Macau Yum Cha culture

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Macau’s yum cha culture – “A cup of tea and two dim sims” are inseparable. Local Macanese can’t live without yum cha and afternoon coffee break “at quarter past three”.

The so-called “A cup of tea with two dim sum” meaning going tea house drinking, while enjoying dim sims. “A cup of tea” refer to Tea Pitcher; the concept of using a ceramic tea cup lid covering a high quality chinese style tea. Old traditional teahouse server hold huge water boiler adding hot water for in house guests tea holders. Most tea houses have now replaced with teapots. “Two pieces” refer to dim sum; that is prawn dumpling, siu mai, chicken feet, etc. In the early 1950-1960s, no matter how wealthy or poor the family is, enjoying yum cha is every chinese individual’s best enjoyment prior a hard working day start.

During teahouse prime times, guests of different consumption levels patronised each floor; Ten, Twenty or Thirty cent floors. “Ten cent Room” can share tables – having all seats fully occupied, covering the entire space filled up with people. In Macau today, the only thing we can see are all typical chinese restaurants, but rarely traditional teahouse footprints. Such leisure yum cha lifestyles seems like an old story event now. All classic teahouse such as Lin Heung, Yuen Loi, Luk Kwok etc. all no longer exists. The only place left till now is located next to the red market, The Long Va Restaurant, remain its original characteristics.

The Long Va teahouse, nearly sixty years of age, owned the oldest tea house in Macau’s history. Boiling water and splendid Tea is just not that; The mosaic staircases, wooden seats, green window frames, rosewood chairs and table sets, ceiling fans, old antiques, tea pots, etc. all drilled into the time tunnel. All old fashioned furnishings seems went back to the fifty/sixties outlook. The most commendable oil paintings is just an perfect, a like virtual, beautiful museum;

The water color paintings, black and white ink chinese style paintings, landscape paints, fairy goddess pictures, calligraphy etc; the aftertaste is just not food itself, but the memory of human touch and history. For new visitors is definitely a good place to take online photo shots.

Keep in mind when eating at Long Va is all about Macau history; but not craving for perfect food tastes, rather, drinking a good cup of chinese tea. When visiting Long Va, everything is self serve. Each person needs to go to the tea cabinet, pick their best tea leaves and tea set; having boil water ready from hot pipes. There’s no dim sum menu ordering checklist; you need to rush for your own favorite dim sum pick up at the centralised cart every time when all dim sim’s ready. Fried rice and noodle dish can always order from the waiter.

The current operations varied from the past, from the highest peak times that owned more then seventy employees till now, including the owner himself, total in six. Hence the service level and qualities were not reaching its top excellence as five stars; During summer times on the second floor, there is no air conditioning at all. The entire floor uses ceiling fans to generate natural wind circulations. In regardless all things that exists, enjoying tea is real thing need you really need to do.

The most delicious barbecue pork with steamed chicken combinations, all covered with ginger spring onion sauce; Shredded pork with fried noodle base and sliced beef with rice noodle are always the best picks. Dim sum are indispensable when sipping tea are the pork ribs, chicken feet, barbecue pork bun, and steam sponge cake are also among the favorite snacks.

Long Va is one of the bests well covered chinese tea leave supplies in Macau. Yunnan Black tea, Anxi Jasmine Tea, Meijawu Oolong Tea, White Hairy Sau-Mei floral Tea, all kinds of tea available. Regardless whether is black or white tea, each person costs fifteen dollars, drink as much as you can. Aged Puer is the best treasure of all in the teahouse; With such a reasonable price set, it provides not just small rough pieces, but high qualified whole tea leaves; The flavor is steady and thick, without any astringency. When reaching the throat it hooked up with a hint of sweetness. When instructed by the owner, when attempt the second infusions, the tea diluted with boiling water turned into slight sweet taste, and it really was.

The variety of tea bucket that holds all kinds of choices is so complete. All chinese tea collections are highly rated, absolutely good value for money. Big Red Robe (Da Hong Pao) dark Oolong Tea, and (Jin Jun Mei) Red tea that is so popular in China, the owners always keep good stock collection for guests. Every time when my family finished off a meal and ready to go, they surely will purchase a good few pounds of tea that costs few thousand dollars; Its qualities is absolutely genuine, worth for value.

The most breath taking, valuable, distinct chinese tea pillars, owned few thousand pounds in weight. It take years to full maturities; not many people pay attention to such historic and valuable tea treasures, vaguely set aside – covered in yellow cloth. Nowadays not too many places can see these collections now.

The second generation owner Mr Ho, showed huge admiration for his persistence in preserving the sixties’ atmospheres; Its pattern and deep human touches that lasts in presence. The shop opened from seven and closes at two in the afternoon; The money that earn is not big money after all, surely it consume lots of time and energy, mentally and physically it all takes. The kind of conservatism has become the characteristics of Long Va today. The ever changing styles pursued by other high-end restaurants are not as good as those of other traditional teahouse. At the end the “guarding” of all traditions is the hardest to maintain. To sustain the whole piece of business requires not only patience, but also wisdom and courage that can’t give up.

Enjoying a pot of tea with dim sum – family and friends gathering point; In Macau is extremely hard to find indeed; That is what we always talk about – to embrace human neighborhood touch through eating culture.

Angela Fung