Saturday, October 2, 2010

Oolong Tea, Chinatown, NYC

I've been exploring my neighborhood more and more lately, and every Friday morning, I'm trying to try a new place for Chinese breakfast. This past Friday I went to Big Wing Wong on Mott Street for a hot bowl of shrimp congee and youtiao (fried cruellers).

One thing many of us take for granted when entering almost any Chinese establishment is the excess of tea streaming from a giant metal carafe into your cup, be it little Chinese bowl or regular water glass. In the morning, you will usually receive the latter. At Big Wing Wong for breakfast, I took time to reflect on the Chinese tea culture, and its centrality to life. The tea you will inevitably be given is a simple Oolong Cha, a tea not fully oxidized, falling somewhere between the categories of green and black. I have recently begun to appreciate a nice Oolong more and more.

At Big Wing Wong, my cup was always filled, with a very nice, light and refreshing Oolong. The flavor was crisp, but not overly powerful. And there is something so nice in looking around and seeing all the other patrons sipping on the same tea, from the same pot in their own little water glasses. Tea is everywhere and unites people, and this particular Friday morning, I was certainly reminded of that.

The Oolong selection from China is extensive and varied and easily available for purchase at any Chinese grocery in the neighborhood. Pick up your own box today...or have any meal at a restaurant in the area!



  1. This experience is so Chinatown old school! I love it. Crisp oolong tea and shrimp congee...what more could a New Yorker need for a lovely breakfast?

  2. Feug Huang Oolong Tea

    Product Description
    Super Fine Ti Kuan Yin (Tie Guan Yin) is also known as Anxi Ti Kuan Yin. Anxi is a town in the Zhejiang Province,China. Anxi is known for producing the finest Ti Kuan Yin in the world. Ten Ren selects some of the finest Ti Kuan Yin from Anxi for this tea.

    The water used to steep this tea should be about 185-195°F or 85-90°C. Use about 1.5 teaspoons (3 grams) of tea leaves for about every 5 ounces (150 milliliters) of water. A steeping time of about 3-5 minutes is recommended with more or less time depending on the desired concentration. As a rough guide, the higher the temperature of the water or the greater the amount of leaves used, the shorter the steeping time should be. For the ultimate enjoyment, a traditional Chinese Yixing teapot is recommended for loose Ti Kuan Yin tea. The teapot should be half filled with leaves and initially steeped for 45 seconds to 1 minute with the steeping time increased by an additional 15 seconds for each successive steeping. The leaves may be steeped multiple times.
    Other names:
    Jade Iron Goddess of Mercy, Jade Ti Kwan Yin
    Super Fine Ti Kuan Yin Tie Guan Yin, the dried tea leaves have very subtle fragrance. Yet, once steeped, the lovely orchid-like fragrance fills the air. Almost heavenly! It has a sweet honey note with a hint of floral taste. Refreshing, mild but lasting floral aftertaste.
    Tightly curled dark jade green leaves. The infusion is yellowish green in color .
    Origin: Zhejiang Province,China
    black tea,loose tea, herbal tea