“Do you want to come out for a soft drink with us?”
This is a question I get asked quite a bit by people I know who are planning on heading down to the bar or pub to knock back a few beers. They know I don’t drink anything alcoholic, and it’s very nice to be invited along.
Let’s have a drink. How about some iced chocolate, chocolate powder and vanilla ice cream mixed in one cup? Photo: Mabel Kwong
A couple of years ago, I was having dinner with relatives in Malaysia and red wine was passed around. As a non-drinker, I declined. One of my uncles frowned and said to my parents in Cantonese, “That’s so strange. Your kids are Australian. But they don’t drink.”
Really? I’m Australian, so I must be a drinker? Does my no-drinking attitude have something to do with my Asian background? Because I’m Asian Australian?
Bubble tea stores have mushroomed all around Australia over the last few years. Melbourne’s Swanston Street in the CBD is peppered with bubble tea franchises such as ChaTime, EasyWay and Gong Cha. Whenever I pass by these stores, I often see hordes of people, mostly Asians, queuing up here and waiting for their drinks.
Tons of my Australia-based and international student friends from Malaysia and Singapore are absolutely ga-ga over bubble tea and consume it at least once a week.
Coconut milk tea with pearls. Photo: Mabel Kwong
So just what is the fuss about bubble tea? Why is it so popular, especially among the Asian crowd not just in Australia, but in Western countries in general?