It’s the 2nd week in November: The week in which I learn I am able to purchase interesting teas without having to go on-line.
Our local Asian supermarket, located in the industrial area, has increased it’s tea line. I know this ‘breaking news’ has direct impact on few persons; fewer persons than the whole population of Tristan de Cuna, yet still, expansion in tea’s real estate interests me. Shelf-space expansion means the reports are true: Tea’s growing popularity is not fake news. So that’s one less thing to worry about.
I come from a long line of hunter-gatherers; though these days I do not engage in a lot of hunting there is still the gathering to be done. I like to do my gathering in real stores rather than by browsing the internet. I can manage both if I want. However gathering is not the same on the net. Where are the market-place aromas? The sounds of exchange? I want to handle the goods and to look the dealer in the eye. Spit on the handshake. This is why I am excited by expanding tea sales.
Hong Ke Long began as a dairy located in a low-middle income suburb. Now thanks to Janet, the owner-operator, the Asian Food store supplies a large Chinese community, restaurants and local business with quality Chinese ingredients. Janet can sell you anything if you aren’t careful.
After Janet took over the dairy, where my husband often stopped to pick up our milk, he began to arrive home with parcels of rice wrapped in bamboo leaves, bottles of syrup, sauce, powders, steamed buns, noodles, plus a range of unidentifiable dried things. ‘What can be going on’ I wondered. Oh yes! Janet had perceived my husband’s weakness for exotic food – that’s what was going on – and as it turned out my husband wasn’t the only customer at the mercy of Janet’s spontaneous selling technique. Fast forward a few years and now Janet operates from the industrial area out of a much larger store.
Hong Ke Long Asian Food now has a wide selection of Chinese tea and is the only store in town to sell quality Chinese loose leaf black tea – as far as I am aware. I was so glad to see the black tea I almost hugged it. Chinese black tea has a flavour of it’s own: different from Indian tea, different from tea grown in Ceylon or Kenya.
Besides black tea at Hong Ke Long there is green tea, oolong and pu-erh. Also genmaicha and all the ingredients to make bubble tea. I left Hong Ke Long with a number of items but before I left Janet handed me a mysterious packet. The packet contained teeny dried mandarins and each mandarin is packed with pu-erh. They smell delicious and will make someone an interesting Christmas gift I immediately realise. Janet will be seeing a lot more of me that’s for sure.
“All I know is what I see in the papers” – Will Rogers