Fork in the Road headed to Kung Fu Tea in the East Village yesterday for a taste of its bubble milk tea ($3). Our verdict: Compared to its East Village bubble tea counterparts, Kung Fu reigns superior.
The shop is owned by Taiwanese management, and unlike neighboring Taiwanese joints T-Kettle and Saint’s Alp Tea House, it is strictly a bubble tea shop. No snacks or any other food offerings–just boba.
Although the drink was on the sweeter side, the milk tea was not watered down, and the tapioca pearls were sufficiently chewy. The pearls also had a sweet aftertaste. And unlike T-Kettle, where the bubble tea is shaken by hand, Kung Fu has a automatic bubble tea shaker, which gives the milk tea its consistent, creamy flavor.
Kung Fu also has one of the most extensive bubble tea menus in the city and provides traditional Taiwanese offerings, including mung bean, red bean, white gourd, herbal jelly, and longan red date. But for those who aren’t into the traditional, the shop also has more familiar options such as their chai latte, Italian mocha, caramel macchiato, and chocolate coffee.
Patrons can also customize their drinks to differing levels of sweetness.
Kung Fu is the go-to place for a bubble tea fix. T-Kettle’s tea is plain, and Saint’s Alp is only good for its hot milk tea.
Although the quality at Kung Fu is admittedly not comparable to the bubble tea selections in Taiwan, it definitely is the best of its kind in the East Village.
241 East 10th Street
(between First and Second avenues)
New York, NY 10003
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 16, 2012