In standard Mandarin Chinese, tea is pronounced “cha” with a dipping tone. However, the common English word “Tea” actually derives from the Taiwanese/Minan/Fujian word for tea. In Taiwanese, I pronounce tea as “deh”, a lot more like “tea” than “cha”, so learning the fact that our English word “tea” is based on my home language pronunciation was a pleasant surprise, giving me a nice unexpected sense of unity between my English-speaking and Taiwanese-speaking selves. That and I’m a tea enthusiast.
Luckily for me, living in LA is like living in a tea wonderland. There are so many options for tea all over the Southland that I thought I’d share some of my tea knowledge in this little 6-part series for those of you looking to enjoy Los Angeles from a tea lover’s perspective.
The photo above is from a potluck tea party I had with friends a few years ago. A lovely tea time at home is a piece of cake, literally. I don’t cook or bake, but there is such a variety of bakeries here that it’s so easy to have a wonderful afternoon tea at home any day of the week, especially with our almost endless days of sunshine.
Here are some great places I frequent for cakes and desserts to go with my tea:
Susina Bakery & Cafe – European American baked fare
Urth Caffe - California fusion
Yamazaki Bakery – Japanese fusion
J.J. Bakery – Taiwanese fusion
85C Bakery Cafe – Taiwanese fusion
Nini Bakery – Taiwanese fusion
Phoenix Food Boutique – Asian fusion
Aside from top grade tea my parents or friends pick up for me on trips to Asia, I purchase most of my loose leaf teas from Bird Pick or Wing Hop Fung, both of which are basically different versions of the same store. If you do see a bag of their instant ginseng honey tea packets, pick one up for sure because this quick hot sweet drink is like a magic healing potion when you’re feeling under the weather. In this next photo, you’ll see that I sometimes splurge on my loose leaf teas.
Another cool source of high quality tea is Teavana, which most people can find in a local mall. They often boast a selection of 100 teas, but that’s still not as many as what’s available at Bird Pick/Wing Hop Fung.
Next up, Part 2: Tea Station.