Monday, April 11, 2016

When in Seoul ... Dinner with Dance Performance !

As I'm rather short on time these days, here's some brief information about an amazing restaurant in Seoul that serves a fine full table of vegetarian Korean food with all the tables around an open area in the center where, while you eat there are several dance performances. I highly recommend it for a special night out in Seoul.

Here's a Korean language Naver Blog post about it. Dinner is, I believe 45,000won a person but it is well worth it ! Also you need at least 5 people in a group to make a reservation although I think they do make exceptions for 3-4 people possibly... I have put the location on my tea map as well.
Best wishes and do stay steeped !

Friday, January 29, 2016

How about a cool Oolong ?

Can I interest you in a cool oolong... with a couple of characters? Chinese to be specific : A tea of character with a wonderful primer on the characters by Licheng Gu.  

Often times Oolong tea is referred to as black dragon tea. Well, whenever I find a fishy character I just go to the handy Pleco Chinese dictionary. 

The first, "hei" (or in Korean 흙 I believe..)  is most decidedly and clearly black while the wu in oolong is best described as jet black or raven and as many of you know leung is dragon. 

Hei-oolong tea can be found in mainland China as well as in Japan. In China it is usually served cool while in Japan it is also popular in summer. Indeed, it is commonly found in bottled form at the counter of some ramyeon restaurants as it's brown color and semi-strong flavor goes well with the beefy brown beany taste of a miso ramyeon.  



He's had too much Ramyeon ! Get me an Oolong and some cholesterol pills Stat!
 (The Oolong's for me though)
Indeed, many studies these days have shown that tea is good for lowering one's cholesterol and thus is good with greasy food. Here in Busan this hei-oolong can be found in Someyeon's NCDept.Store 6F. There's a wonderful Ramyeon restaurant that serves up cafeteria style all in a row : 1st Order noodles, 2nd Pick up your deep fried fun extras (dunk the shrimp in the ramyeon yum!), 3rd triangle kimbap/ onigiri, 4th Hei-Oolong and then pay. Word to the wise : sadly you can't just go there for the oolong as I tried last time. My plan was to wrap my arms around a bunch of bottles then waddle my way to the nearby elevator but ..well, oh well.

Perhaps I'm just being lazy. Afterall, I have a tin of the hei here at home. Boil the water then open the kettle to let the steam out. Winter is dry here on the peninsula so it also helps in humidifying your home. Once the steam is barely coming out its generally cooled enough to steep. (who uses a thermomter for their teawater anyhow? (More on boiling & steam techniques later...) It takes a while to steep : opening up the curled leaves like a good stretch in the morning. Many now pour out the refuse, rinsing off their leaves as do I. The second steep is smoother ;-)  

It is rather hard to find a fine oolong here in Busan although there are two places in Nampodong market :

On Nampodong's Gwangbok shopping street turn left the Nike store and then up on the 2nd floor you'll see the sign for DaHaeJung. A great place for Pu'er Tea and some Oolongs. And if not guarenteed there's oolong halfway up the escalators to Yondoosan Park at YongJangdawon (It'll be on your right up at the top of the 1st escalator). I bought mine from China online  @ www.aliexpress.com

Picture some characters with your tea perchance?
On a side note, for learning Chinese characters I highly recommend this great beginners book Picture Chacracters by Professor Licheng Gu. I like his full name as in Korean 친구 (means friend) and his is a very user friendly book as you can see.









Professor Gu's illustrations are not just fancy doodles for fine folks learning their characters. He very often explains their actual etymology or word's history and evolution making this book of of good soil to grow from. A little history with your tea. 

Till next time, 
Do stay warm and sufficiently steeped.
MWT.







P.S.
Here's a mug on a tea mug found while I was foraging in the amazon. Location : Amazon.com Matrix Sunglasses Weaving Tea-Mugs

P.P.S If you're into EDM like the old Yazoo (via YouTube): Don't know if you've heard but they also sell CHVRCH3S mug too : ChVrch3s?
Indeed.
As seen on YouTube (TM).

Now pardon me, 
I'm off to listen to some M83. 
It's turning all Midnight City here; time to get jiggy.
MWT.




Sunday, January 24, 2016

Best Teashop in Town !!

I've found what is indeed currently the best teashop in Busan for hardware ! The shop is called Dae-Dok Myung Cha.  Although they do have some tea on hand for sale, they far surpass all other teashops in town for hardware quality, variety ~and~ price ! Directions to which may be found @the bottom of this post. And now into the review :

When you first walk in the door you'll find right at the front stacks of Korean tea sets all selling for 40,000won and up ! They have everything you'd need for a Korean tea ceremony including the cloth teaset covers at the back in their tea cloth & towel department. (pictured above at the back left). For Japanese Tea Ceremony they have several natsume (powdered tea containers) some fine laquerware ones and also ! : ones for nodate-picnic style sets with tupperwear style lids hidden under their shiny tops.

They have sandalwood incense (best used for standard tea ceremonies unlike the other floral Buddhist temple blends that most shops carry).

They have a wide variety of Yixing teapots as well as western style teaware. Dae-Dok Myung Cha also has Koren style celodon teapots too.




While I was wandering around their store I was in a tizzy wondering what didn't they have and I discovered they had Shilla Dynasty style teacups two different kinds! Basically one kind looks like black ceramic shot glasses but twice as tall and with a long curved pouring lip like you'd see on western cream container. So they're like the Chinese but bigger yet smaller than a mug. Great for any kind of strong tea or even sake or soju !
The other kind of Shilla teacups they have look like mini cauldrons on tripods ! Ideal for a nice nighttime fireside tea.

Here's a teahouse on the 2f on the same street. It says Dawon on the sign (tea place in Korean). I haven't been in there as they seem to keep odd hours.  Keep going down the street (if you're coming from Sajick station Exit 3) to get to Dae-Dok Myung. And here it is pictured below :









Dae-Dok Myung Cha is open everyday from 9am-7pm except for Sundays. This shop makes it well worth the trip to Sajick to see it as they have all the hardware you'd need to make any kind of tea in style!

Dae-Dok Myung Cha Tea store:-Do find them on the map below; I marked it with a fire sign for the time being.
Till next time,
Stay steeped!




Friday, January 22, 2016

Geisha Basket with Teaset for sale soon...

I have started my first online store on Ebay : East Sea Scrolls.

Soon I will be relisting Japanese Kago-Kinchaku Geisha Basket & Nodate Matcha Teaset & UkiyoE-Print

The pictures show the set for sale minus the tatami mats and the fireplace. Soon I shall post reviews on two teashops I have recently discovered. One of which is located in Busan's Sajickdong.








Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Gangnam Style? David Lo-Pan Style

For those familiar with Big Trouble in Little China, or Psy from South Korea : here's a video for you.
Soon I'll be posting a Geisha Basket with a teaset inside. All for sale soon on Ebay. 

David Lo-Pan Style

Till next time, stay steeped. P.S : 

KEEP CALM 
and 
CARRY ON, 
WHAT WERE YOU SAYING?
(sorry this tea is amazing) ...

(Shady Black Oolong : served over ice. Just sayin') review to be coming soon...

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Raise Your Pinky If You Would Care For An Afternoon Tea !

Here's a brief review of two of the few British style afternoon tea services on offer here in Busan. There is one more out there I am told but I have yet to find it...Once I do I shall pin it on the map as I have all the others (including the others to be read of below).

It's no occident : for more Orientation do see the Tea Treasure Map of Busan.

Park Hyatt Hotel  (Centum)
Come on up to the 30th Floor for a fine Afternoon Tea : Coffee or tea and a three tiered tray of savories (scones pastries etc.) (Extra charge for Champagne).

Afternoon Tea is served Mon-Sat 2-6pm Sun 3-6pm
Reservations and information : +82 51 990 1300. 
Do call and check the price as it's been awhile since I'd been there.













They also have an evening service from 6pm-11 providing a fine variety of fine cocktails, wines and beers. 70,000won for two.


Further details may be found via their website : Park Hyatt Hotel Busan Just click "activities" at the top.

Here is another review and blogpost regarding Afternoon Tea at the Hyatt that has wonderful pictures to gives you a good idea of what is to be found high up on the 30th floor via the blog An Irish Girl Abroad.


Adela 7 (Haeundae New Town)
Oh the delights of Adela!!!  One lesser known place is the Bakery Cafe Adela 7 located in Haeundae New Town.


They provide sandwiches cheese cakes and chocolates! Hands down they are indeed the most devinely delicious for afternoon tea in Busan !

Although they are hard to get to in Haeundae (so far inland and all from the actual beach and a bit up from the Jangsan subway), many have told me that there is indeed a second location in Someyeon.  Once I find it I shall duly inform all of you savory net-surfing tea sippers!

That's the only downside to the Adela 7 in Haeundae : It's tricky to get to, whereas one in Someyeon ?  - well, win win and win ! While the Hyatt has the view and tea equal to Adela, Adela has savories far superior ! Until next time, may you find yourself in fine condition over a cup of the Camellia.

Monday, November 23, 2015

All the Tea from China to Your Door in Korea! Free Shipping!? Hot Gazoobies!


Ah, the problem of getting a fine Chinese tea at a decent price while here in Korea !




One option of course is, well, fly to China and get some. Rather costly for tea, although well worth the trip. 
Insadong in Seoul has a good Chinese teashop on one of it's side streets but, well, you run the risk of getting a nosebleed when you hear the prices they charge.

Nosebleed? Should've gone to Busan instead of Seoul for tea. No use crying over the bill. Consider it a lesson learned. See www.healthyfoodadvice.net for 3 cures (one of which involves vinegar and.. brown paper?)
(90,000won / $90USD for a 200gram bag of LapsangSouchong will do that to you).

Some these days are saying Seoul City's new motto "I Seoul you" is being used by some Korean people who complain about the rising apartment prices using Seoul as a verb in saying "Don't Seoul me! Lower the price a bit would you?"

 If you are willing and able to pay a price so steep there's a chance you're one of those high flyers who might even know the company of people like Prince Harry, Charles, Will and, grace: even the Queen!

Well then, you might as well get some from one of the companies the Queen has gotten a warrant out on: whose products she uses and thus have her coat of arms at the top labelled "By Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen".  
See? Coat of Arms at top with text beneath. Like this text. Only not warranted by the Queen like on the box of Lap' Mountain above.
By Appointment indeed! Even here in lovely Busan a good DaHongPao goes for 50,000won for a rather small box. 

Which brings me to Alibaba: The Chinese website that is making billions of dollars. Sadly for us lowly folk not in the mercantile industry we cannot order from them, unless we want to order a tonne of the same tea at a time : Alibaba deals only in bulk orders. A tempting thought though:

Buy all the tea from Alibaba in bulk...

  and hoard it ! Warehouse it even! Mmm awesome...
 Fortunately, however, we needn't buy in bulk were we to board ourselves a fine flashy firefox to surf or paddle our way to www.aliexpress.com

The below is just a tiny drop in the kettle as to the many teashops and vendors you'll find on aliexpress :



  • China's Tea Store products pull down tab or scroll to the bottom to see the varieties of tea they offer.

  • Chinese Chaodao : Bam! : Bricks of Da Hong Pao! Other teas as well listed on the left of the site.
As a side note, one great app for Chinese characters I highly recommend is Pleco. The app has several versions : iPhone/iPad, and two versions for Android. I often use the handwriting interface to look up Chinese characters like  陳元龍 for instance.

Later I'll do a review on the Black-Shady Dragon that is Hei Oolong Cha and how it is taken in China and Japan. Until then, do find yourself in steeped condition keeping warm with a fine cup of the camellia.