The Zhēnzhū Project

My friends and I eating a box of Bubble Tea Cake!
January, 2020

           Ever had a friend who is into zhēnzhū? What is a zhēnzhū, anyway? Well it’s a Chinese word 珍珠(pinyin:Zhēnzhū)which means pearl or maybe you would know it as bubble or boba.

          I have had a lot of pearl tea in the Philippines from way back when and I must admit, I liked it! But fast forward to me living in Taiwan, you would not believe how every turn I make here there is a shop selling different kinds of drinks- mostly with zhēnzhū! You might have even encountered other food products featuring the said ingredient!

          I don’t know why when there’s too much of something- of anything- I end up not having it anymore! I don’t drink a lot of pearl tea here but I made friends with people who for some reasons became fascinated abut trying different food with zhēnzhū.

Exhibit number 1 Waffles to go! Photo from August. 2017

          Two years ago, I was craving for waffles. At the time I was not learning Chinese yet. I was so excited when I saw the pictures of waffles with blueberries! Until I started eating it and the blueberries turned out to be zhēnzhū. I was mad! I was heartbroken! But who would I blame? I ordered it! I did check what the characters meant! For someone who is normally open to trying any food, I could not believe how something I like to chew can make me feel so angry! Hahaha! I am laughing at how I was affected back then. I think it was a great memory still.

Exhibit number 2 Zhēnzhū Ice cream, January, 2020

          On the eve of New Year’s day, the year is 2020! Oh, that was just this year? Well, I spent my New Year’s eve with mi amiga, Larissa and as we were walking around Taipei 101 she had a craving for ice cream! On a freezing winter night, she wanted ice cream! Oh, you might say, it does not snow in Taiwan! It couldn’t be that cold! Wrong! It could get cold! Then add ice cream! I think it was good! The ice cream was good, there’s no need for zhēnzhū if it were me.

Exhibit no 3 Zhēnzhū nǎichá cake/ Bubble tea cake, January, 2020

          My friend Larissa was sweet enough to buy a box of zhēnzhū shortbread. It’s everything you would expect Taiwan’s very popular pineapple cake to be, except for the filling! It had to be zhēnzhū! All of us decided it was bad!

Exhibit number 4 Zhēnzhū Pizza, February

          As my friends and I were talking about how unsatisfying the zhēnzhū cake was, they decided to find more zhēnzhū products! So, we found out that make zhēnzhū nǎichá pizza, too! We all knew it won’t be delicious and it would be a waste of money but my friends had to try, and I was with them so needless to say, I tried it. And Pizza Hut does not have it in a small box so we had to eat more than we could bear!

          I don’t hate Zhēnzhū. Other than with drinks or desserts, I just don’t understand why people would develop other food where they could put it! We do have taste buds telling is basically which things go with what. I know we have different tastes. I do have food in mind I could live without. But although we don’t prefer eating “some food” still… I’m sure that palate knows! Zhēnzhū pearls can’t be in all food!

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