Who would have thought that my love for chwee kueh would lead me to new tea pals?
It all started out when I bumped into an old classmate who had set up a wine business and he told me about a chwee kueh-champagne pairing workshop he was holding at Tiong Bahru market. Now, chwee kueh (which is essentially steamed rice cakes with preserved radish) is my favorite breakfast food, and champagne always makes me giggly, so I thought why not go since this would make me a happy camper? I signed up for the workshop and ended up sitting at a table with a bunch of chatty , just-as-giggly Tiong Bahru residents.We had so much fun trying to “interpret” the different wines and pairings that when I mentioned that I’d seen a video about tea-wine pairing, there was immediately a suggestion put forth to do some sort of tea session in their ‘hood.
SK, the guy who agreed to host this tasting session, said he had a “humble tea collection”, so I was really impressed when I saw the full set of Chinese tea ceremony utensils and all kinds of cute little tea cups set up on the dining table! For the first time, I tried to apply what I’ve been learning at the Time of Tea out of the “classroom”. A little scary but it was fun!
(Thanks DimSumDolly for taking the pictures!)
Here were the teas we sampled:
a) Silver Needle (from Oriental Teahouse, Melbourne) – steamed chestnut, oh this is surprising! notes (there were a few white tea virgins in the group)
b) White Peony (from someone’s fridge) – herbaceous, slightly woody notes
c) Huoshan Large Leaf Yellow Tea (mentioned here) – slightly smoky and leafy-like-this-very-muchie notes
d) Longjing (possibly from Xihu) – ginseng chicken soup notes with bitter aftertaste (think I put too much leaves in this one)
e) Tieguanyin (from SK’s tea collection) – floral and plummy notes
f) Mi Di Raw Pu’erh (a precious sample packet from the lovely people at Hojo Tea) – honeysuckle/apricot notes
g) Dong Ding Oolong (from Taiwan) – nutty and cocoa notes
h) Da Hong Pao (from someone’s fridge) – robust, probably-cannot-sleep-tonight notes
(Sidenote: We were a little naughty and had sips of white wine during the tea tasting session – it was actually quite fascinating how the wine tasted sweeter after the tea!)
Thanks SK! As you can see in the picture, he took over halfway when we got to the stronger teas – I didn’t quite trust my klutzy self with his prized purple clay teapot that you see on the bottom right.