• Like bubble tea, these yoghurt drinks are available in different flavours. (NAIMI)Source: NAIMI
Move over bubble tea.
Aimee Chanthadavong

7 Feb 2020 - 11:13 AM  UPDATED 7 Feb 2020 - 12:15 PM

Since bubble tea was introduced to Australia several years ago from Taiwan, it's become a much-loved drink option to grab on the go. It's available in a variety of flavours and comes with a range of toppings such as chewy tapioca "pearls", popping boba, fruit jelly and grass jelly, among others.

But there may be a new contender in the fast beverage offering, with the rise of rice yoghurt drinks.

As the name suggests, they're made from creamy yoghurt with soft, chewy purple rice - also known as Korean black rice.

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Like bubble tea, rice yoghurt drinks are served in clear plastic tumbler-style cups, sealed tightly with a plastic cover.

They're enjoyed through extra-wide straws and available in different flavours such as red dates, matcha, and various fruits including mango, strawberry and banana.

According to Max Ma, the owner of Yees Yogurt, the appeal of rice yoghurt drinks has grown because they're considered as healthy.

Ma tells SBS Food, "It's become more popular recently because people are more conscious about their health...While bubble tea has been popular for the last several years, people think it's unhealthy because there's a lot of sugar in it."

Yee's Yogurt is changing the way yoghurt can be consumed.

He adds that this new drink trend has the potential to change the way yoghurt is consumed.

"People normally have yoghurts only for breakfast and even then they don't drink it. But these rice yoghurt drinks [mean] you can have yoghurt any time during the day, and it's a good source of protein," he says.

Jiayuan An, director of yoghurt beverage shop NAIMI, agrees and points to how bubble tea often contains additives and artificial flavouring while rice yoghurt drinks are made from real dairy and nutritious grains.

"They both taste good, but why shouldn't we choose the healthier one, especially in the present era where people are paying more attention to healthy eating and drinking habits."

"It's become more popular recently because people are more conscious about their health."

An, who claims to be "one of the first group of people who engaged" with the drink concept, explains the growing increase of health-conscious people in mainland China was responsible for the creation of rice yoghurt drinks. As a result, China's drinkable yoghurt market has seen exponential growth

Yoghurt is made by introducing a starter culture of bacteria into milk.

The popularity of these drinks are contained to certain cities in China, for now, says Ma. But he's confident that despite how strange the combination of rice and yoghurt may sound, it's a concept that will certainly take off, much as it did with bubble tea.

"It's new and people have to take get used to it. It's very healthy and you can drink it anytime," he says.

An's bet is that yoghurt drinks will become a popular fast beverage, much in the same way bubble tea has become widely enjoyable. 

"Some people love bubble tea and some like to try new things. It is hard to say if yoghurt drinks will become as popular as bubble tea has in [the Australian] market, but I hope so," she says.

You can try rice-yoghurt drinks at the following stores.

Shop 6/683-689 George St, Sydney, NSW

Yee's Yogurt
Shop 10/405 Sussex St, Haymarket

404 Sussex St, Haymarket, NSW

Westfield Garden City, Level 1, 2049 Logan Road, Upper Mt Gravatt, QLD

Umi Rice Yoghurt
57 Carrington Road, Box Hill, VIC


Love the story? Follow the author here: Twitter @achanthadavong or Instagram @aimeech33. Photographs by Yees Yogurt and NAIMI.

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