Move Aside Boba, Konjac is in Town
If you’re like me, although you love your boba and your coffee, a change from the usual Cha for Tea, Tapioca Express, Starbucks or Diedrich would be greatly appreciated. Well, now you can break out of the mold and expand your beverage options with a drink called Konjac.
The name ‘Konjac’ comes from the name of the gelatin that is placed in the drink. It is cut into small square chunks and, like boba, is placed into smoothies, milk tea or coffee drinks and accompanied with wide-pipe drinking straws. Konjac gelatin is more crisp than chewy and has a light, grape-like flavor that does not intrude the taste of the drink. It can be placed in drinks or eaten with shaved ice and fresh fruit. But either way, you really cannot go wrong.
Konjac is derived from the konnyaku root originally found and grown in Japan and China. Its main component is glucomannan, a water-soluble dietary fiber consisting of mannose and glucose sugars. Glucomannan has been proven through studies to help aid in weight loss, increase gastrointestinal mobility, increase diuretics, increase bowel movement and decrease the chance of colon cancer. Finally, a drink that is as good for you body as it is for your taste buds. Cheers to a clear conscience.
The closest Konjac bar is Bin Bin Konjac located down Walnut and Jeffrey in the corner of Orange Tree Square, roughly 10 minutes from campus. This location is one of the company’s first attempts to bring the drink’s popularity from Taiwan to Southern California. It has been only three months and Bin Bin Konjac already seems to harness plenty of attraction and popularity from students.
‘I’m not exactly sure what Konjac is,’ said second-year economics major Jack Lei. ‘All I know is that it tastes good.’
The atmosphere is fresh and bright, with zesty kiwi green walls and steel tables and chairs. I walked to the wall menu and found myself lost among the exotic pictures and descriptions of drinks. Confused, I asked the cashier, ‘So, what exactly is Konjac?’ He reached over the cashier to pull in front of me a sign with a blurb titled ‘What is Konjac?’ It seems I was not the first person to have asked. After reading its description, I decided to pick the safest drink I possible could and chose honey Konjac with fresh mango. The drink looked and tasted like a smoothie but had Konjac gelatin squares at the bottom. It tasted like an interesting Asian-inspired fusion between Jamba Juice and mango green tea boba. I could tell in every sip that the mango was as fresh as they promised and was complemented nicely by the not too overbearing flavor of the Konjac.
Among the other options to choose from, Bin Bin Konjac boasts a wide array of selections: Konjac with either hot or cold green tea, Konjac with either hot or cold milk tea and their most popular, Konjac with fresh strawberry, which I also had an opportunity to try. I found it not as tangy and flavorful as the mango, but for those strawberry fans preferring a sweeter drink, I highly recommend it.
There is also red bean milk with Konjac shaved ice and fresh mango with Konjac shaved ice for those preferring a dessert rather than a drink. Prices for drinks ranged from $2 to $3 depending on the small or large drink size or $3 to $4.50 for a generous amount of shaved ice. And don’t worry, all these options are presented in an album accompanied with pictures to assist puzzled Konjac first-timers. Or for those in the mood for a more filling entr