You can sip pots of pu’er brought back by chef Chen Tao from his home near Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, and it goes best with cha xiang xia tudou (26RMB), a dish of golden potato rounds stir-fried with chilli, garlic, and pu’er leaves. Helpfully, the restaurant has recently added an English menu.
This dining room has long been celebrated for its innovative use of flower teas, herbal blends and traditional Chinese medicine in its ‘T Blends’. The menu has a range of tea-scented cocktails, and savouries including Beijing duck roasted with jasmine tea (126RMB), roasted lamb with oolong (168RMB) and more.
The delights of tea cuisine at this restaurant never seem to end, with jasmine buds in vinegar (22RMB) or a fried shrimp with mint and pu’er tea sauce (52RMB) just some of the treats on offer. owner Jeff Gao is there to welcome you into the folksy surrounds and make you feel a little bit like you’re in Yunnan.
Hangzhou cuisine is famous for many reasons, not least its Longjing tea. For 288RMB, Xu Xian Lou will serve you up a bamboo tea tray of tiny pinky-nail-sized fresh water shrimp, painstakingly peeled by hand and cooked in Longjing tea. The tea flavour isn’t necessarily strong but the beauty of this dish is in its subtlety.
The steakhouse at the Fairmont has a menu that includes some Eastern specialities. Mixologist Anthony Evangelista shakes up a mean ‘Jasmine Pearl Martini’ (90RMB), a cocktail made with his own jasmine tea-infused vodka, while pastry chef William Tan oven-poaches a custard made with pu’er and combines this with the flavours of green apple and maple caramel with coriander seeds (68RMB).
Where can you learn more about the leafy stuff in the capital?
Mark Thirlwall of events space The Hutong brings his love of cha to the masses through a range of tea-themed tours, workshops and tastings.
Tea trader Charlene Wang has recently opened a small seasonal tea showroom, viewable by appointment only in Fangjia Hutong. Tranquil Tuesdays has teaware that can be beautifully packaged as gifts along with tea in attractive tins.