MAN CHA TEAS

Purveyor of Premium Chinese Tea and education provider to children in need.


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Lan Fong Yuen, Tst

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On the weekend I managed to squeeze in a late lunch at Lan Fong Yuen. Being a seasoned Hong Konger I thought going at 3pm will avoid the peak lunchtime craziness. How wrong was I! Unfortunately I’m not that seasoned and Hong Kong is constantly in peak time craziness!
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Anyway waiting until 3pm I was absolutely starving and gasping for their “lai cha” or milk tea.

Lai cha literally means milk tea but it can also represent how the tea is made. “Lai” can mean to pull in Cantonese which describes the way the tea is pulled through the filters and sieves. Sometimes it is pulled through 7 times to get the full flavour from the tea.
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Each shop has their own way and blend to make their own signature lai cha. Usually a blend of Ceylon tea and sometimes even Chinese Pu’er is used in the blend. Then boiling water is pulled through the tea and filters several times.

Rumour has it that some very old shops still use lady’s tights as the filter. Maybe this is continued from the colonial post and the war when filters were in shortage. I know that in Britain that was the case during WW2.

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What I really like about this place is the “local-ness” in menu and atmosphere. Although this is not the original shop and not as old as it looks, it does feel genuinely aged. What I also like are their signature items. Obviously the hot milk tea is smooth, with deep dark tea taste topped with a creamy condensed milk finish.

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But seriously, their cold milk tea is really good too. I get really annoyed whenever I order cold milk tea and I don’t drink it instantly the ice cubes melt and dilutes the tea.  Grrrr..I want a cold milk tea not a cup of watery milk!

However at Lan Fong Yuen some genius invented the frozen milk tea ice cube! When this ice cubes melts it just oozes more coldness and keeps its tea concentration.

I highly recommend coming here for a cuppa and a condensed milk bun to help relieve yourself from that late afternoon slump.

Be warned..there are a lot of local treats here you might overeat!

Mr.Man

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Tea in the Walled City

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This is the entrance to the Kowloon Walled City. I have heard and read briefly about this place. I heard that during the 1950’s it was neither governed by the Chinese nor the British and so became a lawless haven for triads, brothels and opium dens. Armed with only a bottle of water, I was ready for action.

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Thankfully since the 1990’s much has changed, so there was no need to defend myself with spraying my assailants with tepid water. Infact with huge government backing, residents were re-housed and a serene garden modelled on the Jiangnan gardens of the early Qing Dynasty was built.

Actually, the real reason I came to the park was to sample some of the tea served in the park. For the next 2 months there will be 4 tea stations situated around the park every saturday. All the tea served is either funded by tea enthusiasts or tea shops and the water supplied by the district council. I was told that sometimes very old and exceptional tea was donated. Anyone is allowed to sit on one of the stools and sample as much tea as they want…free of charge!

What a great example of tea giving back to the community. Excellent!

IMG_20130523_172921Here a lady is making some red tea. It was the 4-5th brew and so the best flavour had already been extracted. Still it was interesting to see her brewing technique and chat to some Australian tourists.

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Next it was some green tea, Longjing or Dragon’s Well. Again we arrived too late and all the flavour of this delicate tea had been drunk already. Shame but again its so nice to witness respect amongst strangers. Everytime anyone new who came to the pagoda people shifted around or offered their seat. Its just lovely to see people enjoying and sharing their tea experience courteously.

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Next it was Taiwanese Wu-long (Oolong) tea. This was the best tasting so far, but I might be biased as its one of my favourites. I love the hint of grass and velvety taste. Plus the smell is amazingly divine.

The way this lady made the tea was so elegant and fluid. Not one drop was spilt and the steeping was timed to perfection. I have much to learn in the elegance of making tea.

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Finally it was the Puer tea station supervised by secondary students. I feel that I’m a student to tea appreciation but these are real students who are learning to appreciate tea. They were so polite and respectful. Great to see and imagine how refined their judgement of the will be by the time they get to my ripe age! Its encouraging to see tea and education merging positively.

All in all a fantastic tea day, a real eye opener and its great to be able to appreciate tea in such serene settings. A must visit for any tea enthusiast.

Mr.Man