Category : Country : China

The lion’s dance in the Chinese New Year festivities

Lion's dance in the streets of Hong Kong.

I’ve witnessed a curious spectacle in the streets of Hong Kong on many occasions in recent days. A large, peculiar-looking animal performs all sorts of contortions and dances, surrounded by percussionists playing the cymbals and other instruments. Then it rises up on its hind legs and stands very tall, to the roar of the drums which gains in intensity to increase the air of excitement. It then gulps down a bunch of vegetables hanging high in the air, before spitting out the leaves a few moments later.

The lion’s dance is part of the Chinese New Year festivities. In Hong Kong, no shop or hotel misses out on a visit from this strange creature. Inside the beast are two Gong-Fu experts, and this exercise demands great skill.


Posted in Country : China by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , ,

Yabo cha fang: a tea house in Hong Kong

When I arrive in Hong Kong I go straight to one of the tea houses; they’re such havens of peace. People go to them to buy old pu er; traditionally, the vendor sits opposite you and, after looking at you for a few moments, puts the water on to boil. They break off a piece of the tea cake, and you talk together about this and that, and about tea of course. You compare the different waters, because the same tea is infused several times over. From one tea to the next, one cake to the next, the minutes – sometimes the hours – pass by, interspersed with the sound of our little gulps: here, tea is drunk from tiny cups, like those used in the Gong Fu Cha.

A student of Yip Wai Man, Eliza Liu has one of these tea houses in the Mongkok district, and teaches her many devoted customers all about tea in an informal manner. Yabo Cha Fang is a friendly place with a special atmosphere, a mysterious charm, like Eliza’s smile which I have captured here, as she crosses her hands in the style of the Mona Lisa.


Posted in Country : China by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , , , , ,

An olfactory journey in the streets of Hong Kong

Walking through the streets of Hong Kong is an olfactory journey. In this city where street food is sold on every corner, the many stalls – there’s one every ten metres or so – give off copious, diverse and unusual smells: duck skin crackling over the heat, sizzling lumps of fat, garlicky vegetables frying in the wok, caramelised pork. There are fried noodles, fritters and dim sum of all kinds.

With all the greasy smoke, the stalls overflowing with delicious food, it’s a real wake-up for the senses. Whatever the time of day or night, it makes you want to dig into a big bowl of steaming noodles.

Nowhere as much as here, in Hong Kong, in this city that never stops and that dazzles with a thousand neon lights, have I ever had such a strong sense that man was put on this earth to eat.

Luckily, there are also tea houses where you can take a seat and follow the owner’s advice, and taste with him a few leaves of Pu Er, delicately broken off an old tea cake. Then you can take time to savour your tea, and think about this island and its hyperactive inhabitants who consume with such frenzy.


Posted in Country : China by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , ,

Here we are in the Year of the Dragon

So here we are in the Year of the Dragon. Symbol of the Emperor, symbol of power, the Dragon is a highly desirable zodiac sign.

May this year unfold under favourable auspices, may it bring you prosperity beyond your dreams, the red signs say. It’s a tradition in China to hang long banners on the doors at the time of the new year, with messages of good wishes.


Posted in Country : China by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags :

A tea grown in panda poo

There are many organic tea plantations around the world, like here in southern India. So far, there are relatively few in China, but a publicity-seeking Chinese entrepreneur has just announced with great fanfare in the press that he has acquired no less than 11 tonnes of panda poo to make the most expensive tea in the world. Wow! Over the weekend, the news was relayed around the world by all the major press agencies. When the story reached Philippe Bouvard, master of French humour, he called me to ask if I’d appear on his show “Les Grosses Têtes” (“Big Heads”).

As for me, I consider it perfectly normal to use animal manure to grow tea. I have visited many plantations that use vermiculture, or worm composting, a technique I want to cover in my next post.

Organic farming methods don’t allow the use of chemical fertilisers, and I have no issues with that at all. However, if this Chinese entrepreneur really wants to sell the most expensive tea in the world, he’ll need a bit more than these 11 tonnes of manure. He’ll need to acquire the expertise. It won’t make the headlines, and it will take a lot longer.


Posted in Country : China, Organic tea by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , ,

The author

François-Xavier Delmas is a passionate globetrotter. He’s been touring the world’s tea plantations for more than 20 years in search of the finest teas. As the founder of Le Palais des Thés, he believes that travelling is all about discovering world cultures. From Darjeeling to Shizuoka, from Taiwan to the Golden Triangle, he invites you to follow his trips as well as share his experiences and emotions.

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