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Everything posted by jokhm

  1. jokhm

    New Tea

    Sounds nice.. Yes, it can be complex.. but I encourage people to look past that which seems overly inundated with complexities and snobbery. You drink tea because it tastes and feels good. I look at gongfu brewing as a way to enjoy the character of many teas in their best form. When you have a truly amazing tea, it is best to taste it in a way that assures you that you are getting the best of it. As for teas like baihao silver needle, the one you mentioned, I would say you don't really have to rinse it, since it is such a light tea. Also a tea like that one is brewed to appeal to many senses. Very light flavour, and very beautiful and interesting sight to behold - so I always use a 5-6 inch glass when making it. And OD'ing on tea... you definitely can. I find too much Tieguanyin has weird effects on me, but its worth it! Also a lot of green tea can sometimes make your head spin. I can drink unlimited amounts of wuyi oolongs and pu'ers though; so who knows how it works.
  2. jokhm

    New Tea

    I would say that MOST quality oolongs will bring out their best flavour in the second or third infusion. I also find that pu'er teas show a more balanced taste the second time around. As for gongfu brewing.. this is quite a loose term. I've broken down a step by step process on my site here: goldenteahouse Tea steeping I should revise it, simply because it makes gongfu brewing sound like an extremely elaborate process. For instance, the cups used to smell the tea fragrance are rarely used day to day. Gongfu style brewing can best be described as a way of making tea with more leaves than usual, and a smaller amount of water than usual. What this does is turn the process of tea steeping into more of a skill than it would be if you just threw in a teabag, or a spoonful of tea leaves. By concentrating the process with more leaves and less water, you also have to use a lot less time! The skill ends up coming from knowing how hot the water should be, how delicately the water must be poured in, and how long to steep the leaves for. Someone experienced in this can yield great tea with each infusion until the leaves are no longer worth making new tea from. As for suggestions... Experiment! You can let me know what tea you have exactly and I'll see what I think is my prefered way of making it. joel
  3. Ah great. So you think I can easily find what I'm looking for CK mansions? Great. I've walked by a million times and because I don't have a clear idea on which restaurant to trust exactly I just continue walking! So now you mention Khyber Pass... Excellent. I can't wait. Veda looks amazing.. but I'll have to inquire on my co-workers budget. I'm pretty sure it can be fit in.. He's also a bit too easily anxious to walk into places he probably shouldn't be in. He had police trail him in Guangzhou once because of his choice of solitary-night-walk path. Thanks again, and I'll let you knowo how it is. Finally good Indian food without the flight back to Canada..
  4. Sequim mentioned a dislike for the black bean sauce purchased.. Can I add.. please please try this one!! It is called Lao Gan Ma's Feng wei dou chi... or 老干马风味豆豉。 It is a bit spicy, but not much and from Guizhou. I use it nearly everywhere...and it is definitely the best one I've ever tried. It is VERY different from the Lee Kum Kee stuff that crowds the aisles.
  5. Title description says it all. I'll be coming to Guangzhou and then on to HK for a total of 10 days. The GZ trip is all taken care of and a big group of Hunanese are going to show me food until I drop. HK however, is another story, as I will touring the Toy fair by day and eating with my vegetarian-Canadian co-worker by night. I'm sure there are great vegetarian chinese food places, but I am not terribly interested in that.. Still want to know if you have seen or been to great ones though. My focus is on getting a good Indian food fix while I'm in town, simply because it breaks my wallet in Beijing and Shanghai, and it isn't always that great either. Every time I'm in HK I have the urge to eat indian food everywhere, but I never know where specifically to go. I'm the absolute worst with choices and decisions, so I just don't go for indian while I'm there. That, and I'm usually not with vegetarians, so I want as much of the best HK food as possible!!! making sense? mmm
  6. Pu'er tea smelling... as a farm.. hah. I've never heard that one before. Definitely it is an acquired taste. Keep in mind that there are two major sub groups of pu'er, the cooked one is dark and coffee-looking, and 'raw' one is clear and green-yellow. The tastes are completely different. You have to be a lot more picky of 'raw' ones, and most floating around the market aren't of great quality. They also mature much later (10-20 years)..
  7. I'm not going pump up my own site here.. (though i should do an eGullet-only special of some sort, no?)... But i'll happily continue the discussion of which teas to drink... I mostly handle Wuyi mountain oolongs and Anxi oolongs, but obviously also the typical green/white and scented favorites.. And I find people in north American are still pretty much in the dark as far as the variety of teas goes. Jasmine is indeed great, and where I am, people drink it a lot more than in the south of China. But there is some seriously good stuff out there for those of you wanting to experience something truly amazing. Think of jasmine tea as just the beginning. Anyway, I really recommend for anyone wanting to know.. please visit a good Chinese tea shop and do not be afraid to sit down and try a bunch of different teas! The problem with online shops (mine included) is that they are not modeled after their Chinese retail brick and mortar teashops. In China it is often expected that before you buy from a group of teas that you have little knowledge of, you can first taste them! So online shops I would say are best for those that know more or less what they want. happy tea drinking Joel
  8. Beer with chinese food? Hmm... about a whole page on a menu of this Guizhou place I frequent is devoted to dishes with beer in them. They are all dry or slightly less than wet hot pots that come partially cooked with raw herbs on top. Really fantastic stuff. And it is also SPICY. Wow. They have an amazing beer cooked sour catfish hotpot.. a whole catfish fresh out of the 'aquarium' in a red hot broth.. and each person gets a small sauce dish that comes only with fresh chopped onions, garlic, ginger and Fu Ru... then you pour in some of the fish broth as it heats up. I better go there now... report back later.
  9. Beer with chinese food? Hmm... about a whole page on a menu of this Guizhou place I frequent is devoted to dishes with beer in them. They are all dry or slightly less than wet hot pots that come partially cooked with raw herbs on top. Really fantastic stuff. And it is also SPICY. Wow. They have an amazing beer cooked sour catfish hotpot.. a whole catfish fresh out of the 'aquarium' in a red hot broth.. and each person gets a small sauce dish that comes only with fresh chopped onions, garlic, ginger and Fu Ru... then you pour in some of the fish broth as it heats up. I better go there now... report back later.
  10. mmm That first one is shuizhuyu.. People seem to be nuts for that in Beijing. For some reason I find it rarely actually HOT. Its definitely Ma. Usually they pull out most chilis just before serving though. mmm. I have a problem with these foods.. If I don't eat something insanely spicy for two days I start suffering withdrawal. It happened a few months ago in HK, and again this week in Shanghai. A Hunan dinner fixed that quick though. Spices are definitely some form of addictive drug. They have a lesser and lesser effect of you the more you eat it. If we go to any 'bland' places my girlfriend often has to find some pickled chilies to eat just to ....'get that feeling back'. Scary - But wonderful. As for eating those dried chilies... I love them when they are in fried or stewed dishes. The big sichuan chilies are less intense and are delicious after stewing in a hotpot long enough. The smaller ones also add a ton of flavor if you eat them with the dish... though I do find that the following day isn't all that pleasant. (!!@$). But its worth it, right?
  11. Em, I'm not exactly sure on the specific details exactly.. but my favorite XLB-lookalikes come from 1) GuanTangBao.. famous muslim place in Xi'An muslim district. Lamb or beef, I know.. but knocked my socks off. Blew away any XLB I ever ate in Shanghai. 2) While eating some HK dimsum we had some slightly thicker skinned and larger (and EXPENSIVE) Crab XLB brought to the table, with a beautiful yellow broth inside. Fantastic. But still.. the GTB.. amazing.
  12. WOW This is awesome. I'm running around Shanghai with 3 days left! Haven't had a decent one yet and not the chance to go to Ding Tai Feng yet. Let me just finish reading it through....
  13. Oh... I just got to Shanghai from HK.. a quick 4 day stint there. It was pure hell.. I can't begin to describe how awful and terrifying my experiences were. I should have checked here first too, but that wouldn't have helped too much. The guy I went with only ate Hamburgers. Seriously. He came to China for 1 month at ate at mcdonalds nearly everyday. Luckily we had the occasional meeting in HK that forced him to take down some noodles. But my three large main meals consisted of fairly decent hamburgers in lankwaifong. I did get to one good cafe/teashop/resto in Kowloon for some pretty good food. I think it was called BiaoGe. Had some great XO vermicelli, a snails coquille st. jacques mixup and some other bits of seafood. Quite excellent for a simple place. Next time... I will take the city by storm.
  14. Yeah, it probably surprises me every time I hear one of these sweeping generalizations dumped upon the people in the next city. Though, Shanghai gets the butt of all dumping from Chinese all over China (imo). A Beijinger here made a mention of how the Cantonese eat anything that has legs, except tables..... and only the day before had I witnessed a large dog being pulled into a beijing restaurant's kitchen. anyhow.. no generalizing here
  15. mmmm I love that stuff. Nothing like sitting down to a huge hot pot full of vertebrae.. then given a second pot of bones and some straws to suck out the marrow. I think the typical fancy muslim Beijing meal is a vegetarians version of hell. More for me I guess.
  16. Almost forgot the Chais... I'd love to show some good ones to the tea people here in China that I work with. .. except I can't find some of the right spices to make it (in Beijing). Particularly green cardamom pods. I love those things. I remember a thread about Chai blends in the India forum.. must find it now. Anyway, I'd bet a lot of purists here would keel over when smelling the stuff.. but I'd bet that some would appreciate it. I'm totally nuts about Chai. I usually (back in Montreal) throw some cardamom, cloves, fennel seeds, a peppercorn or two and a cinammon stick into a mortar and give it one smash, then boil with a mix of 1:1 water and milk.. then add black tea for another minute or so. mmm Joel
  17. Its true.. from many people's perspectives when you begin listing all different teas mixed with other flavoring ingredients they make a sour face. I work with a group of tea traders from the Wu Yi Mountain area in Fujian province... and I must say that their minds are quite closed to all that which is not pure 100% fine quality tea. Ba Bao Cha or 8 treasure tea (direct translation) is a very popular chinese mix of ingredients and tea (usually with tea at least) --- and if I am in the company of my Fujian friends, I dare not mention it! I like to think I am more open to some of the different blends out there.. some can definitely be delicious. I don't currently handle any though I plan to. I'm sampling a reaaaallly fantastic Dian Hong Yunnan black tea infused with roses and Chinese dates at the moment. It IS delicious, even if the hardcore Ming/Qing era purists turn their noses at it. Anyway, besides tea trading from China, I do have some which are selling online.. though I'm a reasonably active member here so I will refrain from pushing any of the addresses to these sites... The one in the signature is enough. I have a few favorites that I'd love to mention here. I'm incredibly nuts about certain Long Jing teas, especially one specific Ming Qian West Lake Long Jing (Dragon Well)... one which is too expensive for my online partners to sell as of yet !!, but if you can find any, I promise it is delicious. I might convince them to change their tune in the next few weeks before supplies totally run out. Besides that... I regularly drink An Ji Bai Cha; Anji White it can be called. I'm not clear on whether there are any other english equivalents. Anyhow, don't let the idea of 'white tea' get in the way or make you think this tea is another species. A lot of good white teas share a very similar flavour with greens. This one in particular is a bit lighter, holds the flavour far longer than average and also has a twinge of honey aftertaste; but perhaps that's just me! Another big one that I like to share is Tie Luo Han, one of the big top 4 Oolong teas from Wu Yi mountain. The one I have has many similarities with Da Hong Pao (king of wu yi mountain oolongs).. so much so that I know of a few small buyers from me that resell it as Da Hong Pao!! I'm trying to correct that now. Anyway, I can't push this tea enough, it is supremely delicious. I would recommend any of the Wu Yi teas especially to people accustomed only to black teas... anyone who wants to try something new without going as far as completely changing the nature of the drink. Wu Yi teas are very dark, roasted oolongs.. they share many characteristics from one another and are sometimes quite difficult to tell apart. OK enough.. I can go on for a long long time.. haven't even started with Tie Guan Yin. Let me know if you want any direct links to the exact teas I'm talking about. (I mean precisely the one sitting in front of me now! ) Joel
  18. Got directed here from another thread and thought I should add some amount of strange experiences to backup the idea of pushing two unique fine items together that usually stand on their own. I'm kinda partial to drinking good and strong green tea with good milk chocolate. Only problem is that such quality of milk chocolate is hard to come by here.. or at least rather expensive. My tea preference for this is biluochun (pilochun etc). I don't know why this one in particular, but it just works. Haven't had much dark chocolate to test others with. On a different note, I have a Tie Luo Han Oolong from Wuyi mountain here that shares a lot of flavour characteristics with chocolate. Maybe it is just me though. Also, regarding the Chai... Never tried it with chocolate. My drinking preference for Chai is unsweetened IF I am drinking while eating indian desserts. I suppose I would try the same with chocolate.
  19. Oh.. forgot about chocolate. I'll have to check out that thread you mentioned. I think good Biluochun goes great with chocolate.. Any really good green tea would likely do it. But the last time I had good chocolate (expensive where I am) I happened to have it with that specific tea and the experience is stuck in memory. mmm
  20. This topic is always a big one for me, since I am usually drinking some form of tea.. and I generally have quite a few on hand at home. I haven't yet got into greater detail of what should go where and with what exactly.. But I do like choosing the teas carefully along some basic guidelines that take into account whether its a heavy or light tasting meal and whether the tea is light or rich as well. Also important is whether you drink the tea before, during or after the meal. A subtle and fine Long Jing, like mingqian (pre-qing ming) Long Jing also known as dragon well (Ming Qian Long Jing product page) really doesn't cut it for me if I am drinking it after or during a heavier meal. With some sweet snacks it is perfect, or before eating it is great as well. I generally am an Oolong fan, particularly Wu Yi mountain ones like Tie Luo Han. I really love that stuff and I think it is subtle, yet strong enough to complement good foods as well. Usually I'll drink Rou Gui (cassia bark) oolong since is shares similar characteristics with Tie Luo Han and is MUCH cheaper. Maybe someone can go into greater detail on actual specific food pairing advice... Joel
  21. jokhm

    Lapsang Souchong

    Hmm.. I do sell Lapsang Souchong, but whenever I've had to go through some sampling sessions I always partially gag! It is funny though. When I first settled here in Beijing I had to really push people in the tea business to produce some. No one had anything to do with LS. I suppose this has a lot to do with all the different preferences common in each area of China. Some places prefer very specific tastes. Here in the north it happens to be flower teas; also not quite my thing although they have their place and time. Anyhow.. perhaps the smokiness puts several other smoked meat images in my mind.. and distracts from the tea. Maybe I'm just addicted to too many other oolongs at the moment. I'll wait for it to wear off and then try some LS again. Joel
  22. jokhm

    Gunpowder Teas

    As for storing your tea.. the container you have is pretty standard where I am in Beijing. BUT, our weather is incredibly dry and our consumption rate quite rapid, so a loosely sealed tea isn't too much of a concern. If you think your home is relatively dry and expect to go through your tea within a half a year then I would say not to think too much about how to store it. One thing that is easy to check out with jasmine teas is whether the fragrance easily leaks out of the container. If it does quite a bit, change container or drink the tea faster! Sorry, possibly went into too much detail. Anyhow, enjoy. Joel
  23. The only one constant I know about is that the great majority of Chinese people I run into outside of Shanghai or Hangzhou, think that the Shanghai food is the worst in the country. But this is entirely off topic. Anyhow, I'll take the added sugar any day. Interesting to note that the super-sweet cuisine of this region appears to still allow for far skinnier people than here in Beijing. I think that the previous posts on diet and increasing fat should take a closer look at the already inherent differences in northern cuisines vs. the south. Quite interesting to me at least.
  24. mmm I remember trying one in HK that wasn't quite thaaat big but far bigger than those I've eaten in Shanghai, and it was filled with yellow soup and crab meat. I don't remember the specifics but someone said that it was the season for these (august) and they cost about 28HKD each!^#@ That brings me to a second thought which maybe i should be including in a new thread altogether. Can anyone describe the intended differences between xiaolongbao and guantangbaozi? Are the GTBs often bigger (mine were definitely a bit larger than normal XLB, and filled with lamb rather than pork or seafood. But are there any other real differences. When i mentioned them in Xi An many people didn't know what XLBs were and some just said they are the same but eaten differently. Perhaps someone here knows more? Either way I could live on both of them... and that's it.
  25. I personally believe the secret fat ingredient present in american diets is the soft drink. People drink so much of it in some places that it shocks me to see people doubling the caloric content of their meal in 20 seconds of coke chugging. So in China, if you begin to pair the diet change with an eventual obsession with sugar drinks, ayaa... The whole no rice thing that you mentioned is definitely a strange trend.. and i see it all the time. In Beijing most people try to avoid the starches in favor of more meat capacity.
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