Ever heard of bubble tea? What about boba? If you haven’t, that doesn’t surprise me. It’s not the easiest stuff to find in DFW.
Bubble tea typically refers to flavored teas that originated in Taiwan.
Boba are soft, chewy tapioca balls or “pearls” added to the teas, which drinkers suck up through fat straws that have become synonymous with bubble tea.
It’s a relatively new beverage concept in the Western world, but the idea has quickly been adopted in other cities, especially those with large Asian populations.
If you’re familiar with bubbles and boba and need a fix (or are curious to try it out), head over to Bethany Cafe in Arlington. It has a large selection as well as a complementary menu of Asian entrees.
Fusion teas ($2-$3) are a specialty. The green and black teas are infused with a variety of flavors, and can be ordered hot or over ice (traditionally, bubble tea is served cold). Infusions include honey, green apple, lemon, mint, passion fruit, sour plum and strawberry. For summer, my favorite is the refreshing mint.
Any drink can have boba dropped in, for a chewy addition (like gummy candy).
Tea lattes (cold or hot, $2.25-$2.75), milk-based teas, are also available, and can be infused with chocolate, peanut or something like almond honey, among other flavors.
And for the tea haters, ice-blended coolers ($2.75) are similar to slushies. Like the fusion teas, they’re refreshing (and sweet) and come in a variety of flavors, including orange-passion fruit, tropical-kiwi and, my recommendation, strawberry-lemon.
With temperatures approaching combustive levels in Texas, every drink at Bethany sounds like a potential cooler.
If you’re hungry, the menu features entrees like honey basil chicken lo mein ($6.25), noodles with a sweet and spicy slap, and Singapore beef fried rice noodle ($6.50), a curry-based dish with carrots, peppers and thick onion slices.
The sizzling pork chop ($7.25) and sizzling popcorn chicken rice ($7.25) feature a crunchy, lightly breaded pork cutlet and peppery popcorn chicken, respectively.
For something out of the ordinary, try the Japanese katsu ($5.99), a breaded pork cutlet atop rice, covered with egg.
Worth noting are the hefty portions — most entrees can easily be split.
On my visit, Bethany had continuous traffic, which is common for places that offer bubble tea. Boba shops often have their own little ecosystems of ardent fans, usually made up of local students, such as those up Cooper Street at UT Arlington.
But don’t worry. Those fans are very friendly, especially if you’re curious to try it out.