Taipei Day 2: Temple of Love, Noodles, and Oolong Tea

Burning incense with monks in the Temple of Love

It’s Sunday. A day of rest. But not for tea people. (It’s actually November now and forgot to upload this post!)

I kicked started my second full day here in Taipei with a beautiful Asian breakfast (rice, bok choy, eggs)  good conversation and some Oolong tea. It gets better. I decided not to join the group that was going to a eco-garden and instead continue to wander around Taipei. Karen Hartwick joined me. We left the Dong Wu and walked over to where they sell dried herbs, teas, flowers, fruits, Chinese medicine etc… On route we ran into David, the nephew of Jackson Huang and Thomas Shu (2 of our leaders for my 2nd Taiwanese Oolong Study Tour.) David was on his way to find a temple where one of his friends visited last year and told us the story of how only  1 month later his friend met a woman and they were married. Evidently, people go to the temple to pray for love. So, we’ll call it the Temple of Love. We followed him to see what it was like.

With David Huang, Karen Hartwick and our love charms

So many people in and out of the temple, burning incense and praying. Karen and I were snapping tons of photos. David asked us if wanted to participate in a ceremony. We were game. David was our translater to our guide, who walks you through this elaborate process which involved chatting with 5 different Gods, introducing yourself (ie: Hi. My name is… and Im looking for…) burning some incense and then eating some candy to seal the deal. We were given these special amulets to keep with us so that the “energy of the Gods” could work its magic. We shall see. Of the 3 of us, one is seeing someone, one is seeing someone but may want someone new, and one has no interest at the moment in seeing anyone.  I’ll let you figure out who is who. One of the nicest parts of the experience was being in the temple at the right time while monks chanting with their melodic voices. Incense burning. People praying. It was really quite magical. I felt I was in the right place at the right time.

One of the oldest street in Taipei

Once we left the temple, we meandered the streets, peeking into windows taking in all visual and aromatic sensations that is Asia. We stumbled upon what David said was one of the oldest roads in Taipei. Simply charming! David happened to be standing in front of a building with an open door that turned out to be an art gallery. We decided to go in. Quite spectacular to see the modern art just inside the oldest part of Taipei. Afterward, he takes us to the oldest and apparently Best Noodle Shop in Taiwan. We enjoy a local lunch in a hot spot for a mere USD$1.

Noodles for lunch. For $1.00

Karen and I then hopped in a taxi and headed over to Wisteria Tea House to sit, relax and talk tea. Wisteria is where director Ang Lee shot “Eat, Drink, Man, Woman” and I could see why. It’s gorgeous. We enjoyed the spectacular entrance into this private little world of tea and then found some of our own teapeeps sitting on mats in the back room dining and sipping. Karen and I enjoyed 2 oolongs that were on the menu. One was an aged oolong. Tasty, but admittedly my 1980 Aged Oolong that I purchased last year trumped theirs. We also shared a pot of milk oolong.

A page in the menu at Wisteria

I noticed on my way out of the tea house that there was the teapot and burner set that Ive been searching for all year! Tempted, I almost broke down and purchased it retail.  Im glad I held my fire because I would end up finding a much better, higher quality version later in the trip.

I look back at these last 2 days prior to beginning TOST and realize what a good idea it was to come a few days early. We officially kickstart the tour this evening with a welcome ceremony at TTMA. That means that tomorrow all systems are GO! and we’ll be moving at the speed of light as we wind our way through the Alishan Mountains and make Classic Tung Ting Tea. Tung Ting is also known as Jade Oolong and is one of my favorites.

I’m sipping tea in Taiwan. I’m happy!

Taipei Day 2: Temple of Love, Noodles, and Oolong Tea

Worshiping Oolongs

I love oolong. I drink it morning, noon and night. I’m particularly fond of Oolongs from Taiwan. Could you call it an obsession? Hmm… probably. But there are worst thing, right? Today I’m blogging about a few people that I know who are just as mad about Oolong as I am.

Marilyn. My most beloved acupuncturist who has the warmest, most inviting treatment room in the city and is located in a favorite part of town: Cap Hill/Eastern Market. I’m always relaxed and in a good space after seeing her each week. She is a miracle worker and the results are profound. Those of us in advertising have the unfortunate dilemna of insomnia. Me included. Or rather it used to be me. Thanks to her tiny needles, I sleep just fine. One of the requests I get from her is: “Are you bringing Jade Oolong???” said in a very, well… “I need my oolong” kind of way. She goes through it fast. I’m happy to supply.

high mountain dong ding

Chandler. No, not the guy from Friends. The guy who comes down to talk to me at the Market on Wednesdays. Chandler walked up to me one day and said with excitement, “You have a 2nd flush Darjeeling???” My reply was, “Yeees. Do you know what a 2nd flush is?” He knew quite a bit about it. He bought Darjeeling and we got tea-chit-chatting and I mentioned Oolongs. His eyes sort of lit up when I shared with him that we had a Jade Oolong and a High Mountain Dong Ding. Immediately, he wanted the Dong Ding. I told him that I was taking it off the site for selfish reasons and that I wasn’t sure I wanted to sell anymore. I won’t say he begged, but I was convinced to part with 3 or 4 ounces. It’s now listed on the site as limited quantity. Which it is. This past week he came by to visit again and leaped at the Jade Oolong. I’ve no doubt he will love it. Chandler qualifies as a TeaPeep. We’re happy to have him as a customer. Thanks Chandler!

Teaescapade. Im proud to say we have a fan in teaescapade. Nikki is a tea enthusiast who blogs about tea, does reveiws and really stays connected with many people in the tea industry through her blog. We sent Nikki some samples of our teas to try and on October 5, 2008, she reviewed our Jade Oolong. Check it out and her blog too. She does very comprehensive reviews of teas. Thanks teaescapade!

So, rather than keep blogging Im headed down stairs from some Yellow Gold Oolong (Huang Jin Gui) but that’s another story.

Worshiping Oolongs