Does Popping Boba Have Gelatin?

by Jadeeyah Abang

fruity popping pearls or popping boba

One of the many questions bubble tea lovers often wonder is if popping boba has gelatin. Vegans, animal lovers, and people with a halal diet would be happy to know that there is no gelatin in those delicious little balls.

But if you are still curious as to why popping bobas look as if they are made of gelatin, then let’s discuss what gelatin is and what popping bobas are actually made of. 

What is gelatin?

Gelatin (sometimes spelled gelatine) is actually a common ingredient in soup, gummy bears, marshmallows, and Jell-O. It is a protein found in the collagen of animals, so some gelatin are extracted from the boiled skin, tendon, and bones of animals.

But don’t worry! If you are a vegan or a vegetarian, you will be happy to know there are plant derived substitutes of animal-derived gelatin!  Some common plant-based gelatin substitutes are such as Agar (also called agar-agar), derived from seaweed, guar gum, or pectin. So if you like gummy candies, you can look for gummies made with these alternatives if you have dietary restrictions. 

Does popping boba have gelatin?

To answer this question again: no, popping bobas have no animal-derived gelatin in them. Popping bobas are made of water, sugar, and fruit-flavored juice. So, definitely no gelatin ingredient in there!

What makes popping boba gelatinous?

Popping boba is called the way it is because it is meant to “pop” and release delicious fruit-flavored juice when bitten or squeezed. To make this possible, the balls need to be made with seaweed extract.

In our previous article What is Boba vs. Bubble Tea?, we talked about how seaweed extract (Sodium Alginate) reacts with salt (Calcium Chloride), immediately creating a gel shell around the flavored juices. The method of preparation is known as molecular gastronomy and the science of mixology behind is what makes the popping boba pop, and look gelatinous!

To enjoy delicious seaweed-based popping bobas, come and visit our bubble tea shop in Zürich or make your own with the large collection of our popping bobas in Bubblish Popping Boba!

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