The viral bubble tea hot pot looks a lot like our ginataang bilo-bilo

If you’ve been on social media lately then you’ve probably seen those photos of what looks like a new food craze going around. Restaurants from around the world are beginning to get into a trend they’re calling ‘bubble tea hot pot’.

As soon as the dish started getting noticed in the Philippines, people began to comment about how similar it looks to our own ginataang bilo bilo. 

(LOOK: Milk Tea Cake now exists—and it comes with pearls, too!)

You have to admit, with the mix of toppings cooked in a sweet soup it does bear a striking resemblance:

bubble tea hot pot 1


According to CTV Vancouver, though, the dessert is actually based on Taiwanese milk tea (obviously, given the name). They reported that “grass jelly, mochi taro balls, tapioca pearls, and sago are all served in a brass pot.

The pot is then filled with milk tea and a flame is lit to keeps the dessert warm.”  While some of the toppings are the same as the ones we use, the big difference is the milk tea versus our coconut milk.

bubble tea hot pot 2

The dish actually got a lot of hate online, with people saying it was another Westernized version of ginataang bilo bilo or binignitBut I don’t think the Philippine culture can claim sole ownership over glutinous rice balls and sago in desserts. Other social media users all over Asia were also comparing it to their own local delicacies like Thailand’s bua loi. 

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Just the fact that there are so many variations around the Philippines also shows that a dish can use the same ingredients without being exactly the same — and that’s okay. Life is a little more fun when you can argue which version of it is better, anyway.

Which one do you think is the superior version of the dish?