For some weeks now, Manhattan Avenue has been illuminated by a cutesy bubblegum-pink storefront promising Vivi Bubble Tea. When I passed by at the weekend, staff were hard at work prepping the interior and a friendly chap ensured me they’d be open by next week, adding that they are “very much looking forward to being a part of the neighborhood”.

Vivi Bubble Tea (790 Manhattan Ave) takes the place of the long-beloved photo developing spot Enla Photo which closed earlier this year when its owners retired after a truly dedicated 30 years of operating the store.

Whilst $3.50 at Enla would have more than covered the cost of developing a roll of 35mm film, now that amount will buy you a medium sized bubble tea of your choice. Not quite as creatively fulfilling as 36 full-color prints, but certainly delicious.

© Henlee Wang

In the name of research I popped into the Chelsea outlet of Vivi (it’s a mini-chain you see) to get a taste of what we could expect to find when they finally open shop in Greenpoint. Greeted at the door by a life sized Vivi character, I discover the interior to be just as pink as the signage.

The menu is broken down into Milk Tea, Flavored Tea, Slush, Yakult Drink, Ice Jelly Tea, and ‘Special’. You can choose whether to add traditional tapioca pearl boba, aloe, custard pudding, lychee jelly, red bean (or a combination of a few) into your drink. The good thing about Vivi is that you can also choose how much sugar you want: 0, 30, 50, 75 or 100 percent.

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I choose peach tea with a combo of tapioca pearls and lychee jelly. The boba are nicely firm yet squishy and there’s not too many (the first few are always fun but no one wants to get too bogged down in boba-slurping, it can get exhausting after a while). My drink is a bit overly sweet but this is because I ordered before knowing about the reduced sugar option. Next time I’d opt for a 50 percenter. My pal had an almond milk drink and it was ace.

We were sad to say goodbye to Enla Photo but, since the store came to a natural end, we’re prepared to toast the future of 790 Manhattan Ave with a plastic canister of gloopy Vivi bubbles!

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