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Pearl milk tea cocktails making a mark in L.A.

Pearl milk tea cocktails making a mark in L.A.

Los Angeles, Dec. 28 (CNA) It is a love of both alcoholic drinks and pearl milk tea -- the iconic Taiwanese drink featuring chewey tapioca balls -- that has led a young American entrepreneur to open a bar specializing in one-of-a-kind "boba" cocktails. Boba 7, located on 7th Street in downtown Los Angeles, was opened in 2012 by Elton Keung, a 25-year-old graduate of the nearby University of Southern California. Business is brisk at the bar tucked away in the back of a Thai restaurant. Despite its low visibility, it earned a place on the 50 hottest small U.S. businesses list by Business Insider in December 2013. Keung, a San Gabriel Valley native, told CNA that he has loved pearl tea since he was child, a culinary romance that inspired him to open the bar that fuses liquor like Kahlua with Taiwan's national drink. Some eye-catching items on the menu are Bobagasm -- bubble milk tea flavored with Bailey's and Kahlua -- as well as the BarackBobama (for people "who love America and blueberries," according to the drink menu) and the Linsanitea ("named after the moment Asians liked basketball"), an homage to Taiwanese American basketball sensation Jeremy Lin, who incidentally now plays for the Lakers. Another menu item is Green Tea Heineken, inspired by the mix available across Taiwan, but with more of a kick. "In America, we use the whole bottle" of beer, the menu says. Sales at Boba 7 have increased tenfold since US$70 a day when it opened, according to Keung. The popularity has pushed him to expand, opening another bar, Boba 8, in San Gabriel in February this year. Like its predecessor, Boba 8 is also hidden in the back of an Asian restaurant. But Keung said customers still line up outside the Japanese restaurant that houses his newest bar, open only Thursday through Sunday, which sometimes sells up to 100 drinks a night. (By Oscar Wu and Scully Hsiao)


Updated : 2021-04-12 08:10 GMT+08:00