A friend told me about BlackBall, a Taiwanese Dessert place in San Gabriel which specializes in…Grass Jelly.
I have to admit that I was hesitant of trying out when she first told me about it but I figured that we had similar interests in desserts, that I had to give it a try.
It’s important to note that while Grass Jelly is popular in China, despite it’s name and the big piece of grass on the wall inside of “BlackBall, Grass Jelly is not made from grass but made from dried leaves and stalks of the mesona plant from China. The leaves and stalk are boiled and a liquid eventually turns into a dark brown jelly.
And for the Chinese culture, grass jelly has been seen as positive for medicinal purposes and also be used for other purposes. In the case of BlackBall, something delicious.
You can have it served hot, warm or cold. And so, it was something that I needed to try.
Located in the Life Plaza Center, which the busy lines to enter the “Boiling Pot” still exists, on the opposite corner across from it is BlackBall.
While parking is busy in the front, you can go to the rear of the plaza center in order to get better parking.
Going inside BlackBall, the location is clean, customer service for the most part was good. There are bathrooms available, but they require a passcode, which you can get from one of the employees.
But for those not familiar with BlackBall, the restaurant chain began in 2006 in Taiwan and expanded to East and Southeast Asia and also Australia. In the United States, the choice to have it in San Gabriel Valley was no doubt a prime choice due to the Chinese demographic, especially targeting a Chinese palate and those craving for unique desserts and dishes.
We made our order and within five minutes, we received our order.
I ordered the #1 which is grass jelly with boba, taro balls and sweet potato balls served cold. Price was $5.95.
My brother ordered the #2 which is grass jelly, red bean, taro q and yam q for $5.95 and his was served hot.
My brother who has traveled China and ate many exotic foods down his quickly, while for me, I ate most of it quickly until all the boba, taro and sweet potato was all gone and left was the grass jelly. While tasty, it is an acquired taste that may not be for everyone. It is a sweet dessert but for those familiar with Chinese, especially Taiwanese desserts, it would be easy. For others, maybe not so much.
My friend recommended me to try Aiyu Jelly, an ice jelly which originated from Singapore and derives from seeds from a variety of fig found in Taiwan. So, his recommendation was the #14 with Aiyu Jelly, boba, nata coco, taro balls and sweet potato balls.
And of course, for green tea lovers, there is also Matcha Jelly served as well.
And for those wanting crushed ice, you can get that for the same price at $5.95 and want extra toppings? It’s only a dollar, how cool is that?
Overall, BlackBall has proved itself from its long lines and customer-base that there is love for xian cao (grass jelly), but for those who are a wee hesitant of eating grass jelly, there are also other types of desserts that can be eaten at BlackBall, as well as a variety of drinks such as smoothies and teas.
But for those not familiar with Chinese desserts but are open to trying something different, BlackBall is no doubt a place worth trying! Affordable, delicious and definitely should be added on your bucket list!