Tag Archives: tea

An afternoon in Dadaocheng: tea, traditional pastry, and a taste of Old Taipei

To travel, or not to travel, that is the question. In face of the pandemic, my answer to that question is unlikely. The inability to travel got me reminiscent of my most recent oversea trip: a two-week vacation to Taiwan back in December 2019. And as I oscillate between feeling happy (oh, it was so much fun!) and regret (if I had known COVID-19 was going to happen, I would have…), I want to take the opportunity to share one of my favorite spots in Taipei.

Dadaocheng and its Port City glory

Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is a modern metropolis with its share of skyscrapers, restaurants, and department stores. But there is a neighborhood that takes you back to another era in time. It is Dadaocheng (大稻埕). To Tai-bei-ren (Taipei people), the neighborhood is best known for its main avenue: Dihua Street (迪化街). It is the premier spot to buy dried delicacies that range from scallops to mushrooms to spices. If you were to come the weeks preceding Chinese New Year, you will find the street packed with people stocking up traditional Chinese foodstuffs for Lunar New Year’s feasts.

There is, however, more to Dadaocheng then Dihua Street. The origin of the name Dadocheng pays tribute to its agricultural origin—”Dao” (稻) means rice grains and “Dacheng” are machines used to dry rice. The village then became a small city at the end of the 18th century due to the opening of Danshui Port (淡水港) and soon became famous for exporting tea. Today, the place hints of its former port city day glory, presenting a unique blend of old and new, East and West. You will find a delightful collection of historic buildings, tea shops, clothing shops, Chinese herbal medicine shops and local food stalls all easily accessible by walking.

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Dadaocheng and its unique mix of old and new, East and West.

FYI #1, Taiwan has done an amazing job managing COVID. Despite its proximity to China, Taiwan has kept its total case count to under 500. The worldwide total case count is 28.8 million as of today.

FYI #2, the best way to get to Dadaocheng is by taking the Taipei Metro and getting off at one of these three stops: (1) Shuanglian (雙連) Station/Red Tamsui-Xinyi Line, (2) Beimen (北門) Station/Green Songshan-Xindian Line, or (3) Daqiaotou (大橋頭) Station/Yellow Zhonghe-Xinlu Line.

Here are some of my favorite shops (pastries and tea only for this post), curated by Yours Truly! Continue reading

Discover the Art of Tea Pairing at Tea Time

Tea drinking is an integral part of Chinese culture. A Chinese saying names tea as one of the seven basic daily necessities, elevating tea to be among other important staples like firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce, and vinegar. During the mid-Tang Dynasty (780 A.D.), a scholar named Lu Yu published Cha Ching or The Tea Classic. Having spent over twenty years studying the subject, Lu records his knowledge of planting, processing, tasting, and brewing tea. The monumental work, which fastidiously documents the history, place of origin, color, taste and benefits of each tea, is an unparalleled tea encyclopedia.

In comparison, tea plays a less prominent role in American society. Yet, tea-drinking offers a plethora of benefits such as fewer signs of aging and a decrease in cholesterol and blood pressure.  Thirsting for a cup of tea? Go no farther than Tea Time (downtown Palo Alto).

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The small, quaint tea room is great for tea lovers and ideal for the subtle affair of appreciating a variety of teas and their distinctive characteristics. I come here for an introductory tea pairing course. It’s like wine pairing, different types of tea pair well with different foods. The key is to match the flavor profile of a particular tea to its complementary food flavor(s). Join me and sample your way through six courses of tea and food combinations (click HERE for the tasting menu).

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Hipster Beijing: Top 4 Trendy Things To Do, from 798 Art District to Dining with Mao

Beijing and Shanghai are the top two largest cities in China and also the most recognized. But unlike Shanghai, which features stunning glass skyscrapers and glimmers metropolitan glamour, Beijing seems saturated with history, whispering stories of its bygone days. Wandering and getting lost in narrow hutongs (streets/alleys), one cannot help but romanticize that China’s capital city is like the faded pages of an old book or pictures edited with a vintage yellow-tone filter.

It seems. But in reality, the city is a booming metropolis that is constantly changing and evolving. Here are some of my personal artsy picks (or dare I say 文青 a.k.a. Hipster?). Read and find out how you can also enjoy mod Beijing, très hip!

Red lanterns, Chinese guardian lions—are you thinking this is Old China? Well, sort of. This is a restaurant/IG othatsherry, taken 2014.

Red lanterns, Chinese guardian lions—are you thinking this is Old China? Well, sort of. This is a restaurant/IG othatsherry, taken 2012.

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