Saturday, July 10, 2010

DIY tea time

The Hakka are an ethnic group of Taiwan. They are descendent from an indegenious peoples from mainland China but moved to Taiwan centuries ago. They lived in relative isolation on the island until the Han Chinese and Europeans arrived. However these people still populate the island and maintain their language and customs. One such custom is the drinking of cereal tea. This tea is a mixture of cereal grains and strong green tea ground into a fine paste and served with red beans. It was developed centuries ago as a high energy snack for agricultural workers.

Lilly's aunt knowing our enthusiam for food took us on a wonderful afternoon to a Hakka tea house. Where we were able to grind our own tea. The process began by placing tea leaves, seasame seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts and grain into a mortar.

The mixture changes from a dry mash to being a thick moist paste once the seeds release their oils.

Once the color of the mixture is uniform hot water is added and you are ready to eat.

The taste is delicious. It is however savory and slightly bitter. To sweeten it one can add red beans and puffed rice .

And ofcourse no tea would be complete without a visit to the arcade for Lilly's cousin.

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