Friday, 12 May 2017

Teapots for kungfu tea

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In this region, people like to brew tea using very small teapots. These teapots are not costly and you don't waste tea leaves using them. It is also a tradition passed down from Hokkien. Hokkien people called it "kungfu" tea. Just like learning kungfu, one has to follow every step in the traditional way using a lot of tea utensils. From boiling water, selecting tea, warming the untensils, etc, etc, you may have to wait up to 15 minutes just to be served with a small cup of chinese tea. Then the process repeats again for the 2nd cup if you have the patient and time. Otherwise, get a big teapot and you can enjoy as much tea as you want in a short time. Then again, you may lose out on the fun of this rigorous procedure they call the art of tea drinking which in a way can slow down your heart beat and prolong  your life.

In those early years, i liked to roam around in down town area to look for a good buy. I once bumped into a shop in Bukit Merah selling teapots and tea ware. It was not common to find such shop in this area where tourists do not come. The locals are also not keen in tea drinking. So one would expect the business to be bad. True enough, i spotted some small teapots selling for $3.50 per piece (top photo). I got interested in them and asked the shop owner how many he had in the shop as i knew they were good quality old Yixing teapots. He told me about 130 plus. Then i told him i wanted all of them. He was surprised that i wanted all. I had to tell him that i needed them as i was selling "bak kut teh", a hawker dish that served spare ribs (pork ribs) soup and rice with chinese tea and a lot of teapots were needed. After hearing that he even give me a discount. I had a laugh as i did not want him to be suspicious and did not want to sell me all. Today these teapots are longer in the market they cost quite a bit.

Pork ribs soup - very delicious

This small teapot (photo below) is known as XiShi Hu, made in the 1980s in Yixing China. The design is simple yet elegant and very ideal for kungfu tea. Chinese Tea House imported quite a lot of them from the Yixing factory. As i knew the people in the company, i went to their ware house and bought 2 hundred pieces of these little black devils. I just like to buy in large quantities in case i wanted to set up my own shop when i retire. These teapots are again things of the past, a product of an era long forgotten by most.
China Yixing

Black xisih hu

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