By Baxley Aldworth
Feeling thirsty? If you are, just look for Homer Simpson. Homer’s favorite hangout these days tends to be at Vivi’s, a bubble tea shop in Chinatown, where you can find him lounging on the bench outside. He’s made a good choice. Bubble tea, which is variously flavored tea with chewy tapioca “bubbles,” has exploded in popularity since its inception in Taiwan 18 years ago, and Vivi’s is right at the forefront. “We put a lot of emphasis on quality,” says James Huang, Vivi’s founder and owner who named the shop after his daughter. “We are not a chain or a franchise, and all of our tea is imported from Taiwan. This allows me to control the quality of our products.” Starting out, Huang said, “I had to experiment and make a lot of drinks to get the right ratio of sweetness to flavor.”
High quality bubble tea is not the only thing to be found at Vivi’s. For those looking for something a little more substantial, Vivi’s offers popcorn chicken, a big customer favorite; takoyaki, which consists of fried octopus sprinkled with seaweed flakes and is one of Japan’s most popular street foods; and tempura, which is imported straight from Taiwan and can only be found at Vivi’s. Customers can also choose one of five different spices (basil, garlic, curry, spicy, and salt and pepper) to add to their popcorn chicken, each spice made by James himself. The drink menu goes beyond just bubble tea as well. Drinks like Passion Fruit Green Tea and Lemon Jelly (Vivi’s is the only place to get it) can be had as well.
Besides the food and drink, just going to Vivi’s is an experience. Japanese toy vending machines line one wall of the shop. Customers can purchase special tokens to use for the machines and win from a wide variety of fun Japanese toys.
Guys don’t mind dropping by either, perhaps due to the pretty girls working behind the counter. And, of course, there’s always Homer Simpson to sit with right outside on the bench.
Tea is not only good for you, it’s delicious and fun to drink now, thanks to the tapioca. Come see why bubble tea is all the rage at Vivi’s bubble tea shop!