This is lovely.
Another weekend, another destination. This week: Hangzhou. Arriving into Hanzhou, bucketing with rain, prospects for a memorable weekend were not looking optimistic. However, it was on this misty, drizzly weekend that I had one of my most memorable moments so far. We went to check out the tea fields at Longjing, the famous Chinese green tea. Pouring with rain, it was not a popular tourist desitination on this particular day, therefore, we had the place pretty much to ourselves. Meandering around the cute tea town, we started conversation with some old Chinese ladies on their way up to the tea fields for another day at work. Amazingly, they agreed to take us up to where they work, an area usually not open to tourists. We ascended up the slippery steps and reached the peak, where only straw hats dotted the luscious green carpet of tea bushes. These incredibly kind and gentle ladies showed us how to pick tea, giving us an insight into their daily lives. The bottom photo shows the lady erupting into giggles as we try to explain the concept of ‘selfies’. She seems entertained by the result
A Winter Night
寒夜客來茶當酒 竹爐湯沸火初紅 尋常一樣窗前月 才有梅花便不同 A cold night, I serve tea to my guest instead of wine. Water boils on a bamboo stove and the fire brightens to red. The moon shines as usual through my window, And it is only the plum blossoms that make the scene different.
This looks just like the set of a Won Kar-Wai movie.
Admittedly, Hong Kong people are rather nolstagic. With a culture thriving on its ability to adapt and its entrepreneurial spirit, change is an expected element in people’s way of life. But how do you define a sense of place, when older buildings and established neighborhoods are continually demolished to make way for their taller, shinier counterparts, when people are always seeking out the next big trends, and when revitalization projects are just starting to gain importance?
Meet Mido Cafe. Located near Temple Street in Yau Ma Tei, it is one of those rare places in Hong Kong that has preserved its 1950’s/60’s interior. In a cha chan teng, a restaurant serving westernized Hong Kong food like baked pork chop dishes and macaroni soup that came about during the thriving colonial times of that era, the food is more nolstalgic than good. But if you grew up in Hong Kong, sometimes all it takes is a glass of lemon iced tea and an egg sandwich to take you right down memory lane, and Mido Cafe did just that and more.
P.S. Check out this Starbucks in Central, a collaboration between Starbucks and the store G.O.D. that was inspired by places like Mido Cafe. When there is not much of the old to hang on to, the new, made to look like the old, does have a place in Hong Kong.
A beautiful collection of clay pots.
Yixing clay is a type of clay from the region near the city of Yixing in Jiangsu province, China. Its use dates back to the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279). From the 17th century on, the Yixing wares were commonly exported to Europe. The finished stoneware, which is used for teaware and other small items, are usually red or brown in color. They are known as Zisha ware, and are typically unglazed.
The term “yixing clay” is often used as an umbrella term to describe several distinct types of clay used to make stoneware:
Zisha or Zi Ni (紫砂 or 紫泥 ; literally, “purple sand/clay”): this stoneware has a purple-red-brown color.
Zhusha or Zhu Ni (朱砂 or 朱泥; literally, “cinnabar sand/clay”): reddish brown stoneware with a very high iron content. The name only refers to the sometimes bright red hue of cinnabar. There are currently 10 mines still producing Zhu Ni. However, due to the increasing demand for Yixing stoneware, Zhu Ni is now in very limited quantities. Zhu Ni clay is not to be confused with Hong Ni (红泥, literally, “red clay”).
Duan Ni (鍛泥; literally, “fortified clay”): stoneware that was formulated using various stones and minerals in addition to Zi Ni or Zhu Ni clay. This results in various textures and colors, ranging from beige, blue, and green (绿泥), to black.
Yixing teawares are prized because their unglazed surfaces absorb traces of the beverage, creating a more complex flavor. For these reasons, yixing teawares should never be washed using detergents, but rather with water only, and connoisseurs recommend using each tea vessel for one kind of tea (white, green, oolong, or black) or sometimes even one variety of tea only.
Picture credits: 台湾 玉凡轩
Lovely photos on a Shanghai teahouse. The video is fabulous — watch it at: Stopping Time in a Hidden Teahouse in Shanghai.