Popping pearls should not be mistaken for tapioca boba. They are more like siblings! Just like siblings they: have an identity apart from each other, originated from the same region, and both make for an incredible food or drink topping!
Today it's a topping phenomenon taking the bubble tea market in the United States by storm. Tapioca boba originated from Taiwan and made its way to the US in the early 2000's. Once the tapioca pearls became a success, variations quickly followed. This is when the fruity flavorful sibling was born.