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12/19/2014 More on bubble tea

As usual, you can use the TWC button to vote and see the new Blooper Reel comic.

Well, Connie got here and I'm more or less on vacation mode for the next few weeks. As an update to Monday's bubble tea post, she told me that it originated in Taiwan (in the 1980's) before making its way over to mainland China. So there you have it.

Now, to finish up the topic, here's a little bit about my favorite bubble team places in the area.

First up, we have Coffee or Tea in McCully Plaza, which I did a full review for a while back. It's not the cheapest place around, and they don't let you choose how much ice or sweetener you want. But they do have a pretty large menu, including some things that I haven't seen anywhere else, such as the ginger milk tea (a personal favorite). Plus it's right near my parents' place, so there's the convenience factor.
Next is Taste Tea, which is on Kapiolani Blvd just past Ala Moana mall. It's my favorite bubble tea place overall. They've got a huge menu, good prices, and,most importantly, great tea. You can also choose you sweetener and ice levels, and even sample your chosen tea before committing.
Finally, there's China Mix, which is beneath the Safeway on Beretania. Their menu isn't that big, and you can't customize anything, but they have the best straight up milk bubble tea that I've had so far.
There are a number of other bubble tea places I've tried here on Oahu, but those three are the ones that stick out the most so far.


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12/17/2014 It's always something

I started yesterday with a long, though still reasonable, list of things I needed to get done. And I finished them all. Only problem is that I ran into some computer issues which slowed me down a lot so I had to stay up late to finish things. Honestly, I'm still not sure if I got the problem fixed. It's working right now, but the question is whether it'll stay that way or not. Anyway, as a result, I didn't have enough time to finish writing about my favorite bubble tea places, so that'll have to wait.

So why did I have so much to do now that I'm on break? Well, being on break means I don't have any classes to teach, but I still have assorted projects (like Aurora's Nightmare) and side jobs to do. Not to mention errands and chores (a house requires a bit more work than an apartment). Also, Connie liked it here so much that she's returning today for a combination vacation and job hunt and I wanted to get a lot of assorted things finished before her arrival. Though this time around we'll both be doing a bit more work than her last visit (her with her job search and me with Aurora's Nightmare and some other stuff). It'll still be a lot of fun though.

Happy Chanukah and I'll see you Friday!


12/15/2014 Tea time

Well, the semester is over! Though I've still got a few busy days ahead for other reasons. Anyway, it's travelogue time.

Random Hawaii Comment: Bubble Tea
If you're looking for a non-alcoholic drink in Hawaii (or at least on Oahu), you've got a few options. Naturally, there's plenty of Starbucks around (along with a couple of similar chains), as well as Jamba Juice and a few local smoothie places. But there's another type of drink that's just as popular, bubble tea.
If you're not familiar with bubble tea, it's tea (usually black, but there are plenty of other kinds as well) with boba (chewy little tapioca balls or bubbles) inside. The most common kind is milk tea (think an ice tea latte), often with some kind of add-in such as coconut or strawberry flavor. But, if you don't want milk, fruit teas are pretty common as well. And, just to mix things up a bit more, some bubble tea shops also offer smoothies (though I'd recommend getting them without the boba) and/or frappuccino style teas.
Outside of a few staples, menus vary wildly from place to place. Also, some tea shops let you customize your drink, offering different kinds of bubbles (small boba, large boba, flavored jelly, no bubbles, etc.), letting you choose how much ice and sugar you want, and the like.
So, why is bubble tea so popular here? While I've seen the odd shop here and there around the mainland US, it certainly hasn't caught on there in any big way. In fact, I bet this is the first a lot of you are hearing about it. But there's one thing Oahu has that most of the US doesn't, an extremely strong Asian influence. Now, I've never seen bubble tea in Japan, but there were a lot of bubble tea places in China. At least around the Shanghai and Nanjing areas, they were rather uncommon in Beijing. So, for the time being, I'm assuming bubble tea was brought over here from China. To further support that theory, quite a lot of the tea places around here are run by Chinese people (or maybe Taiwanese). Though I suppose it could have come to China from another area (Thailand maybe?)...

Anyway, next time I'll talk a bit about my favorite bubble tea places here on the island.


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