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Boba lovers flock to Boba Festival amid ongoing student protests

Jessicha Valentina
Jessicha Valentina

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Thu, September 26, 2019  /  04:33 pm
Boba lovers flock to Boba Festival amid ongoing student protests

Malaysia-based bubble tea brand Daboba is among participants of the Boba Fest at Gandaria City shopping mall, South Jakarta. (JP/Jessicha Valentina)

The first installment of Boba Fest officially opened on Wednesday at Gandaria City shopping mall in South Jakarta. 

Amid ongoing student protests, the festival welcomed 16,000 visitors on its first day.  

Ezmeralda Pawan, one of the visitors, arrived at the venue at around 7 p.m. She told The Jakarta Post that she was initially worried about going during a student protest in West Jakarta. 

But upon considering the distance between the demonstration area and the shopping mall, she decided to travel all the way from BSD, South Tangerang, to the festival. 

Ezmeralda saw the festival as an opportunity to sample a variety of sweet tapioca pearls, also known as bubble or boba, in one place. 

“It’s a relief to my transportation costs as I don’t need to visit several shopping malls to try these boba brands,” she said. 

The Boba Fest, which is slated to run until Sunday, features 26 brands, including Tiger Sugar, Xing Fu Tang, Kokumi, OneZo, Gulu Gulu and Malaysia-based Daboba. 

People line up for OneZo during the Boba Fest at Gandaria City shopping mall, South Jakarta. People line up for OneZo during the Boba Fest at Gandaria City shopping mall, South Jakarta. (JP/Jessicha Valentina)

During the event, Ezmeralda said she and her friend tried boba drinks from Heycha, Fat Straw and Benedict. 

 “I wanted to try Xing Fu Tang, but the line was too long,” she said, adding that she did not expect the first day to be so packed. 

“When I arrived, Kokumi and Tiger Sugar had both closed their booths,” she continued. 

Read also: Boba Festival coming to Jakarta in late September

Bubble tea is trending in Jakarta, with new boba brands popping up across the capital. 

Food blogger Hans Danials said during the press conference that boba was a trend that comes and goes. 

“But it’s returning after the appearance of brown sugar boba,” he said, ”Since then, I saw many people creating new [bubble tea] brands or menu in existing brands.” 

Gandaria City general manager Lili Mulyadi said the current boba trend inspired her and her team to create the festival. 

“[Boba] is [found] not only [in] drinks but also food,” she said, explaining that the shopping mall had received many inquiries for a space to sell bubble tea.

“Due to our limited space, we weren't able to accommodate all the requests. We came up with the idea to create Boba Fest to invite our existing tenants as well as those who have yet to join us,” she said. 

Lili said it took them around two months to curate the brands. In addition to the famous ones, boba lovers can also try Malaysia-based bubble tea house Daboba. 

“Daboba has yet to open a store in Indonesia. They are opening a pop-up store at the [Boba Fest],” said Lili, mentioning that the brand planned to open an outlet in Gandaria City soon. (wng) 

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