Green tea is the traditional beverage accompaniment to sushi. At Bubble Hut, you can try something with a little more oomph. The Bellmore store takes its name from the flashy Taiwanese beverage whose “bubbles” are disconcertingly black spheres of chewy tapioca, and the less said the better about the amount of actual tea in the sweet, milky (though nondairy) drink.
Raised by Chinese parents in Miami, managing partner Wayne Eng started young in the sushi business, receiving the kind of classical training where the chef doesn’t let you touch the fish for the first year of apprenticeship. He made sushi on both coasts, but he was also drawn to the casual street food of Japan — noodles, curry and other hearty bowls.
Eng took over Bubble Hut in 2014, shortly after it opened. He added sushi (three dozen types of rolls), udon, ramen and chicken-katzu (fried cutlet) curry. He also expanded the shop’s Japanese imports. Here is the place to find such cult-worthy items as Pocky, the slender cylindrical cookies enrobed almost completely in chocolate or flavored coating; Hi-Chew “sensationally chewy fruit candy” (think Starbursts); Meiji Hello Pandas (“bite-sized cookies filled with smooth crème”); green-tea-filled KitKat bars and Ramune soda, whose distinctive bottle has a glass marble lodged in its neck.
Bubble tea remains the star of the show. Eng and his team have a nine-step process for preparing the beverage, which involves blending one of 16 flavors with hot water, rapidly cooling it down (with the help of an agitating machine) and sealing it so that the clear plastic cup doesn’t spill.
Straws must be extra-wide for bubble tea, to allow for sucking up the tapioca balls. Eng also anchors his teas with tapioca alternatives. There are fruit-flavored “popping juice balls,” soft orbs filled with liquid that have the mouth feel of sweet fish eggs, and “jellies,” shaped like cubes or stars or fruits, whose consistency is somewhere between gummy bears and Jell-O — but which will not dissolve in liquid.
Bubble teas are $3.85 for medium, $4.25 for large. The same prices apply to “fruit teas,” which, unlike the opaque bubble teas, are clear.
309 Bedford Ave., Bellmore