This is a picture of bubble tea, also known as One Of My Favorite Drinks. Well, actually, it’s the bubbles – or tapioca pearls – at the bottom of the drink that are my favorite. The rest of it, the tea – often a milky tea or fruit smoothie (as it is above) – is simply what must also be eaten in order to get to the pearls. Apparently, it is looked down upon to order the pearls on their own. (I would also order guacamole on its own, but I digress). Sigh.
Fortunately, at Tank Noodle in Uptown, the smoothie served along with the tapioca pearls is not just a means to an end. It is actually good. The mango I chose was fresh (but make sure to ask before ordering; not everything is fresh), and the chunks of fruit on top were a nice touch. I’m not saying I would order the drink sans pearls, but it’s good to know that, as a whole, the bubble tea at Tank Noodle is a winner.
This, of course, begs the question: are tapioca pearls healthy? The answer, according to Livestrong.com, unfortunately appears to be “not really.” Made from tapioca starch, the pearls are comprised mostly of carbohydrates, and not the nutritious and fiber-rich kinds found in whole grains. What’s more, they are loaded with calories – a whopping 160 calories per ¼ cup serving – which is frankly a pretty small serving, particularly when yours truly has a tendency to order the bubble tea with extra bubbles. Add to that the sugary carbohydrates from the smoothie, and bubble tea can easily top 300 or even 400 calories. Yikes! Best to put bubble tea in the occasional splurge category.
Beyond bubble tea, Tank offers up an extensive, and frankly overwhelming, menu. Pho, however, seems to be the main kind of food diners order (the communal tables at Tank make it easy to ease drop on neighbors’ ordering)…and it is obvious why. The broth bursts with flavor and, if the idea organ and other such non-traditional meat doesn’t make you squeamish, you may just find yourself enjoying the chewy tripe and beefy tendons. They don’t exactly taste like chicken, but there’s a reason the pho at Tank is so delicious.
Try Tank at 4953 N. Broadway Ave.
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