Asian sweet treats like mochi ice and boba are starting to gain popularity, even here in Ogden.
The popular milk tea began in Taiwan by a man named Liu Han-Chieh. According to one CNN article, Han-Chieh was the first to introduce the idea of serving tea cold after visiting Japan, where he saw people serving cold coffee.
From here, his project manager, Lin Hsiu Hui, decided to pour the tapioca balls from a Taiwanese dessert called fen yuan into her iced tea. And, thus, boba tea was created.
Boba tea, also called milk tea, is a tea-based drink often mixed with milk or fruit. Tapioca balls, or boba, are typically added to the bottom of the drink, giving the concoction its unique look and texture. Milk tea comes in many flavors beyond the original green tea: mango, cantaloupe, kiwi, melon, strawberry — you get the drift. The flavoring can consist of either syrups or fresh fruits blended with the tea.
Although boba shops are typically more abundant in bigger cities, Ogden has its very own shop, Pearl Milk Tea Club. The company currently has three locations in Ogden: one on Historic 25th Street, one inside the Newgate Mall and one on Toads-Mulligans Golf Course.
Pearl Milk Tea Club currently offers milk tea in its original style or as a blended drink with the tapioca balls at the bottom. The store even sells Vietnamese coffee, typically a dark roast coffee made with sweetened condensed milk.
Pearl Milk Tea Club’s owner, Henry Liu, spoke about his store and how the boba trend grew in Ogden. He stated, “I believe that we set the trend. We are the only ones in Ogden that do this.”
Having been born and raised in Ogden, Liu had not been exposed to much Asian culture. He opened his first store in 2012 after becoming inspired and educated on Asian goods from his travels to California for college.
Since milk tea is still making its way across the U.S., many are unfamiliar with the drink. If someone has never had the drink, Liu said, “It’s like gummy bears at the bottom of the drink. You are eating and drinking something at the same time. It’s more of a dessert.”
If you ever want to try something new, stop by a boba shop and enjoy a drink and a snack in one.