Chinese herbal tea, commonly known as “Leung Cha” (涼茶) which literally translate to “chilled tea” is very common in Hong Kong. Unlike Mainland China, where such herbal remedy only comes in packets of dried concentrates (to be mixed with hot or cold water, depending on which type of tea) and sold in supermarkets, Hong Kong seems to have a “Leung Cha” shop in every other block!
So what exactly is this “chilled tea” thing? Well, its not necessarily served cold, if that’s what you’re thinking. You can have a boiling hot bowl of “24 Herbs” (二十四味), which is still considered a “chilled tea”. You’ve heard of the whole Yin and Yang explanation right? All the stuff about balancing the “qi” (the energy within your body)? Long story short, “Yin” is cold and “Yang” is hot and if you’re getting stuff like canker sore, bloatedness from too much junk food, etc. you had better down some “Leung Cha”
According to WebMD, “canker sores occur when you are under stress or run down”, which fits perfectly into the whole Yin Yang stuff.
Because when your body has an abundance of “Yang” you need the “chilled tea” to cool your body down to the Yin side and thus, the balance. A whole load of bullsh*t?! Well, tell that to the 1.3 billion Chinese who’ve been practising this for over 5,000 years.
Anyway, there are plenty of places, traditional or not, that serves Chinese herbal tea or drinks in Hong Kong. I’m not a big fan of some of the more bitter drinks like “24 Herbs” but I do like most of the other ones. I particularly like one called 雞骨草 which I never quite knew the English name for … until today! It called the “Canton Love-pes Vine Tea”. Don’t ask why. Then again 雞骨草 loosely translate into “Chicken Bone Grass” – I’m indifferent between the two names. The ladder sounds kind of funny, but might deter non-Chinese from giving it a shot.
By the way, I’d like to draw similarities between Chinese herbal tea and wheatgrass shots.
ANYWAY, I digress. There’s a really good non-traditional herbal tea shop close to where I work and that’s where I get my Canton Love-pes Vine Tea. HKD 7 a cup and HKD 20 a bottle.
One of these days, I’ll blog about one of the older herbal tea shops called “Gong Wor Tong” (恭和堂) in Causeway Bay and their “Gui Ling Go” (龜苓膏 loosely translate into “Turtle & Some Chinese Herb Paste”, which has some 48(?) types of different herbs) HAHAHA … I have a feeling my readers are getting really put off by this.
Sam Yeung Ho (三樣好)
Wu Pak Street
Aberdeen, Hong Kong