Lab B Taiwanese Bubble Tea Festival

by Alison Lea Bender and Sam Tanabe

We Love a Pop-Up!

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Welcome to the Lab B Taiwanese Bubble Tea Festival! Sam and Alison headed down to SoHo in NYC to attend a weekend pop-up featuring one of their favorite treats. You can find either one of them at any given time with a bubble tea in hand, so it seemed fitting that they explore this bubble tea playground.

Lab B was created by a collective of Taiwanese artists, writers and designers sharing Taiwanese culture through immersive experiences and installations around NYC. In this exhibition, Lab B explored the culture and spirit of Taiwanese experimentation through the country's most popular culinary export — boba, or bubble tea — the sweet tea drink filled with bouncy tapioca balls that fans slurp up through colorful straws. Lab B was created to amplify the mark that Taiwan is leaving on New York City and allow viewers to find self-expression through the exploration of bubble tea.


Like any good pop-up, the #BubbleLab featured many opportunities for the perfect Instagram post. The giant bubble tea balloon and bubble ball pool and were definitely designed to instill boba FOMO in all of your friends.

Do it for the 'Gram 

And bop to that DJ, Babyyy!

The exhibition took an in-depth look into the history of bubble tea and offered tastings from some of New York’s finest boba shops including:

Gong Cha

Coco Tea

Bar Pa Tea

Ten Ren

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Originally Bubble tea was created by accident, but that opened the door for even more experimentation as it moved across the world and found its way into American culture. Now bubble tea can be found across the world, with new combinations of flavors and toppings.


The bubble tea playground also featured a DIY lab where boba fans could create their own bubble tea drink, choosing from different types of bubbles, ice levels, tea flavors, and sweetness.


Chillin with Yu-Ting Feng, lead artist of the Taiwanese Bubble Tea Festival


Bubble Tea is uniquely Taiwanese, and represents the spirit of experimentation. Hapa Mag was so pleased to attend the Lab B opening celebration and learn more about Taiwanese culture here in NYC. Sweeten up your life with some bubble tea today, Hapa Fam!

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Alison Lea Bender is a multi-hyphenate who defies conventional categorization and refuses to be pigeonholed. She is an avid champion for diversity, representation, inclusion in the arts, and the AAPI & POC communities. Some have called her the voice of a generation, some have called her a dangerous threat to society, but most of us just call her "my friend." The self-proclaimed "Hello Kitty meets Marilyn Monroe," Mizz Bender has performed on many a NYC stage as a muse to her many theatre friends and family. She can be followed on Instagram @AlisonLeaBender.


Sam Tanabe is a NYC based performer and writer for Hapa Mag. He has performed on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional theatres across the country. His passion for the arts has led him to fight for diversity and representation on stage. Follow this kawaii yonsei hapa bb on social media @Tanablems.