan, bubble tea, often known as pearl milk tea or just boba, is in its easiest kind the mix of tea, milk and the titular boba, that are chewy tapioca balls, in a drink that’s normally very candy and served chilly.
Menus cowl variants each with and with out milk, and flavours vary from fruity to these crammed with chocolate, caramel and even greens like taro. The tapioca pearls themselves may be changed or paired with fruity jellies or boba which might be both chewy or burst in your mouth, furnishing an addictive texture that feels new each time.
We attempt the taro variant, widespread for its distinctive purple color, and it stands quick towards the take a look at with its delectably candy vanilla-like flavour, hints of nuttiness and creamy texture. It may be discovered on most menus, together with the one at Cha Republic.
A whole decade in the past, Cha Republic was the primary on the bubble tea scene in Chennai, with a single outlet working out of Phoenix Marketcity in Velachery — at this time, they’ve a number of shops all throughout the town . Nonetheless, the franchise is way from being the one possibility today, and entries through the years have been many.
Proprietor of Barrocco, Nungambakkam, Yagnesh Ramakrishnan attributes the rising reputation of bubble tea to the rising eminence of Korean and Japanese media. Clarifying that this isn’t his first time on the boba rodeo, he says, “Barrocco’s bubble tea preparation feels extra genuine. Most different manufacturers serve Indianised variations, however each the ratio and the mix should be proper. Right here, the recipes are from Thailand, and the pearls are genuine.”
Opening first alongside Café de Bangkok in Nandanam, Barrocco now has shops in Nungambakkam and Anna Nagar as effectively, serving sorts of Asian road meals. (Their Nungambakkam outlet can also be the one place yow will discover bingsu, or Korean shaved ice.) All three shops promote a mixed 200 cups a day, with the quantity going as much as 300 over the weekend, with a majority of their gross sales coming in by way of meals supply apps like Swiggy and Zomato. Indulging a hedonistic hankering, we attempt the Lotus Biscoff bubble tea, which tastes like a cheesecake decadently blended into mild bubble tea consistency with precise bits of the biscuit floating round — positively a crowd-pleaser.
Anna Nagar, Nungambakkam and Besant Nagar are essentially the most saturated with bubble tea retailers, although you may as well discover them in most meals courts the place they work wonders as sides to meals.
Exploring Nungambakkam, we discover Dr Bubbles and OBVSLY Gelato X Boba CHA. The previous takes the bubble motif so far as it should go and serves an assortment of waffles and child pancakes, whereas the latter, because the title suggests, can also be a gelato place, which makes for a surprisingly sturdy pairing with boba. Dr Bubbles, which has shops in Anna Nagar and Alwarpet as effectively, additionally presents its drinks in lightbulb promotional packaging, which make for memorable keepsakes.
Most clients are typically loyal followers of the beverage who first tried it overseas, and are thrilled to search out it in Chennai. Newer recruits are most of the time roped in by way of social media, whereas exploring East Asian tradition, or just these experimenting and instantly getting hooked. The drink will not be essentially the most budget-friendly, nonetheless, starting from round ₹250 to ₹350 per cup.
Conventional pearl milk tea, normally labelled the Hong Kong or Taiwan model, stays hottest, seemingly owing to its acquainted style. Thai tea, with added spices, additionally caters to Indian palates and may be discovered in all places. Whereas bubble tea stays a phenomenon that’s comparatively novel, the rising numbers of each shops and clients sign the drink’s right here to remain.