Bubble tea has many ingredients that combine to create this unique tea-based drink. Boba drinks are becoming increasingly common worldwide, but is boba Halal? Continue reading to discover which ingredients are safe and which may be of concern.
What Is the Definition of Halal?
Halal means ‘permissible’. Halal foods are in accordance with what followers of Islam are allowed to consume.
Haram, on the other hand, means ‘forbidden.’ Pork and alcohol are common Haram products. Any foods made from pork by-products are also considered Haram. Gelatin, for example, is sometimes made from various body parts of pigs or cows.
Not all gelatin is made from pork; many gelatin products are made from vegetable gums, pectin, algae, seaweed extracts, and other vegetable products.
Does Boba Contain Gelatin?
Generally, no, boba does not contain gelatin.
Three typical boba tea toppings are popping boba, tapioca pearls, and jellies. Popping boba is made from seaweed extract, water, sugar, fruit flavorings, fruit juice, calcium lactate, malic acid, and potassium sorbate. Tapioca balls contain tapioca starch, water, and a sweetener- they do not contain any gelatin. Boba jellies are typically made from vegetable gelatin. All three of these options are generally Halal.
However, some boba jellies can contain gelatin. Always check with your boba cafe to make sure all ingredients are Halal.
Is Bubble Tea Halal in All Countries?
Bubble tea is Halal in all countries. Boba developed in Taiwan and spread across Southeast Asia, but then spread to regions with a high Muslim population like Malaysia and Indonesia, including Singapore.
Bubble tea is created from the same ingredients in all countries. Since most ingredients in bubble tea are naturally Halal, followers of Islam can enjoy safe bubble tea wherever they live. Some boba cafes are even Halal Certified, making them a safe place to visit and enjoy bubble tea.
Is Boba Vegan?
Both popping boba and tapioca pearls are vegan. Popping boba contains juice and sweeteners; the outer shell is made from seaweed. Tapioca pearls are naturally gluten-free and vegan, made with tapioca flour from the cassava root. As long as the boba isn’t sweetened with honey, it is vegan.
As for milk tea, many bubble tea shops have many non-dairy milk options. Almond, soy, oat, and other milk substitutes are excellent for vegan or lactose-intolerant boba drinkers. Additionally, fruit bubble teas are usually made with juice instead of milk.
Bubble milk teas most commonly use brown sugar as a sweetener. If you want to be sure your bubble tea is vegan, you can ask if honey is included at any point in the manufacturing process.
Which Non-Halal Ingredients Should You Be Cautious Of?
Part of the fun of boba tea is combining flavors and toppings. However, some options may be Halal in one boba tea shop but not another.
Be aware of the following ingredients when checking that your bubble tea is Halal:
- Color additives and flavorings
Vanilla, a common flavoring, is made from vodka and vanilla beans.
Some syrups are alcohol-based.
- Toppings like jelly or ice cream
Some jellies are made from animal-based gelatin. Depending on the ice cream flavor, it could be alcohol-based or contain gelatin or marshmallows.
If you have any doubts, ask the cafe about each specific ingredient.