Sunday, June 24, 2007

Hong Kong! Hong Kong! Hong Kong!

by DANNY SAMARKAND


Hong Kong is a real haven for tea lovers! While the tea shops in Taiwan have a larger variety of predominently Formosan oolongs and teas -- at least from the last impression I had in 2003, the tea varieties in Hong Kong are wider, ranging from black teas to green, compressed to loose, aged to freshly plucked brews.

There's another good reason why I think Hong Kong is a tea lovers' haven -- most of the the shopkeepers there speak ENGLISH (not that it matters to me!) ... One of the frustrating thing for a western tealover is the inability to communicate with the tea shop salespersons -- Taiwan and China seem to have this lingo barrier, but Hong Kong, being till 10 years ago a British colony, has done well.


My trip to Hong Kong was a fruitful and lovely one; I had 3 agendas: to celebrate my best friend's birthday, to find out more about the tea trade and its development in Hong Kong (a question posed by a British tea friend), and to hunt the alleys for tea.


Besides looking up the tea trade development, I have accomplished the other two. Arrive home with more teas than I can drink, an empty pocket, and an idiot's orgasmic smile -- whatever that means...


...the interior of this wholesaler is not for a Pu'er newbie!

4 comments:

Tea Drinker said...

Let us know where in Hong Kong to go. I'll be there myself in a couple of weeks so any pointers would be appreciated. When I was there last I really enjoyed going to the tea museum and tea shop in Hong Kong Park. They have a large selection and will make tea at your table and give you an explanation (in Mandarin).

Christopher said...

What a marvelous trip. I’m sure having English-speaking tea vendors is a big plus.

Reading your post caused me to bypass my usual Red Label Orange Peko; a tea whose label promises to cheer my senses and more puzzlingly states, “Warmth of Your Family.”

I reached into the back of the cupboard and found some “Miss Jasmin Lupicia.” The ingredients are Oolong, Green, and Jasmin (not Jasmine), and it comes from Japan. It’s pleasantly fragrant. I like it. But I have no idea how I came by it—magic probably.

Is this a common mixture? If I like this, what else might I go for? And one last question, how caffeinated it is? I don’t want another wide-awake tea night.

samarkand said...

Hi tea drinker, I'll draw up a small list for you later, but top of my list will be Best Teahouse and Sunsing, both in Kowloon and within walking distance from each other...

Hi christopher, are you from Melbourne Australia? I visited a small shop there called Lupicia, run by a Japanese couple...interesting tea they have there...most of their better selling teas are blends, though I suspect some of it include essential oils or flavorings, if you like such tea, and is in Hongkong, pop in at Ying Kee, a chain of teashops located in Kowloon and Hongkong island, they carry some Lok On (Liu An) tea with flavorings from flowers.

Danny

Christopher said...

Danny,

I am a transplanted Brit living in Oakland, California. It's a bit of a hike to follow your suggestion, but I appreciate it.

I think it's time for another cup...