July 22, 2019

Fat Straws adds a Latin-inspired horchata bubble tea drink to its extensive menu

Fat Straws adds a Latin-inspired horchata bubble tea drink to its extensive menu

Tina Danze
Special Contributor
Jul. 22, 2019 9:00am


Ben Torres/Special Contributor

Fat Straws, a homegrown bubble tea shop with four Dallas area locations, has long been known for its cool, Asian-style milk teas. Now, some Mexican flavors are among the big sellers on the store’s 50-drink menu. Founder Terry Pham says he took cues from his Latin American staffers in creating non-tea drinks, like the house-made horchata. It’s a rice-based drink popular in Mexico, Central America and Texas.

Fat Straws makes its horchata with rice flour, a touch of cinnamon, whole milk, evaporated milk, and condensed milk for a slight sweetness. The Asian twist comes with the pearl-sized tapioca bubbles, which are optional. Get them for the textural excitement that the chewy pearls bring. The drink is light and refreshing, with a flavor reminiscent of mild rice pudding.


Ben Torres/Special Contributor

Fat Straws cooks a fresh batch of tapioca bubbles every four hours to ensure a springy, gel texture. After cooking, the bubbles sit in a brown sugar and white sugar solution, which imparts a bare hint of sweetness. The store’s name – Fat Straws – refers to the wide straws used to slurp up the bubbles. Their ample diameter is just big enough to allow easy passage of the tapioca pearls. 

Pham is the son of Vietnamese immigrants. His mother was pregnant with him when his family fled their country in the final days of the Vietnam War. He grew up in Richardson, and often helped his mother at her job managing 7-Eleven stores. “Retail is in my blood,” he says. It’s fitting that in June, Fat Straws opened its fourth location in Pham’s hometown of Richardson. 

Pham left an IT career to launch Fat Straws with his wife Jennifer in 2002. The original location, in Plano, was among the first bubble tea shops in the Dallas area. The company also has two Dallas stores. For all four Fat Straws locations, visit fatstraws.co.