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The Daily Dish Top Chef

Top Chef’s Shirley Chung Explains Why Boba Tea Is So Good (It’s the Same Reason She Learned to Cook by Putting Rocks in Her Mouth)

The competitor from Season 14 of Bravo's Top Chef has a very tactile approach to exploring food.

By Tamara Palmer

Born and raised in Beijing, China, Shirley Chung knows her boba tea — also known as bubble tea. The Season 14 competitor on Bravo's Top Chef grew up trying endless versions of the sweet and chewy drink as a child and still loves them as an adult treat; her favorite combines mung bean and custard with the tapioca balls.

How to Watch

Watch the Top Chef Season 21 premiere on Wednesday, March 20 at 9/8c on Bravo and next day on Peacock.

Shirley recently explained her affinity for boba tea — and suggested the reason why people across the world love drinking it — on the new Bravo digital series Beats + Bites with the Potash Twins. She explained to the show's hosts, Ezra and Adeev Potash Potash, as well as fellow guests, actor Cody Johns and Bravo's Top Chef Season 14 winner Brooke Williamson, that it's all about the textures. 

And, she told the group, the curious exploration of food through texture is the same reason Shirley put rocks in her mouth when she was learning to cook!

"That's how I learn the world, through my mouth," she explained. "It's weird!"

Later, while dining at Season 14 winner Brooke Williamson's Playa Provisions restaurant, Shirley challenged Cody and the twins to create a song on the spot that was inspired by the many flavors and textures in the bubble tea.

"Give me something velvety representing the custard!" she instructed.

Press play on the video above to hear more from Shirley and the crew — and check out the whole Beats + Bites series for more Top Chef cameos and celeb guests.

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