Bubbly shakes a real treat on Guam
All around the island, popping up in almost every village street corner and DVD rental shop, are bubbly shake booths of which no one can seem to get enough. Chewy, round little tapioca balls resting at the bottom of the drink also known as sago or boba in Asian countries, are what we know better as black pearls, and are all the rage as one of today’s fads in food. “They’re like a snack and a drink all in one,” explains one bubbly tea fanatic.
Although there are set flavors on the menu, many customers have come up with their own recipes from an infinite variety of combinations of flavors. It all depends on your taste. Bubbly shakes have become the main attraction in several local DVD rental shops, with store owners concocting their own unique signature flavors that are more “out of this world” than the latest sci-fi DVD release. Here are the top 10 establishments, from the northern to the southern side of Guam, making their blockbusting unique blends of bubbly shakes.
The Tea District
The urban decor is a nice take on capturing the fast pace life-style of metropolitan living, and the same can also be said about their expedient service. What’s helpful in choosing which drink to try on every visit is their huge banner of “Top Picks,” and there is an interesting list of menu items blended with cheesecake.
SIGNATURE FLAVORS: Purple Oreo, Mango Orange, Bangkok Pearl, their version of Frozen Thai tea, and another classic favorite Honeydew.
GOTTA TRY IT: Blended Rose Milk Tea-is a popular drink in the U.S. mainland, and Taro Cheesecake & Red Velvet Cheesecake just ooze with decadence and richness.
• The Tea District is located in Bayview Hotel-Ground Floor, Tumon.
Tapioca Drink World
Tapioca Drink World serves Bubbly Tea Drinks on the rocks, and has yet another technique on the tapioca pearls. They are called Snow Pearls and are served frozen in each glass, giving off a slushy, gushy icy bite. You can order from the regular Bubble Milk or the Flavor Ice Menu.
SIGNATURE FLAVORS: Strawberry Melon, Mango, Passion Fruit. They have also a large selection of other jellies, besides the bubbly tea, and customers tend to be adventurous here creating their customized combinations.
GOTTA TRY IT: If you have the tongue for tart drinks, they have unique flavors such as Dark Plum, Green Mango, Pomegranate and the classic Lemon.
• Tapioca Drink World is located in Agana Shopping Center and Micronesia Mall.
Spinn & Play
Spinn & Play has definitely kept it going on for years in that small little corner video store smack dab in the heart of the hustling and bustling village of Dededo. People from all over — Yona, Barrigada and Agat flock over, and seem to not mind standing in line — all the while getting a whiff of the fresh buttery popcorn, enhanced by mochi, while in the meantime, waiting to order the notoriously icy thick and extra creamy bubbly shakes.
SIGNATURE FLAVORS: Purple Oreo, Taro-Green Coconut also known as Buko Pandan — two of the original classics still reign as the most popular flavors inspired by common ingredients in many Filipino desserts. Store employees mentioned that new interest is picking up with the Green Apple and Blueberry Bubbly Shakes.
GOTTA TRY IT: Another surprisingly delightful blend is Taro Chocolate, a similar alternative to cookies ‘n cream. For those who love tangy flavors, Spinn & Play goes to the extreme. Anything with the word extreme will have you puckering for flavors such as Extreme Raspberry, Extreme Strawberry-Kiwi Bubbly Shakes and so much more.
• Spinn & Play is locatedin Macheche Plaza, Dededo.
On your way, in or out, of Andersen Air Force Base, along Marine Corps. Drive, you’ll find a little oasis known for serving these tantalizing bubbly shakes.
SIGNATURE FLAVORS: Oreo Specials, Purple Oreo – which uses the taro (ube) flavor, and the Pink Dirt-Strawberry Oreo cookies blended into a smoothie over a layer of black pearls. Movie Hut has created interesting names for their shake flavors such as Bikini Bottom, and White Widow — providing a drink that is as suspenseful as their DVD-thriller section.
GOTTA TRY IT: The Greenteo is a green tea frappe blended with Oreo cookies that will please not only the Matcha Frappe lovers, but your tastebuds will give it two thumbs up.
• Movie Hut is located on Marine Corps. Drive in Yigo.V
Bubbly Tea Cafe
A successful spin-off from their predecessor, Spinn & Play in Dededo, brings to the central village of Tamuning, Bubbly Tea Café. This café continues the sweet tradition of offering its coveted icy thick and creamy bubbly shakes.
SIGNATURE FLAVORS: Captain Crunch Berries, Coconut Delight, Pink Passion, Cookie Mint, Sour Apple and who can forget the all-time favorites Purple Oreo – Taro(Ube) blended with Oreo cookies, and Taro (Ube) & Coconut – rich creamy flavor from Taro blended with the aromatic flavor of young green coconut and the scent of the pandanus leaf (buko pandan).
GOTTA TRY IT: The Watermelon with Lychee Gels, and Bubblegum are unique flavors worth trying. And Sweet Corn has a flavor reminiscent of Halo-Halo.
• Bubbly Tea Cafe is located in the Mikkel Tan Vy Bldg. across GPO, Tamuning.
The word “chesa” in Chamoru simply means chaser. And what can go better with their delicious Tina’lan Kat’ne (dried meat), dipped in their spicy dinanche’ (pepper paste) is a tall nice chillingly cold serving of one of their blended bubbly shakes to chase it all down.
SIGNATURE FLAVORS: Given cute, adorable names called the Manda Panda — a vanilla frappe blended with chocolate chips, then topped with whipped cream and two little Mini-Oreos positioned on both sides to resemble black panda ears (see photo), and another is a fabulous flavor of feline confection. The Pink Kitty is a blend of strawberry and KitKat, and the Green Kitty uses Green Tea instead. They also have tangy and creamy cheesecake shakes in a variety of flavors.
GOTTA TRY IT: The Curious George appears dark red from what many customers suspect is a red velvet cake blended with a hint of banana, and another ingredient — which I can’t quite put my finger on, but it’s there — at the tip of my tongue. This shake will keep you curious enough to give this family secret recipe a try.
• Chesa Guam is located on Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway in Barrigada.
“Make it and they will come” is precisely the thought behind a full-blown boba-making shake bar built at the back end of a toy store. Twinkles at the Guam Premier Outlet, has brought a taste of Honey Boba, from Taiwan, to our island.
SIGNATURE FLAVORS: Honeydew, Honey Boba Milk Tea, Java Chip and Cocomatcha- Green tea with coconut syrup.
GOTTA TRY IT: Peach Snow, Strawberry Yogurt, and Almond Snow-which you can mix with chocolate to get that nutty Almond Joy flavor.
• Honey Boba is located in Twinkles, Guam Premiere Outlet, Tamuning.
RJ DJ Movie Plus Cafe
Being the only game in town down south certainly has its perks for both the customer and this video store by the sea. RJ is relatively a stone’s throw away from southern landmarks such as Inn on the Bay, Naval Station, War in the Park museum, and the Agat Marina.
SIGNATURE FLAVORS: Oreo: Red, Greentea, Mocha to name a few. On the tart side are Tropical Passion, Melon Madness, Mango Cooler, Strawberry Sunrise.
GOTTA TRY IT: Caramel Oreo brings out the buttery flavor of caramel, reminiscent of butter pecan ice cream, and there’s the interesting flavors of Funky Monkey, and Tahitian Vanilla.
• RJ DJ Movie Plus Cafe is located in Agat.
Thai Smoothie Grill
This little cantina conveniently offers slushy shakes to soothe customers needing to cool off from the heat on a regular sunny day driving on Guam and perhaps from eating their delicious spicy Thai food. What’s great about this joint is that you can call in your order and they can keep the shakes in the freezer until you get there. You can’t help but notice how it always overflows past the rim of the cup.
SIGNATURE FLAVORS: Melon, Mango, Pineapple Mango, Green Tea are always made slushy and stays icy longer than most shakes.
GOTTA TRY IT: Their Thai Frozen Ice Tea has such an authentic taste to it — the boldness of the tea, softened by a creamy soy milk, and the super sweetness of red bean syrup. You can even have it on the rocks with the tapioca pearls.
• Thai Smoothie Grill is located in Ordot.
When you hear a constant buzz coming from the center of Micronesia Mall’s food court, that’s the sound made by the busy blenders of this little shake shack, beckoning customers along with the booth’s bright lights and colorful posters showcasing their delicious tropical and creamy bubbly shakes.
SIGNATURE FLAVORS: Strawberry Banana, Mango, Cantaloupe made with real fruit, and their ever popular Cookies ‘n Cream, mentioned by many teenagers who frequent the mall.
GOTTA TRY IT: The simple classic flavors never fail to hit the spot, like Chocolate and Vanilla Bubbly Shakes. Papaya is a mild flavor that’s also been getting quite a buzz with “Mall Rats,” the true connoisseurs of Bubbly shakes — the teenage mall crowd.
• Zagu is located in the Food Courtat Micronesia Mall, Dededo.
Now you’ll be able to locate the tastiest beverages on Guam to satisfy the craving for the next new thing in bubbly shakes. Why not make an activity at least once a week — perhaps on the weekends — where you and your family cruise over to a village to try one of these bubbly shake shop’s signature flavors? We’d like to know whether you’ve found a one-of-a-kind bubbly shake or created a unique blend of flavors of your own, so comment below!