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 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

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. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

One building with Two teashops: Someyeon's NC Department Store

In the last few years Someyeon's then Milliore Department store had been doing rather poorly. It was a great place for getting discounts on clothes and bags. It has since changed to NC Department store and right from its opening day it has been a busy place. Now it sells more upscale clothing items and it also has 2 teashops inside as well.  NC Department store is located east of Someyeon's main rotary intersection and is open from 10:30am-10pm. It can be found on my Tea Treasure Map of Busan (which also now has been updated to include Gwangali's Japanese Tea Ceremony store).

     Although 오가.다 (Ogada) teashop has closed in Gwangali, there are still several Ogada Teahouse locations in South Korea, two of them in Busan. One of which is on the 4th Floor of the NC Department Store at the top of one of the escalators. It is a great place for slightly modified versions of traditional Korean teas .Although it is more of a stand than an actual shop it does offer a menu in English as well as in Korean.

 Higher up on the 5th floor is the fast becoming famous Jeju Island brand O'Sulloc. Despite the name, it is not Irish and no, they don't serve beer. It is South Korean and very modern in style. As you can see, they have, in addition to their regular menu, seasonal menu items. This winter they have roasted green tea lattes.

Most Korean green leaf tea is roasted, unlike the Japanese green tea 'sencha' which is steamed. This latest item at O'Sulloc is roasted slightly more than the usual light roasting that is common for a Korean green. 

It has a much deeper taste bringing it closer to coffee than any other green tea really is. Indeed green tea is always very unlike coffee. 

Teas that come close to coffee would be an Assam (purchaed at Twosome Place coffee shop here in S.Korea) or an English Breakfast (steeped to a nutty brown). O'Sulloc's roasted green fits in well with those such teas. And, if you are looking for something closer to your mocchiato well, you can get your green topped with whipping cream as well on the roasted green tea caramel latte. For the health concious among us you can get the regular roasted green with soy milk. Chacon son gout as the French say : to each his own! Plus ca difference! 

Also of note is the excellent always busy Korean buffet on the upper floor : The food there is absolutely amazing !!! 

As well as one floor higher on the top floor a most excellent Japanese Rameyeon restaurant in the food court area : just look for the giant painting of Fuji Mountain.  

There is lots to see in Someyeon and NC is worth seeing! Definitely drop by ! Until then, stay steeped and toasty warm out there. It is getting a tad rather chilly.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Tea and Craft Fair at Bexco this weekend !

Well, I've updated the Tea Treasure Map of Busan to include the 2 new 오가.다 teahouses in Busan and also the wonderful O'Sulloc Teahouse located in Someyeon's NC Department store. I shall be writing a review on that fine teahouse in the next few weeks. They, like many of the new teahouses these days, are offering special seasonal menu items along with their regular menu items.

     Also, this weekend the 14th Busan International Tea and Craft Fair will be held at Bexco. It starts this Thursday Nov.19th and goes until the 22nd. 10am-5:30pm.3000won/person.  There will be many demonstrations of tea ceremonies as well as things to buy from various vendors.

I'm looking forward to the seeing the cast iron tea cauldrons that they are making nowadays in South Korea.

For those interested in 'matcha' or "malcha" in the Korean : I recommend looking out for the vendor that sells various teas in powdered form : they sell not only traditional green but various other non-caffeinated powdered leafies for wisking up in a teabowl (i.e. : barley leaf powders etc.).

One other vendor to keep an eye out for is the one selling 'golden bamboo shoot tea'. I hope they will be back again : last time they were handing out samples and it was wonderful ! Anyhow, I'm off to hit the sack after a fine Chamomile. Best wishes and stay steeped!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

A New Starbucks-Like Teahouse : Seomyeon

A rather excellent teahouse has opened up right in the center at the heart of Busan's downtown area of Someyeon! It's called Hyung-Cha 향차 or Scent of Tea and its 2 doors down from the Seomyeon Rotary intersection.
It has been said that many of the teahouses in Someyeon tend be rather small cramped and crowded But this one is an exception ! Its style is very Starbucks like in its atmosphere and front counter. 
  Much like Starbucks the menu is up on the wall behind the counter and they offer a wide variety of tea infused drinks. I highly recommend their Oolong Latte although it is also possible to get tea 'straight up' as well. 

 The teahouse is easy to get to : Just come up from the Someyeon Subway station Exit 11. As you come up from the underground do not U-turn, do not cross any streets : Just walk 2 doors straight around the curvy corner and you'll see...

Straight ahead the green red and black sign and there, on the ground floor Hyung-Cha ! There's lots of seats and a great place to meet! Best Wishes and Stay Steeped! --M.W.T.

O'Sulloc Teahouse in Nampodong Market

In case you haven't noticed O'Sulloc Teahouse / Teashop has opened in Nampodong market.

Its right along the famous Gwangbok Street (the narrow winding one way street for cars with alot of walking room on the sides).

Prices are quite good and their green teas are excellent!

Here's a great and more detailed post about O'Sulloc's Nampodong Location from Sereni Tea Time

And an updated Tea Map of Busan