Sunday, April 17, 2011

PNU's 차밭골Teahouse

 PNU's ChaBatGol teahouse is always busy as it is popular with PNU students and staff. The name means tea tree-field village and it is really easy to find. 
To get there just go right up infront of PNUs main gate. On the right there is a huge shopping center. To the left is a smaller street with foodstands. Going only about 1 building down the small street (university on your right with foodstands infront of the wall) on your left you'll see the building pictured here.

The 2nd floor is a pool hall. Going up the stairs you'll probably have to pass alot of smoke. Quick inhale, hold your breath and on up to the 3rd floor.  
Inside you'll find alot of tables and chairs as well as a korean style ondol seats. Its hours are a bit unusual, most days it is open from 10:30am to 10:30 except for Wednesday and Sunday when its open from 12:30 to 10:30.
ChaBatGol has a wide range of teas including many common to most teahouses: OMeJaCha (a dense fruity tea) and the plum-like DaeChooCha among them.
This time I ordered another tea common to most Korean teahouses : 쑥차/SookCha. Sook is a kind of herb that is most commonly used when making the pounded sticky rice cakes called Deok. If you've ever had Deok you'll know that Deok as it is very sticky and a gummy. With a sip of tea, Deok becomes alot more marshmellow like mushy insteady of gummy. And that's your tea tip for today: when given Deok, ask for tea, tea makes the gummy go away.  If you're looking for a strong tasting tea, SookCha is your thing. It has a strong spinachy taste. 
My wife had their 황차/HwangCha. It comes to you in a similar collection of teapots and filters similar to the 보이차/Boey Cha or Pu'er Tea mentioned before. Like Boey Cha, just add water to the ceramic pot, wait then filter it into the glass teapot or spouted bowl to cool. HwangCha is alot like Pu'er tea: slightly woody in taste but generally quite smooth. When strong (steeped for 1 minute or more), tends to the acidic/tannin. Personally I like it when its steeped for 30seconds only. 
 Overall, ChaBatGol is a great place to kickback and unwind. My wife and I used to go there often after a long hike behind PNU. We recommend bringing alot of books. It is especially wonderful when it rains as the interior is made to look like an old Korean village house: you can listen to the pitter patter of the rain and imagine Korea's past when things moved alot slower. Best wishes, and stay steeped. MWT.

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