Bubble Tea House Enables Boba Craze

Think of a coffeehouse and you might be reminded of soft acoustics, warm drinks, and the coziness of a night in. Asian Club’s Bubble Tea House this past Friday “drew inspiration from a coffeehouse, with bubble tea in lieu of coffee,” according to Asian Club President Dennis Zhang. But perhaps it was the screaming of the spectators of the spicy ramen-eating contest, or the fervent dancing of the Andrew Petrocelli Fan Club that gave it away that this was no ordinary coffeehouse.

President Dennis Zhang being kawaii in front of a bunch of cranes. The Asian Club Executive Board folded the rainbow cranes for people to use as a backdrop for pictures.

Bubble tea has become practically synonymous with Asian-American culture in recent years, raking in millions for big names like Kung Fu Tea and Gong Cha (both of whom have sponsored Bubble Tea House). And its demand is only increasing; according to Market Watch, the bubble tea market is expected to reach 3.49 billion by 2026. It’s no surprise, then, that Bubble Tea House would be a smash hit amongst EB students. “This year was the biggest turnout we’ve ever had,” says Zhang. “We had about 150 people, whereas in past years it’s been more like 100.”

It’s common knowledge that unless one settles for the arguably subpar flavors of Yogurt Dojo in the Brunswick Square Mall, quality bubble tea is virtually impossible to come by in East Brunswick. Asian Club ingeniously devises a solution to this dilemma: they bring the bubble tea straight to the deprived and demanding customers.

This year, it was Gong Cha Edison that supplied the 130 cups of bubble tea—which came in both original and soy so that even the lactose-intolerant could enjoy. “It took months of preparation: first we get the performers… then sell wristband tickets that we make ourselves. We have to keep track of those sales, print programs, and most importantly, contact a bubble tea shop and ask them about ordering and whether they can support our event,” says Zhang. In addition, set-up the day of the event takes hours after school. Fortunately, the Executive Board got some help from the custodial staff, who cleared the cafeteria to form a space for a stage and an audience, and Tri-M Music Honors Society, who helped set up the equipment, instruments, speakers, and microphones.

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We had more performers than expected sign up, so we decided to give everyone the chance to perform… I think it was a great idea. The crowd loved it.

— Dennis Zhang, Asian Club President

It seems like all of the hard work paid off, though. The energy of the crowd was consistent from the first act—the debut performance of Please No Cursing singing “I Want It That Way”—to the last act, a cover of boy pablo’s “tkm” performed by EB-famous band noBread.

In previous years, an open dance in the sophomore section of the cafeteria has always followed the performance portion. This year, however, Asian Club opted for fourteen performances in lieu of the dance. “We had more performers than expected sign up,” explains Zhang, “so we decided to give everyone the chance to perform… I think it was a great idea. The crowd loved it.”

In accepting so many acts, they were also able to capture a wide range of talents. Bella Pereira and Alicia McLaughlin danced to “Kill This Love” by K-pop group BLACKPINK; Dean Perotta played a piano piece from the soundtrack of the anime Your Lie in April; and Christopher Shih and Dennis Tsui showcased their unique talent on the Chinese Yo-Yo with tricks that left the audience in awe.

Everyone received raffle tickets when they walked in, as well as an extra one for every purchase made. The night concluded when they called the numbers, raffling off three baskets containing Asian beauty products, food, and stationery.

If you weren’t able to come to Bubble Tea House, there’s still a chance to partake in a spicy ramen-eating contest, watch performances, and win a raffle basket. “I 100% recommend everyone come to Asian Night on April 24th,” Zhang says. “It’s our biggest event of the year and completely worth it. And bring your friends! Anyone can enjoy Asian culture.”