Popping boba is becoming immensely popular in Korea.
Popping boba might look similar to tapioca, but the taste is completely different!
When you bite into a mouthful of boba, the little balls pop open in your mouth, unleashing the sweet juice inside.
Thanks to Youtube, popping boba has become a sensation in Korea!
Young people especially are crazy about this new treat, and some of the most popular boba videos have gotten over 18 million views.
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But what is it made of? And is it safe to eat?
The main 3 ingredients of the mysterious popping boba are these;
1) Sodium alginate
Made by neutralizing one of the dietary fibers found in seaweed with sodium.
2) Calcium lactate
A type of calcium also found in xylitol gum and baking powder.
When the above two are combined, the magic of chemistry transforms them into a soft membrane. This is what pops when you bite into some boba.
Actually, any flavor of juice can be used but fruity flavors such as strawberry, mango, kiwi etc... work the best.
The ingredients used in making popping boba are the same as those used in the DIY candy making kits that can be found in Japanese super markets.
*More on these ""Popin' cooking'"" DIY candy sets found in Japan here.
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All of these are normal food ingredients and are perfectly safe to eat!
Let's go have some popping boba!
More and more, popping boba stores are appearing all over Japan.
We tried popping boba at the Fuwaps Harajuku store located in the famously trendy Harajuku area!
This is what the menu is like;
First you choose your drink base, either soda or late.
Then you pick;
-Your drink flavor (choose between 7 flavors)
-Your boba flavor (Either a single one of the 4 flavors or the ""mix"" option)
This is what we ordered;
- Emerald pine late + special mix popping boba
- Lemon soda + kiwi flavor popping boba
- Strawberry soda + Strawberry flavor popping boba
The boba looks like sparkly beads.
A little cry escaped me after I took my first sip.
""This sure is something else!""
With a crunchy pop, the boba's juicy center is released, which tastes even stronger and sweeter than the drink itself. The popping boba flavor stands well on its own and is not at all overshadowed by the drink. The boba balls are slightly harder than the ikura (salmon roe) you find at a sushi restaurant.
I'm getting hooked!
Buy them at the store and enjoy them at home!
The big difference between popping boba and tapioca is that you can buy ready made popping boba by itself.
If you want to have some tapioca at home, first you have to measure the amount of water to add, boil them etc... It takes a lot of work and time.
Where to buy popping boba.
- Internet shops (reliability: ★★★★★)
- Village Vanguard general store (reliability: ★★★★☆)
*Sometimes the stores may run our of stock.
-Specialised popping boba drink stores (reliability: ★★☆☆☆)
*depends on the store.
Please keep in mind that popping boba are really popular right now so stores tend to run out of stock.
At home you can enjoy popping boba in a variety of ways; straight out of the cup, frozen, with yogurt or ice cream or in your drink of course!
By the way, popping boba became available for purchase in the Korean supermarket ""Korea Hiroba"" in Shin-Okubo. (According to the author. -August 2019)
For this article I examined popping boba, the next big thing in Japan after tapioca.
To summarize, popping boba;
-Is a kind of sweet that is very popular in Korea
-Is made from ingredients found in everyday food, and so safe to eat.
-Tastes better and sweeter than I expected it too.
-Can be bought seperately in stores.
Fuwaps Harajuku Store
Location; 1-8-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku Solado Takeshita Street 2F
Business hours: Weekdays, 10: 30-20: 30 / Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, 10: 30-21: 00
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