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Galleria shoppers await their tapioca fix at The Teahouse Tapioca & Tea

Image: Alice Levitt

People who know me know I'm a water girl. Why fill up on liquid calories when I already force so many into my body in the form of yummy, fatty food? But I have a soft spot for bubble tea. 

I thought I had seen it all, from every imaginable unnatural color and flavor of jelly to popping boba, so much like edible bath beads. But when I wasn't watching ice skaters fall down on slick patches in front of Rainforest Café at the Galleria yesterday, I learned that there were still new bubble tea frontiers to be conquered.

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A rainbow of red dye #2

Image: Alice Levitt

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Image: Alice Levitt

A sign at the Teahouse Tapioca & Tea caught my eye, advertising three new additions: strawberry heart, passionfruit dolphin and lychee teddy bear jellies.

Unlike many bubble tea spots, the Teahouse franchise trades in more than just sugary powders added to milk. I ordered watermelon juice and saw staffers actually put watermelon in a blender to make it. At $4.25, it was far less expensive than I'd find for the same drink at a typical juice bar. 

But I was really there for the jelly. And it was even weirder than I could have imagined. The dead-white teddy bears were indeed lychee flavored, far more powerfully (and authentically) so than I had expected. They were unexpectedly large, like waterlogged gummy bears that had bloated to three or four times their usual size in the watermelon undertow. Looking at their prone forms, their arms raised in horror or surrender, was a little sad, like the bottom of the ocean after the wreck of the teddy bear Titanic. 

But I didn't spend too long crying for the lost ursine lives. I was too busy chewing their slippery little bodies with each sip.

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