Teochew kung-fu tea demonstration 潮州工夫茶
Photohunt theme : Funny/Work tools
I had a glimpse of our fascinating Teochew culture during a trip to Chaozhou Ancient City (潮州古城).
Teochew kung-fu tea is unique to the Chaoshan area, I was served kung-fu tea in every house or shop I visited. Even my hotel room has a tea set for me to use. :)
I watched a Teochew kung-fu tea demonstration by a master craftsman and was awed by the elaborate steps required to prepare a cup of tea. I noted down the traditional technique of brewing tea including instructions on water type, temperature, infusion and grading of tea leaves.
To ensure the tea in every cup is the same temperature and strength, the tea is not poured one cup at a time. Without pausing, it is poured evenly over the cups in a circular motion. The brewing, serving and drinking of kung-fu tea is a fine art which I would love to learn more.
Notice the setup of a clay stove and kettle. Some older folks in Chaoshan still boil water like this. What's really interesting is the fuel they use for the stove - charcoal made from olive pits!
Inside the olive pits are nuts which carry oil substance that give out a unique light aroma when burnt. The master craftsman invited us to have a whiff of the aroma from the olive coal.
The shop sells a variety of tea leaves and basic sets of tea ware for those who want to enjoy a good brew. I already own a tea set and lots of good-grade tea leaves at home so I didn't buy any.
Teochew Hand-pulled teapot 潮州手拉壶
Next we visited a small factory to see the production of Teochew "shou-la" teapot..... i.e. hand pull method on spinning wheel.
Some members bought hand-pulled teapots which were made by a master craftsman and also come with certificates. A hand-pulled small teapot costs RMB 1250 while a medium one costs RMB 8000+.
Teochew Hand Hammered beef balls 手捶牛肉丸
One amusing scene that early morning was this hawker who was hammering away at the beef on a huge chopping board. From afar, I thought he was hitting a drum. I was thinking to myself : How funny! His drum didn't produce a sound.
When I saw what he was doing, I couldn't help laughing out loud. He offered a brief introduction without stopping what he was doing.
Hand hammered beef balls are the most common and popular of Teochew snacks. Beef mixed with some tendon is turned into a meat paste as he hammered the mixture using a pair of special wooden round sticks that resemble drumsticks.
The meat paste is then shaped into beef balls and cooked in beef bone soup. I didn't get to taste these beef balls as we were being herded to our next destination .... the downside of a guided group tour. :P