Yo Mon Frozen Yogurt Press

Boba Balls Are Not in Star Wars, but They Are at Yo Mon

You’ve probably noticed, if you’ve spent any time around the toppings bar at Yo Mon, these little things that almost look like roe (you know, on sushi).  Don’t worry!  They aren’t fish eggs—they’re Popping Boba Balls—and they’re pretty cool!  Not only do they look pretty perched atop your cup of yogurt in their rainbow-colored glory, but they’re quite tasty.  If you come in with kids, you’ve probably scooped some into their cups—kids can’t resist them—and maybe you wondered just what they were.  So, let us give you a little history.

Boba balls (or bubbles) traditionally were called tapioca pearls or tapioca balls, and originally they were just black.  Derived from the starch of the cassava root, when they’re cooked just right, they have the consistency of a gummy bear (but a little softer).  They’ve been used for years to flavor tea-based drinks in Taiwan.  The drinks are usually served with extra-large straws so that the bubbles or balls can be sucked up through the straw with the drink and consumed.  If you want to flavor your own drinks at home though, beware of small people sucking up boba balls through straws—they can be a choking hazard when they’re eaten that way.  When these little delicacies were discovered in Hong Kong, people didn’t call them tapioca pearls or tapioca balls anymore; they began calling them boba balls (the word boba means “big pearls”).  And hence the name was born.

Traditional boba balls aren’t actually that difficult to make at home if you have the right ingredients.  If you want to give it a try, here’s how it goes:

  1.  First, get yourself some boba.  You can usually find it in Asian markets, but if you need to, you can also buy it on the internet.
  2. Figure out how much boba you’ll need for your party/event/etc. Don’t make more than you need because it doesn’t keep well once prepared.  Also, don’t make it more than 24 hours in advance.
  3. It depends on how much boba you’ll be making, but generally, you should use a large stock pot and fill it a third of the way with water.  Bring the water to a rolling boil—a good one!  Apparently, if you put your boba in before the water is good and hot, it won’t cook properly.  We get the feeling that boba is just a touch temperamental.
  4. When the water is really boiling, stir it with a spoon and pour the boba in!  Cook it for 10 to 12 minutes and let the water keep boiling.  Stir the boba occasionally so it doesn’t stick together.
  5. Take the boba off the heat, pop a lid on it and let it keep cooking in the hot water for another 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. When your time is up, pour the boba balls into a metal colander and drain it. Your boba is ready to go!

Some people sprinkle their boba with sugar to sweeten them just a bit more, but that’s really up to the person who’s cooking.  If you won’t be using your boba right away, pack them away in an airtight container with a little water so they don’t dry out.

Now, these boba balls aren’t the same as the ones we have in our store.  Our boba balls are something like the grandchildren of the original.  We have the famed “popping” boba balls, which are boba balls filled with a juice that “pops” inside your mouth.  They come in several flavors and people love them.  We have to say it—they’re just fun.:)

Next time you’re in having some yogurt and collecting Spots for Yo Mon merchandise, sprinkle a couple on your yogurt and give them a try!  See for yourself what all the fuss is about.