teanamu chaya teahouse wishes you a prosperous, peaceful and meditative new lunar year of the steady horse with a new year painting from a Japanese Tea Master and a haiku.
Mom’s recipe for spring onion oil has shallots, rendered pork lard & spring onions. There’s also a vegetarian recipe for spring onion oil without lard. Just add spring onion oil to ‘thick’ noodles eg egg noodle, udon, soba or spaghetti together with soy sauce, spring onions, rocket, peanuts and chilli oil. Street hawkers in sweltering Changsha sell Liang Fen, aromatic tossed noodle salad. Liang Fen has noodles, coriander, cucumber & mouth-numbing red chilli oil. In Yunnan Liang Fen is a cooling jelly topped with crushed peanuts, fresh fruit, sweet syrup, brown sugar & lime juice.
[Video] Many tea friends who visited chaya teahouse marvel at the size of the tea cups we use to serve tea here and wonder how one holds the cup. Now, these tasting cups are designed to be small so as to slow you down. Despite being small, one can drink quite a lot of tea while whiling the time away with good company at chaya teahouse.
A fabulous evening of Beijing and Kunqu Opera, & an exhibition of the costumes, inspired me to learn about ‘tea garments’. In Chinese opera costume symbolism an embroidered phoenix represents the Empress, peonies mean beauty, waves & clouds mean a character’s important. ‘Clown’ or ‘fool’ characters in Chinese opera get the accompaniment of drums, clapper, gongs & cymbals just for them. The ‘cha yi’ or ‘tea garment’, usually blue, was worn by clowns & innkeepers in Chinese opera, with at least two main designs. In the Water Margin, Lin Chong, head of the Imperial Army, suffered betrayal, exile, a snowstorm, then attempts on his life. Tea garment-wearing characters are usually ugly but amusing; a blob of white paint over their eyes and nose symbolises quick wittedness or else ‘nature’.
A 16th century poem about teas in Fujian written by Zhou LiangGong containing a lively description of changes in Fujian tea attitudes, production and appreciation since the Song Dynasty. The 6th line of the poem can be seen inscribed on an old clay tea stand at chaya teahouse.
Last weekend we celebrated the FIRST ANNIVERSARY of Chaya Teahouse by bringing back the same menu we served when we opened our doors. We take our inspiration from the Japanese ‘ichi go ichi e‘ (一期一会) : ‘Treasure each encounter, for it will not recur!’ We try to create a pleasant calming interlude whose memory our tea friends will treasure.
This is the 3rd blog post from ‘Open Door Seven Items’. Bah chok mee (minced pork noodles) or char kuay tiao (fried flat noodles with sweet soy sauce) are infinitely better with pork lard! My grandma used delicately flavoured caul fat, a membrane from the pig’s abdomen, slowly rendered the oil & kept the crispy sprinklings. The ancient Chinese used soap made from the pig’s pancreas as they knew it secretes enzymes to break down starch & fats. If you’re irritable, with a Yang body, only eat chicken if gently poached with Yin ingredients like tofu or mushrooms. Lamb pieces poached with Chinese angelica root & fresh ginger are very good for keeping winter colds away. Oils like sesame oil are best extracted by crushing: it is the impurity that makes it so aromatic & healthy! The Chinese say, ‘hui jia chi fan’, have a meal at home!