Along the street of Dong Tai Lu in old Shanghai town, among the rows of stalls that sells all sorts of trinkets and imitation goods, you will spot a tiny green flag from afar that reads "TEA".
This shop is famous for it's hospitality of serving good pot of hot tea during the cold season which is not very common in China, the hospitality I mean.
And the good thing is, you don't have to buy it if you don't want it,
they will still serve you a good pot of good old tea anyhow. So if you're cheapstake enough you can always come here and sample some free tea and claim that you have drunk tea in China.
And swear their quality and price by it.
Here you will find many sorts of tea, from the famous Hangzhou staple tea "Long Jing Cha" to the southern favourites "Pu Er Cha" to my personal favourite "Gui Hua Cha", which is part of the Oolong Cha range, you name it, they have it.
The most entertaining tea, and my all time winning souveniers for friends, is the Flower Tea.
What you do is, you boiled a kettle of water, pour into a transparent glass vacuum tube and plop the ball of flower tea into the tube. Like this,
and watch it grow.
It will first sink,
And as you continue to observe, it will start to blossom,
Like a fairy out of a flower bud, it unveils its beauty to the world. Slowly emerging its head and beautiful outline in the water, gracefully and elegantly.
The outcome was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
I present to you, the Flower Tea. Cost at RM15 per box of 8 balls, you can drink this jasmine flavoured tea over and over again and store the flower in the water for a week for pure presentation.
The tea itself is nothing to shout about, but it's a sure way to win the hearts of your guests and a fantastic centre piece for any dinner.
Flower tea, fascinating creation. Good for health too. :D