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  @

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.

Here's a mug on a tea mug found while I was foraging in the amazon. Location : 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?
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.

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