Since this review as written, Tapioca world in American village has now closed. Thanks to our commenters for pointing out the following two locations still in Okinawa:
Haebaru Jusco & and Nago Jusco
40 kinds of crepes and 39 different bubble tea drinks make the newest addition to American Village worth trying!
Although popular in Asia and cities worldwide, bubble tea or “boba” is still unfamiliar to many here in Oki. Descriptions of its tapioca “pearls” bring to mind that awful pudding with bits too small to chew. The tapioca pearls in boba, however, are much bigger. They take on some of the flavor and sweetness of the drink they’re added to, and are sucked up a big straw. The pearls are meant to be chewed on between sips, and their texture is not unlike gummy bears.
American Village’s newest kid on the block, Tapioca World, recently opened next to Partyland (formerly Yogurtland), a spot that has seen several restaurants come and go. With its focus only on bubble tea and crepes, can it compete against AV staples Partyland and Blue Seal, especially since Blue Seal also serves bubble tea and crepes alongside its famous ice cream?
Here’s what we liked about Tapioca World: first, the prices are lower than Blue Seal’s. Bubble tea at Blue Seal costs around ¥400 to ¥500, comes in one size, and some of the flavors taste, well, unappetizing—overly sour or somehow “off”—not a good value if you have to keep trying different flavors to find what you like. The few boba drinks we tried at Tapioca World were quite good. The caramel almond and ben-imo drinks still tasted like tea (as they should), and the peach smoothie (more like a fruit slush) was really refreshing on a hot day—we want to try the mango next. They come in regular or large sizes, and, overall, are a good value. We also liked that we could choose colored tapioca pearls instead of the dark brown ones.
We tried the strawberry banana ice cream crepe, and again, liked that it was a bit cheaper than at Blue Seal. But it was just okay—there was a lot of crepe pancake for the amount of filling, and the ice cream was so-so—Blue Seal definitely has an advantage here. It didn’t much matter to us that they used tapioca flour, either. Still, at under ¥400, it was a novel treat to try at a decent price. They’re also thinking of rolling out some açai berry menu items.
Like many Okinawan businesses, Tapioca World offers a point card, for discounts on future visits
Mon – Sun : Coming Soon
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264 Miyahira, Haebaru-chō, Shimajiri-gun, Okinawa-ken 901-1104, Japan