Local bubble tea fans were dealt another blow when government agency Enterprise Singapore announced today (May 2) that BBT joints were excluded from a list of F&B outlets that have been approved to reopen from May 12. Bubble tea shops island-wide have been closed since April 21 for the circuit breaker, though companies are still allowed to sell BBT online “if they are fulfilled from the licensed central kitchen of the F&B establishment, if applicable”.
Popular bubble tea brands like Koi and Gong Cha have teamed up with online restaurant Grain and social enterprise cafe Professor Brawn respectively to sell their wares, while eateries such as Monga and Honolulu Cafe have also rolled out their own versions of bubble tea.
And now there’s one more BBT brand on the market offering island-wide delivery, owned by local restaurateur Howard Lo, who also runs eateries like Tanuki Raw, Standing Sushi Bar and Salmon Samurai. Called Black Dot Boba Tea, the beverages were first offered last November at the Tanuki Raw Express kiosk at Changi Airport’s Terminal 3, which shuttered in March 2020. “It was transit-side, so you had to be flying somewhere in order to access it,” says Howard.
While he had initially planned on retiring his range of BBT, he decided to bring it back after seeing “lots of people having cravings for sweets and comfort food during this circuit breaker period”. He reckons, “With the sudden closure of bubble tea shops, we felt that people will still be hankering for it and since we used to offer it at T3, why not bring it back?”
To comply with the government regulation of not selling bubble tea by itself, Howard is offering the drinks via his two other F&B concepts, mod Japanese-Mexican burrito Sumo Bar Happy and the gourmet sandwich-centric The World is Flat. A notice on both their websites informs customers that they can only purchase BBT with food, and “there will be a S$5 processing fee” for refunds of BBT orders that do not include food.