Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tour 1 part 4: lunch and tea

We had lovely lunch and got a couple of different Chinese food styles
explained to us.

The plain foods, where salty is salty, sweet is sweet, wet and steamy
instead of sticky and fried - that's northern (Shandong) style.
According to lonely planet, you ask for it as "lucai".

Spicy & sour is sichuan (Szechuan for you oldskoolers), western style
- western chinese, that is. "chuancai" is the word for this.

Sweet and salty fusion is southern style - Cantonese; "yuecai".

There was also an "imperial style" reserved only for the court, but I
didn't catch the traits of it. We finished off a batch of jiaozi
(gyoza, to the Nippon inclined) - I'm thinking that might have been
eastern (shanghai) style but wouldn't know how to pick it.

I can probably distunguish between groups of Chinese food types on ymy
own, but it's nice having a guide talk me through it and explain the

We went on a cloisonné tour after lunch. I don't like cloisonné so I
cbf talking much about it. Suffice to say, it takes a shitload of
concentration and patience and eyestrain to complete just one piece.

Quite amazing, probably wouldn't buy any for myself tho, except for
these lovely chopsticks that I didn't get cos the shopgirl wouldn't
give me a discount. ;)

Went to a teahouse after and were stepped through the 4 popular types
of tea in china - jasmine green, oolong, puerh and lychee.

Jasmine is flowery and good for the eyes. Oolong is earthy with a
sweet aftertaste, and should be smelled first, the colour enjoyed
second and finally slurped noisily for maximum enjoyment; it is good
for blood circulation.

Puerh is herby, grassy, not really drunk for taste but for it's
cholesterol & blood pressure lowering properties, and for weight loss.
Lychee black tea is fruity and is good for digestion.

We also learned how to hold a teacup; thumb and forefinger holding the
rim, rude finger across the bottom supporting the cup from below.
Women extend their last two fingers to indicate beauty and grace, men
hold fingers in to symbolize power held in one's hand.

I bought things - tea as a gift, and cool bits and pieces to take
home. I think I paid too much :( oh well.

All in all, a lovely day. Have booked a tour for Thursday to catch
other tourist traps and my motherland culture. :) more photos will be
up on flickr when i get home.

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