CULTUREJuly 20, 2021

Here's How People are Reacting to Dunkin's Brand-New Fruity 'Boba' Toppings

If you haven't yet heard, Dunkin' Donuts now carries popping bubbles as a topping choice. Yeah, we don't know how to feel about it either...

On June 23, Dunkin’ Donuts storefronts across the nation introduced a new topping choice to its drink menu for the summer season: strawberry Popping Bubbles. When chewed, these strawberry spheres burst to release a small pocket of strawberry flavor into your mouth to enhance the flavor of the drink it is added to. 

For an additional charge, Dunkin’ customers can add Popping Bubbles to any iced or frozen beverage. Dunkin’ has also been heavily promoting a Popping Bubbles Instant Win game, in which users can log in every day to click between a set of virtual strawberry Popping Bubbles to be entered to win prizes, the grand prize being $5,000. 

However, Dunkin’ is far from being the first to offer such a drink topping to its menu. 

Popping bubbles are a variation of boba, or tapioca pearls utilized in the highly popular Taiwanese drink bubble tea. As such, they have historically been a unique staple and selling-point of many Asian-owned bubble tea shops as they can usually only be found at these types of stores. 

As a part of the mixed, negative-leaning reactions against the arrival of the strawberry Popping Bubbles at Dunkin’, many have raised concerns about Dunkin’, a white-owned American corporation, for whitewashing a traditional Asian treat by offering its own unauthentic version. 

Others have heavily criticized the lack of practicality in the design of the drink, claiming that the new orange and pink paper straws being offered by Dunkin' do not fit the Popping Bubbles and break them before there is even a chance for the bubbles to reach one's mouth.

If you are any kind of boba consumer, you know that bubble tea shops always offer a wide plastic straw to accompany their drinks so that the toppings, whether it be popping bubbles, tapioca pearls or jelly, can easily transfer from the base of the drink through the straw.

Still others have simply complained about the lackluster taste of the Popping Bubbles themselves, commonly drawing parallels between their taste and cough medicine:

As an ardent supporter of my local boba shops, I am disappointed to see one of the Asian community's most beloved and well-known treats be not only taken, but also butchered by a massive, white-owned company—at least get it right if you want to steal our recipe.

Instead of spending money on Dunkin's new boba-adjacent drink, I highly recommend that you instead invest in a large bubble tea at any Asian-owned boba spots near you, especially if you have never had the privilege of tasting boba before. I promise it won't let you down, unlike Dunkin' seems to be doing for the majority of its customer base.

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