About a year ago, my folks came to Prague. They carried with them a small Ziploc of tapioca pearls – to be used in bubble tea. At the time I had no real idea what bubble tea was except for the fact that whenever it got brought in conversation with my folks, they seemed visibly excited. I mean, really excited.
Fast forward about a year and there I was, boiling the tapioca pearls and then storing them in simple syrup just like the directions I found online said I should. I looked for an online recipe that would include tea and some sort of booze. I figured, if the tapioca and the tea didn’t do it for me and Mrs. NH, a little shot of something would. For the purpose of this maiden batch of bubble tea, our poison of choice was Kahlua. We mixed that up with some tea of some sort from my wife’s “cupboard of too many teabags” and added the pearls and a bit of the simple syrup.
It was interesting. I think that’s what I said, “Hmmm, interesting.” My brow was surely furrowed. Maybe bubble tea is one of those “you had to be there” things.
You know the kinds of things that only a personal experience can elevate to legend? Take for example my obsession with truffles. I’m sure many of my readers roll their eyes when they see me writing another post on this fungus. However, the first time I ever had them was in a hill town in Italy and the mixture of the foreign flavor and beautiful surroundings is something that I’m transported to every time I take a bite of anything with truffle. The same may be true with bubble tea as well. If I recall correctly, my folks first tasted it while vacationing in Thailand. I have no doubt it was a part of the experience and something they think back to every time they bite down on one of those pleasantly chewy tapioca nuggets.
Or, maybe I just made it wrong.
Was Kahlua a bad thing to mix with it? Maybe the coffee flavor interfered too much with the tea? Maybe I should have stuck to rum?
Time will tell. I’m definitely going to try it again. Maybe I’ll wait until I’m back home in TX, in the folks’ kitchen. Maybe they’ll show me how to make it the right way.
Or, maybe I’ll just hop a plane to Thailand. If it makes this stuff taste good, I can only imagine the Pad Thai.