A sip of Chaozhou Gong Fu Cha in Bangkok
In Chinatown, there are always tea houses. Yaowarat Road in Bangkok is the address of Chinatown, nearly 250 years of history.
I walked to the oldest tea shop in this entire Chinatown. I have passed by many times before, but this is my first time visiting this historic tea shop, Lim Meng Kee Tea Shop, with more than sixty years of history. You will not find that long-standing tea shop in China now.
Owner Mrs. Lim is already the 4th generation owner of the tea shop, which started with her grandfather. The majority of their tea comes from Thailand, and it is packaged in its own unique style. I adore the illustrations on their tea boxes so much. She is about to close the shop, so I didn't ask her to have tea with me.
Back on the street, I saw a tea shop with a big tea table, and customers sat around to taste teas. I must visit that tea shop.
After tasting a cup of Phonenix oolong tea, I introduced myself to the owner, A Tian; Tian also introduced himself and his tea shop. He was born and raised in Chaozhou, China, which is famous for Chaozhou Gong Fu Cha. He moved to Thailand to help this family's tea business. I asked Tian if he could brew Chaozhou Gong Fu Cha; he was excited and even brought his best, self-reserved tea to brew for me. He claimed that his uncle made the tea himself. I told him I felt honored to try this.
Yes, hand-made tea, brewed with Chaozhou Gong Fu Cha and from native Chao Zhou. I can't ask how special it is anymore. I was impressed with his brewing skill; he was humble; he said my father can turn the cups very quickly; I smelled the tea leaves, looked at the bright tea soup, and sipped; then I asked Tian, "Would you please teach me Chao Zhou Gong Fu tea tomorrow?" He said sure.
I nearly stayed three hours in the tea shop; we had more than five different hand-made teas from China, including Dragon Well. Tian kindly and openly shared how he grew up in a tea family. and how to survive in Chinatown as a tea business. He is only in his twenties, but his dedication and responsibilities far exceed his years.
"I had never tasted the same tea my grandpa brewed; I miss that so much," he said. "I don't worry about what other tea shops do; I just do my best and share the best I have."