Mira Mesa is home to an overabundance of boba shops. Residents of the area are staunch supporters of these sweet drinks, but what the general public doesn’t know is the secret to their operations.
In order to secure the title of ‘best boba shop of the month,’ each shop agrees to participate in a “Boba Royale.”
“Every second Thursday of the month, a representative from each shop meets up in the empty Vons parking lot at one in the morning to duke it out,” Dane Honeydew, a senior employee of Tapioca Heaven, said. “We don’t know when this tradition started — it has just always been that way.”
First, the fighters line their cars up in a circle to discourage escaping from the arena. After a tense stare down, the whistle rings, signalling the start of the fight. From there, it is complete chaos.
These minimum-wage employees beat upon each other, tears streaming down their faces, wondering why they ever applied for this job. Some take to spitting boba at each other, the sticky treat temporarily distracting their opponent before unleashing the ultimate power move: throwing fryer oil for maximum splash damage.
Because of the fact that many workers are put out of commission during these brawls, the boba shops in the area are constantly hiring new people. After they’ve employed their unsuspecting victims, the cycle starts all over again.
“Last time, we eliminated all the Bobalicious employees, so that’s why Square Bar Café replaced them,” Honeydew said. “They were the ones who delivered the finishing blow.”
The current competitors are Tapioca Heaven, Tapioca Express, Square Bar Café, 85° Café, Tea Station, ICMonster and DingTea. However, a new challenger will soon be arriving this coming fall: ShareTea.
Despite these battles and lengths to prove they are the best, each boba shop will always have people who will favor and support them unconditionally.