Archive for December 12th, 2011

Tea and …?

What would accompany something so epic as Da Hong Pao tea (see previous post)? We didn’t know. Actually, we didn’t know the significance of the tea until later, otherwise we might have been too intimidated to drink it (sometimes ignorance is bliss). Since caffeine sometimes affects our sleeping schedule, we didn’t want to try it later in the day, so we had it for Sunday breakfast, with muffins.

Almond Muffin

From Chocolates by Padovani (Dole Cannery, 650 Iwilei Road, Suite 280, Honolulu Hawaii). This is becoming one of The Cat’s favorite muffins. It’s full of whole almonds, not chopped, whole. Did you know The Cat likes nuts?

Bran Muffin

From Liliha Bakery (515 North Kuakini Street, Honolulu, Hawaii). This is one of my favorite bran muffins. It’s not too big (it’s the size of a cupcake), so I don’t get bored or overwhelmed eating one. Also, the muffin doesn’t fall apart when I bite into it (it holds its structure).

Coco Puff

There was also one lonely Coco Puff leftover from the other night. It’s lonely no more. 🙂

The pastries and tea cooperated well together. Can’t wait to try more things with the tea. Stay tuned.


The Mouse

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The only word I know how to describe this phenomena is omiyage. My inadequate description is the giving of traveling gifts. The situation is more than just picking up a few souvenirs to take back home for others. When we travel  to other places, or when other people visit us, the gifts are piled on. At times, when we travel, especially to China, 25 to 40 percent of our luggage is “omiyage“. It doesn’t get any better on our return. People give us gifts to stuff into our luggage. Between our own purchases and the gifts people give us, it’s some times a nightmare. Not that I’m complaining. Some of the gifts are really pretty good.

When we travel, we haul mac nuts, mac nut candy, and coffee. In return we are given tea (I’m talking about China). Not just any kind of tea, usually pretty expensive stuff that is hard to find or non-existent outside of China.

We’re not tea connsisseurs by any stretch of the imagination. The Cat did not have the exposure to many teas while she was in China, and The Mouse grew up with tea bags (“oh the horror”).

Recently, a friend came over to visit and gave us a box of “Da Hong Pao”tea. The literal translation is “Big Red Robe“. Why? I dunno.

Da Hong Pao Tea

I looked the tea up:

According to legend, the mother of a Ming Dynasty emperor was cured of an illness by a certain tea, and that emperor sent great red robes to clothe the four bushes from which that tea originated. Three of these original bushes, growing on a rock on Mount Wuyi and reportedly dates back to the Song Dynasty, still survive today and are highly venerated. [Excerpt taken from Wikipedia]

Wuyi is in the Fujian Province in China. The Wikipedia article mentions Da Hong Pao tea is a oolong tea usually reserved for honored guests. So in the box of tea we received, there are four large tins, in each tin there are five or six foil packs of tea leaves. This must have cost our friend a small fortune.

Since most teas have a limited shelf life, I brewed a small cup the other day.

Da Hong Pao Tea

Very smooth and easy to drink. We don’t know what to do with these friends. They always try to give us things they know we can’t get here. But not only that, they tend to spend more than we can return. I don’t think they expect an equal return. Sometimes it’s best to just bow respectfully and say thank you (Mandarin: xie xie).

All we have are inexpensive tea cups bought in Chinatown. I think I’ll start looking for little better tea cups more appropriate for the tea we’re drinking. Wish me luck.


The Mouse

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