Thursday, June 16, 2005

Tea Time

With Lou's new love of Dim Sum and a late start to our day, we decided to have brunch at Luk Yu Tea House. It's an old style tea house in Lan Kwai Fong, a district on Hong Kong Island. With Chinese green tea, we chose from pictures what turned out to be steamed BBQ pork buns, shrimp balls, and beef with Chinese broccoli. Thank god they had pictures because there was no English at this venue. Only large lists of Chinese characters with a pencil to scribe your choices and display them for the dim sum deliverer. After we received our beef with Chinese broccoli and started to shovel it in, I wondered why Chinese restaurants in San Francisco so often use conventional broccoli. The large crisp stalk of the Chinese variety is so much better and there is tons to be had in China town.
As we ate at our center stage table in the middle of this bustling restaurant, we noticed many of the diners around us were washing their utensils with tea. Bowls, tea cups, chopsticks, everything was dipped in a small bowl of tea and swirled around ensuring each bit of surface was cleansed. That's one I hadn't read about before. We suddenly felt uncultured and even unclean in this restaurant where they provide no napkins. When we sat down, we had wondered what the metal bowl was for on the side of our table. Now we knew. Oddly enough, we would never encounter this ritual again in Hong Kong or Shanghai.

After our Chinese tea with Dim Sum, we went to Kowloon and checked out the shopping areas and some of the parks of the peninsula while taking a walking tour out of our Lonely Planet guide. At the end of our walk, we had planned to end up at the Peninsula Hotel where we would enjoy the world famous high tea in the lobby of this glamorous land mark. Our second tea of the day would be an English one, served with milk and complete with crumpets and clotted cream. We had a three tiered tray of delicate treats, all of which were mouthwateringly delicious. It was so fun to sip tea and nibble away at the many flavors stacked before us, we didn't even think to take a picture until the top tier of sweets was all that was left. If you're ever in Hong Kong, do make a point of visiting the Peninsula Hotel for their high tea.

Tea at the Peninsula Hotel Posted by Hello

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