Food trends come and go, but it seems that the bubble tea ‘bubble’ has not popped. Henry’s Bubble Tea and Vietnamese Sandwich shop (433 7th Ave) is going strong with a loyal following of non-coffee drinking clientele.
The “original’ bubble tea ($3.75) offered by Henry’s is a mixture of black tea and sweetened milk, served cold with little pearls of tapioca that sink to the bottom (you get to suck them up as you drink the tea through an abnormally large straw). The ‘bubble’ in the name refers to the frothy bubbles that form on top when the tea is shaken with ice.
The key ingredient in bubble tea is the tapioca,which to those who don’t know, is the processed starch from the cassava plant. Tapioca has little taste of it’s own, yet it adds a unique dimension to the drink.
These gelatinous tapioca pearls and the rich milky sweetness of the tea mixture make for an unexpected treat, but the real surprise might be the popularity of the drink in the U.S. These combinations of textures and tastes are common in Asian cuisine, but not usually so well received in western culture.
It can be made with black, green or white tea and there are some versions that are fruit based with no tea at all. Henry’s Bubble tea offers about twenty different versions of the drink including jasmine, honey and mango. If you really want to extend your snacking horizons, you can add lychee or grass jelly cubes for an extra $0.50.
Henry’s also offers well-constructed Vietnamese sandwiches, salads and a small assortment of rice dishes. While you can eat there in the restaurant, there’s not a lot of atmosphere, so takeout is probably your best bet. Feeling antisocial? You can order up some bubble tea online via GrubHub.
Henry’s Bubble Tea and Vietnamese Sandwiches (718-788-8882) is located at 433 7th Ave. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 11:00am to 9:30pm, and Sundays 11:00am to 8:30pm.