If you decide to immerse in Chinese folk culture, you will discover that drinking tea is an important part of it. Chinese tea houses not only serve delicious tea – they are venues where people delight in their spare time and present a glimpse at the Chinese tradition. Often they entertain their guests with performances such as opera, comedies, magic tricks, acrobatics and more. That makes the tea houses a special tourist attraction.
So how far are you ready to go for China’s best tea?
These places are highly recommended:
1. Lao She Tea House
It’s a circus of a sort. As motley as a casino, it mixes the modern and the ancient in its interior. It’s a place where a lot of enthusiastic artists present their talents. On a daily basis, you can enjoy opera, folk arts, magic, acrobatics and other incredible performances. Lao She presents a colorful glimpse at Chinese culture. Your palate may delight in a variety of teas, sweet desserts, and traditional snacks. It, is an expensive place and the menu is only in Chinese, and it is worth every bit of your time and money. It has had more than 2 million visitors with a lot of celebrities among them.
2. Sentosa Tea House
Sentosa is a top high-end tea restaurant, with halls and VIP rooms in different styles: Chinese, British, French, American, Scandinavian, German, Southeast Asian and Mediterranean.
It is not the typical Chinese Teahouse, but it provides high-end and unique experience. Here they serve not only Chinese tea, but also specialty tea from other lands and coffee.
There is a Concert Hall on the third floor, full of romance and nostalgia. There national Chinese artists perform golden oldies every night. It’s a place specially designed for the amusement of young couples and gathering of old friends.
3. Liuxianguan Tea House
In one of the oldest streets of Beijing, there is Liuxianguan – a classic Tea House. The name of the shop means lingering virtue. Times Magazine has listed it as one of the most remarkable venues in Asia in 2007. It received USA Vice President Biden and his granddaughter in 2013.
The tea house serves over 40 kinds of tea accompanied by wonderful tea performances. People drink tea, relax and immerse in the traditional culture of China.
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4. Menguitianqiao – Deyunshe Sanlitun Theater
This venue has got an elegant and solemn style, classical decoration, it is large and divided into two floors. The hall can gather more than 500 people, it has got antique tables from mahogany which are full of sweet Beijing snacks. Visitors can delight in tea, chatting and artful comedy dialogues.
5. Mid-lake Pavilion in Shanghai
It’s the oldest and most traditional Tea House in Shanghai – it has been chosen by the choicest (got visited by Queen Elizabeth II and Bill Clinton.) Featuring a spectacular garden and an enchanting view, it was built under the rule of the Qing Dynasty. Here you may have the perfect experience – while sampling wonderful tea, nibbling on delicious, traditional Chinese snacks. There are alluring views of the busy Old Town. Tea is served in clay teapots and small cups and you can choose among different tea infusions.
6. Qiuping Tea House, Shanghai
It’s full of fascinating artifacts and it has got the aura of a museum. The visitors may enjoy an original tea ceremony – a combination of traditional tea selections and flower decorations. This house is famous for its culinary feats serving more than 100 dishes of the unique, irresistible Chinese cuisine.
7. Fenghui Tang-styled Teahouse
One can spend an entire day at Fenghui. This is a quiet and calm place – a retreat from a buzzing vacation. You will wish to take pictures – it is so pretty. Warm and experienced staff will help you sample several varieties of tea and will charge for it. It is also a souvenir shop – there is a pearl market downstairs and you will have a great time and love the way they explain proudly about their tea. Visiting Fenghui will stay in your memory forever and you will want to come back. If you guess the lotus picture, you receive a very special gift.
8. Jasmine Lounge
It’s a place to dress smartly. The tea and the food are remarkably good, and there is a large variety of desserts. Their scones can rival those of a traditional English tea house. There are fresh savory sandwiches and excellent tea selection. Jasmine is a world-class place with top-notch service. The breakfast features a wide selection of local delicacies like noodles and the best dumplings one can taste in Shanghai.
9. Alice’s Tea Room, Beijing
A place where tea stories dwell, capable of converting every person to a tea drinker. The range of meals suits everyone’s taste – from chicken to pineapple with shrimps and plenty of rice. It probably serves the best dishes in China. Alice – the host is incredible – she is a native of Beijing and knows a lot about the local area and customs. After dinner, she would introduce you to the tea tradition. She also offers cooking lessons.
10. Guanyinge Tea House
Its stove must be ready by two in the morning. It doesn’t matter if it rains and nobody comes, even if you have just one customer, they are still your customer. The visitors here have made the spot more than just a place to enjoy a cup of tea. Indeed, it has become a habit, a venue for young people and attracts them with its intimate atmosphere. According to the owner, running a tea house is like being in love. There’s no other way, no other choice.
The Tea houses in China are more of a social event than a spiritual one like it is in Japan. The waiter arrives in his blue uniform characteristic of the Thing dynasty, carrying a teapot with an incredibly long spout and pours the tea in a spectacular style, and starts whirling the kettle around his body, changing positions to balance the unnaturally long spout on his shoulders, head, elbows…the acrobatic serving of tea from the XVIII century – part of the old-school charm of Chinese traditions.
Featured image copyright: vhines2000, License: CC BY-ND 2.0