Tea time.

I came home at 11:30pm last night, the latest I’ve stayed out in HK, which results in today’s slump-fest. I really want to stay in today and play Sims. Yeah, I think I’ll do that. But first, an update of course.

Yesterday, I mustered up the courage to eat a fresh bun from Violet’s Cake Shop. I had been eating there all last week up until I got food poisoning. I picked up a blueberry cheese bun:

No regrets there. I paired it with an english breakfast latte from Starbucks, another thing that appears to be native only to HK. It just tasted like mildly sweetened tea with a bit of milk in it. Bleh.

Lunch was exciting. A couple of workmates and I decided to get some bao tzis at a bakery right by work. One co-worker suggested we eat them at a tea room she knew of, so we went up to the 30th floor of the building across from Times Square to a little tea room located next to a nail salon/spa. Every floor of that building appeared to be taken over by a spa.

The amazing view from our table by the window.

Turns out there was no outside food allowed and a $30 HKD minimum per person, so we each ordered a pot of tea. This wasn’t an ordinary tea house either—there was an intricate tea ceremony that must be adhered to while pouring the tea! Aside from our lunch taking way too long (and that we eventually had to stealthily eat our food as the tea employees brought their outside food in to eat their lunch), it was great fun.

We immediately devoured the cookies once we sat down. During the middle of our tea ceremony, we realized it would have been best to have waited until the tea was served to have our cookies. It was at this time when we began to (not so) sneakily eat our baos.

Our little teapots! So cute. Here, the waiter was instructing us in the tea ceremony. He demonstrated the first pot for us.

And so it begins.

Step 1: Pour the boiling water into the serving cup to allow it to cool.

Step 2: Pour the water into the teapot. When starting a new pot of tea, you pour hot water into the pot to clean it first, not to steep it.

Step 3: Pour the water back into the serving cup. (Ok, I see where we want wrong with our tea ceremony. We kept pouring the “cleaning” water into the tray below, causing it to overflow way too quickly.)

Step 4: Pour the cleaning water into each of the tea cups to clean them too.

Step 5: Pour hot water into the serving cup. After the cleaning phase, the rest of the pours will be for drinking.

Step 6: Pour out the water from the cups into the tray.

Step 7: Pour hot water into the pot,

and let it steep for 20 seconds.

Step 8: Strain the tea into the serving cup.

Step 9: Serve!

Now, repeat the process. Each tea has a limit of how many times it can be steeped before it loses its flavor. For osmanthus (pictured above), the limit is three. This is why lunch took so long.

As you can see, we’d forgotten the steps already.

Rose tea, my order. This was my least favorite as it was the least flavorful of the bunch.

Looks can be deceiving.

Jasmine lotus.

Jasmine lotus unraveled.

I don’t remember what this was. White rose for sure, and oolong, maybe?

Being sneaky. Chicken bun on the left, and annihilated cha siu bao to the right.

“So gauche.”

Anddd that concludes tea time. We hurried back to work after that, where I was able to finish my lunch. I ate this at my desk:

I don’t remember what it’s called because I just pointed to its English translation at the bakery (and I don’t remember what that was either), but this appears to be zongzi, at least it resembles/tastes like it, though the square shape confuses me because they’re normally triangular. I felt a bit silly eating it at my desk because the leaf was huge.

After work, Vince and I decided to explore Hong Kong. We headed to Tsim Sha Tsui and walked around the area. We walked through Kowloon Park and saw flamingos! I definitely want to go back in the daytime. There are no pictures of this event because my phone died from taking over 60 pictures of the tea ceremony.

We came across a Shakey’s! I lived right by a Shakey’s back in my suburban days, so this was interesting to see. I haven’t had Shakey’s in a long time and Vince was craving pizza so we dropped in. Turns out Shakey’s is somewhat expensive here and we couldn’t afford it. We headed to North Point instead and were surprised to discover that most of the restaurants were closed and it wasn’t even 10pm yet! We ended up at an “Italian” restaurant which was surprisingly good. I will definitely be going back again with a camera next time.

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3 responses to “Tea time.

  1. Yay! I found your HK blog through Tumblr :)
    Man, I’m so envious of all the delicious looking food you’ve been eating! so amaazinggg!!!
    Ah, Asian tea ceremonies…always ridiculously long and I think unnecessary-_-. But tradition is tradition…
    Looking forward to reading more about your adventures! :)

  2. Oh! P.S. I’ve heard cheese fries at Ireland Potato in Causeway Bay are good. If I ever go to HK, that’s my first stop, hehe.

    • Thanks Sue!! I finally had wonton noodles today and it was so good! My friend was right, any hole-in-the-wall restaurant serves better wonton than anything in the States. And I will definitely give Ireland Potato a try, thanks for the rec! It would be awesome if you could come visit while I’m here!

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