THE wait is over for bubble tea fans after a new food store finally popped up at Gloucester Green in Oxford.

Last summer El Mexicana and Combibos coffee shop closed and rough sleepers started to bed down in the doorways.

They have now left and the Taiwanese bubble tea and food store called Als Gongcha has opened next door to a Japanese restaurant run by the same new owners.

The restaurant is expected to open later this year.

Among staff working at the new food store are Gabi Pascaluta, Nariko Tonegawa, and Abdullah Wlat.

Oxford Mail:

Ms Tonegawa, 35, originally from Tokyo in Japan, has lived in Oxford for two years.

She said: “My partner is a researcher at the university.

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“I saw an advert in the window and applied for a job here - we sell food from China, Korea and Japan - the seaweed snacks and Teriyaki crisps are selling well.

“You can eat the seaweed on its own or mix it with rice.”

Mr Pascaluta, 29, has been working at a bubble tea store in Coventry also run by Als Gongcha, managed by Emma Ren.

Oxford Mail:

He said the new shop opened a few days ago and has been attracting lots of customers including those who have never tried bubble tea before.

He added: “It’s a good location for us right next to the market place because on some days there are stalls serving food from lots of different countries.

“People are visiting the Gloucester Green market and then coming here to have a look around.

“We have been open for about a week now and it’s quite busy already.”

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The bubble tea drink, which tastes like an iced tea or coffee, contains tapioca balls, and is drunk through a straw.

Oxford Mail:

Als Gongcha advertised its arrival in Gloucester Green several months before it opened. The shop is open every day.

While the former El Mexican and Combibos units are now being occupied, the unit which was occupied by Fopp record store remains boarded up.

Keith Atkin, market manager for LSD Promotions, which runs open air markets in conjunction with the city council on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, said earlier that NewRiver has also been showing potential tenants around the former Fopp store after it moved out all its unsold stock.

Oxford Mail:

The former Fopp record store in Gloucester Green shut in February despite a rescue package from Canadian music mogul Doug Putman for part of the HMV chain, which ran Fopp.

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Fans of vinyl records in the city now have to visit Truck Store in Cowley Road, or Blackwell’s music store in Broad Street.

Truck is also one of the businesses operating a stall in a shared pop-up store in the Covered Market. A crowdfunding campaign paid for the Indie Oxford Market Place to be staffed over the next four months, A Friday market started in Gloucester Green in April.