During the 17th and 18th centuries, Britain was trading with China for many things including porcelain, silk, and tea. The British wanted to sustain this trade because they loved China’s tea. They simply couldn’t live without it. Our outing today was going to a tea house/restaurant and drinking some of this Chinese tea that the British had loved so much a couple hundred years ago and still love today.
China invented many things that you would probably associate with the West. Tea was one of them. The other one I found fascinating was soccer. Yes, China invented soccer. Since ancient Chinese times, it has been played there. It was Britain that turned it into the popular and global sport that it is today, but it originated in China.
Soccer, tea, and much else we have thanks to China. I was very excited to try some of the tea. We went to a couple of places, the first of which was closed, and the second only sold tea, and did not offer tastes. The woman from the second place kindly showed us where there was a place who served tea.
We sat down at the table at the third place. At a traditional Chinese dinner there would be plates and bowls full of food in the center of the table, dishes that everyone could help themselves to. It seemed that it was styled after those kinds of customs. In addition, the fact that almost everyone in the restaurant looked natively Chinese made it feel more authentic.
Then, after a couple of minutes of sitting, talking, and soaking in the scenery, our tea came. I savored it. I almost felt like I was a citizen of China under the Han or Tang dynasty. All thanks to the restaurant, the people, and the tea. I gave thanks, closed by eyes, and put the cup to my lips. It was so hot, and it filled my body with warmth. I loved how the hot liquid felt as it went down to my stomach. I could see why the British loved the tea so much.
After that came our lunch/snack of Dim Sum dumplings. There was one small dish of meat and pea dumplings, and another dish of vegetable dumplings. There were also some big bean buns with sweet filling, which were absolutely delicious.
I love this kind of food and these customs in this culture around the dinner table. I hope we can eat more Dim Sum in Beijing!