I started my day early with a breakfast at Lin Heung Lau in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. One of the old style Hong Kong “Teahouses”, it’s a place where you go very early in the morning, sit there for a few hours while reading the paper, order a few dim sums and eating them at a leisurely pace (very very slow — you do not order a whole bunch and chow them down and head out. That’s not the point). You meet people you know and talk to them. You chat with the waiters. You enjoy the tea while you’re there.
This is our remnants (the steamers were taken away by the time I took the picture). Yes, the things on the dish are remains of what were chicken feet. The tea is wet stored puerh. The other people at the table we do not know, but some of the met up with each other, evidently friends of some sort, and were chatting, but they didn’t come together and it was obvious that they didn’t plan on meeting at the place. It’s really a neighbourhood place where people just go and meet others who they know anyway. We saw lots of “Gong Hey Fat Choy” greetings from various people to one another. It was very interesting to go today, and I think I will go again, although I might bring my own tea next time. By the way, the little card on the table says “Table reserved for staff meal — 10:45am”
(Not tea related, but interesting nonetheless) Then after lunch, in a mall, there were teams of lion-dancing people who came to the mall to perform. There’s a website that explains all this in more detail than I should post here, and you can look at it here. There are links at the bottom of the page (don’t ask me about the website’s design) that will lead to more information on this subject. You can, of course, also read the wikipedia article here.
I did take a video of the dancing being performed. Basically, stores put up a bundle of vegetables and a red envelope (with money inside) and hang it somewhere from their door. The lion will stop at every door where such a bundle is hanged, and will do more or less the following in the video that I took:
This wasn’t a particularly energetic version of a lion dance, but it serves the purpose of showing you sort of what you can see. It’s better live, and it’s also better if there are two lions (or even more). This is in the Southern Lion style (explained in more detail in the website I linked to). Quite an unexpected surprise and I spent some time watching them before moving on.
Moving on to tea tasting with K, a friend I met last time when I was in Hong Kong. He had some Zhongcha brand Traditional Character cake, and he wanted to compare it to the samples I had (from YP)… and we did.
YP left, K right
The verdict is that YP’s is a little better in terms of aroma…. and K’s is slightly smoother. His was probably a little wetter stored, while YP’s was probably stored a little better. They were both quite good, and very, very nice to drink. It just goes down so smooth and sweet. The difference, if drunk separately, wouldn’t be very obvious. His was also compressed a little more (mine has been separated into pieces through traveling). I think it made somewhat of a difference. The colour of the liquor, however, is quite different, and the difference stayed throughout. The darker didn’t necessarily mean it was more flavourful, however. It was just darker. It was really interesting to see how the colour was so different yet the taste was not.
We also had some other stuff, but relatively unremarkable. There was some 15 years old liu an… barely drinkable. I don’t know if I should buy any liu an given the long aging you need before the tea is anywhere near good.