October 14, 2010

I was surprised to find bubble teas in several malls.  I saw it in the Woodbury Commons when I was there a few weeks ago.  I thought I could only find bubble teas from China Town.  Bubble tea is a funky thing. It’s basically regular English breakfast tea served cold with milk and sugar and some funky black starch balls in it.  I don’t know who invented bubble tea. It was really popular a few years back.  It could be some influence from Taiwan.  And they need to make new bigger straws because the black starch balls would not pass through regular skinny straws.  It’s really a weird drink but it got very popular.  I remember one time some of my Chinese friends were asking me to go out for a drink.  So I thought we were going to a bar. Wrong.  We went out for bubble teas.  Even though I wasn’t crazy about bubble tea, I thought it is something very simple that I can try at home.  So I bought a bag of starch balls from a Chinese grocery store.  Guess what?  It was completely my mistake that I didn’t read the cooking instructions on the bag.  I said 2 hours cooking time. I was like “WHAT?”  I didn’t believe it but it was really the case. Those starch balls took forever to get soften.  I think it may be fun to make it in a big batch for a party or something and have friends try out the funky tea, but making it just for one or two cups of tea, it’s not worth that effort.

Starch Balls for Bubble Tea
Boil starch balls in a big pot of water
Rinse starch balls in cold water
Brew tea
Add starch balls to the cold tea. Add milk or half and half

Ingredients (Serves 1):

  • Starch balls, 1/2 cup
  • English breakfast tea bag, 1
  • Half and half, 2 Tbsp
  • Sugar, 1 tbsp
  • Ginger, 3 slices
  • Water, 3 cups


  1. Read the cooking instructions of the bag of the starch balls.  Use a big pot of water, bring it to a boil.  Add starch balls in it.  Use medium heat.  Let the starch balls cook for 2 hours.  Not kidding.  Keep an eye on the water level.  Add more water if it gets drier.  Stir occasionally.
  2. In a separate pot, add 3 cups of water and ginger slices in it. After it is boiled, let it simmer for three or four minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Discard the ginger.
  3. Pour the ginger flavored water into a tea cup.  Add a tea bag, and sugar.  Let the tea brew for 5-10 minutes or.  Discard the tea bag.  Let the tea cool a little bit.  To turn that into a cold tea, you can either put it in the refrigerator and let it chill, or add a few ice cubes.
  4. When the starch balls are done, they should be completely translucent.  Rinse the starch balls in cold water.
  5. Add the starch balls to the cold tea.  Add half and half. Mix it well.  Serve cold.

I need to change the way I eat. I usually eat my dish but I don’t really drink anything. I guess it is some habit I had since I was a kid.  I was a poor kid.  I barely had enough money to order my food and I rarely had money to order any drink.  So I got used to having my food without any drink. Guess what? It’s probably a bad habit because I probably ended up eating more food than I needed.  If I drink some drink while eating, the water/liquid will help to fill me up faster, and I may consume less food.  I tried a couple of times of making a tea first before I eat my dinner. And I think it helped a bit to cut down the amount of food I had.  My favorite drink lately is the Japanese green tea powder.  The first time I had it was in a Thai restaurant in Raleigh.  It was very good but I have never gotten a chance to try it again until recently that I got a bag of tea powder as a gift from my sweet sister.  She just visited Japan.  I was happy.  I asked her how to make the tea. She told me just put a little bit of powder in a cup, and add hot water. That’s it.  But how about the residue?  She said just drink it.  It’s super convenient. No dumping tea bag or cleaning up tea leaves.  That’s awesome.  It is totally made for lazy people like me.  Besides, I just googled it and found out that tea powder has 10 times more antioxidant than regular green tea, and it can give a great detox.  With all these benefits, and my attempt to fill me up, I’m getting addicted with this weird green looking drink.  I need to find out where to buy this stuff.  I’m going to run out of it soon.

Japanese tea powder - great stuff
Very funky green drink. I love it.
Soy Milk, my favorite drink
Soy Milk, my favorite drink

6 months and not much exercise is really turning me into a Fatty.  The more I feel frustrated, the more food I consumed.  I’m sure some of you would understand what I’m saying.  Will there be a moment when I feel I hit my lowest and I am determined to do something about it?  I finally kicked my own butt this morning and exercised.  Thanks to my coworker, John and my childhood friend, Louisa that motivated me.  While I see others are trying hard to get healthy and get in shape, I can’t be sitting on the couch no more.  I did my Cardio X this morning.  I struggled, but I managed to get it done.  I feel great!!!  I do feel like a million bucks as Tony Horton said.  I don’t have any fancy green stuff as my recovery drink, but I do have some plain soy milk.  I looked at the label of the bottle. It has 7g of protein for every 8-oz and 1g sugar only. That would do it.  Most of the soy drink I found from regular American grocery stores taste awful. I won’t name brands here, but most of them are really yucky.  They added a bunch of artificial taste like vanilla and tons of sugar in it.  If you would like to try real soy drink, you need to get it from a Chinese or Japanese grocery store.  I’m gonna try using soy milk as my recovery drink from now on, and see how that goes.  I need to get back my strength, get in shape, and get ready for golf season.

February 14, 2010

There are so many Ginseng products out there.  I tried a few of those ready-made Ginseng drinks, they don’t do a thing IMHO.  If you really want to get the Ginseng benefits, use the real thing. Period!  Get the real Ginseng root.  You can get Ginseng root from some Chinese herb stores, some Chinese grocery stores, or online of course.  We can buy anything online these days!

There are different kinds of Ginseng roots.  My mom can tell you all the details about the benefit of all these.  She’s not a medical doctor, but she knows so much about all sorts of Chinese herbs and their healing power.  When I was really young, like in elementary school, she used to give me a couple of Ginseng root slices and asked me to chew them for a while like having a chewing gum in my mouth, and then swallow them.  She believes Ginseng can help to boost my energy and made sure I got enough energy to stay focus in school.  I guess that’s kind of working.  I did well in school, and I did finish college. LOL.  If you suffer from Chi deficiency, Ginseng is really good for you.  I had a lot of Ginseng in my life.  Mom made a lot of soup with Ginseng too, I’ll post some soup recipes later.

Anyway, here is a very easy Ginseng tea that you can make for a quick boost of energy. Give it a try.


Ginseng Root
Ginseng Root


Ginseng Tea
Ginseng Tea


  • Ginseng root, 5 or 6 slices.
  • Honey, 1 Tbsp
  • Water


  1. Get a big cup, like 16 or 20 oz.  Put the Ginseng root slices in the cup.
  2. Boil enough water.  (No heating up water in the microwave please!  That’s not gonna work.)
  3. When water boils, pour it in the cup.
  4. Add a tablespoon of honey to the cup.  If you prefer sweeter in taste, you can add more honey.
  5. Give it a stir.
  6. Put a lid on the cup, cover it and let the Ginseng soak for 30 mins.  If you don’t have a lid, use a plate, or plastic wrap whatever.
  7. After 30 minutes, it’s ready to be served.  I usually make a second serving by adding boiled water and honey to the Ginseng again.  Of course, the second serving is not as strong taste as the first.  You can either eat the Ginseng like what I usually do (they are edible), or disgard it.  

Enjoy. Let me know if you like it.

OOPS, forgot to mention one thing that is very important.  DON’T DRINK ANY TEA IF YOU HAVE GINSENG IN THE SAME DAY.  Well, it’s not like the combo of tea and Ginseng will kill you, but tea will cancel out the benefits of Ginseng, according to Dr. Mom (my mom)