Vivi’s Bubble Tea Has A Cheap Steamed Bun Lunch (But Go Early)

You may be able to get steamed buns at some of the Chinese spots in the Financial District, but they’re often over priced and underwhelming. Vivi Bubble Tea on John St. (nr. Nassau) is not necessarily a place you would think of for anything other than a liquid lunch. Yes, they offer many different varieties of bubble tea, but you can also get a couple varieties of steamed buns at lunch time although I’ve learned that you probably need to go as close to noon as possible, or even earlier, in order to get your hands on some.

Unlike bakeries in the city’s Chinatowns, there are only three buns on offer at Vivi Bubble Tea. The day I was there the options were chicken teriyaki ($1.65) which is on the right above, and roast pork ($1.50) on the left. Taro buns were also listed on the sign, but apparently there weren’t any steamed that day.

I ordered one of each, making for a cheap, light lunch. Let’s talk about the chicken teriyaki bun first – the smaller of the two. The meat inside was sweet but not as much as I feared, and there was a fair amount of it for the size of the bun. The only downfall of this one was that the bread was a bit doughy on the inside in spots like it was undercooked.

The roast pork bun was larger, and for me, the winner of the two. There was a thin layer of meat in a sauce tinged with sweetness and the bread surrounding it wasn’t as gummy as in the chicken teriyaki bun. The pork is cheaper, and for me a better value since it was a little larger.

If you want a lunch that won’t break the bank, two or three of these will do you. The only snag is that you have to go early as one day I stopped in just before 1 p.m. and not only were there no buns, but the small warming cabinet they’re kept in by the door was unplugged. In this case the early bird gets the steamed buns.

Vivi Bubble Tea, 39 John St. (nr. Nassau St.), (212) 323-6969



  • ahve you had bubble tea?

    “The oldest known bubble tea consisted of a mixture of hot Taiwanese black tea, small tapioca pearls (粉圓), condensed milk, and syrup ”

    seems… gross..

    • User has not uploaded an avatar

      Personally, I am not a big fan of the bubble tea, but many people are. There are always a handful of people in this place when I walk by.

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