The Tea Experience

by Louise Manjaji.

Superstitions?  Abound.  Language hurdles?  Of course!

Chinese tea.  Steaming hot.  The perfect drink to accompany lunch.  In Asia anyway.  Among the Chinese anyway.  The older Chinese anyway.  Or maybe it’s just me.  And a handful of health-nuts and traditionalists.  For the record, I’m (a tiny) part Chinese.

But that doesn’t make me an expert at tea drinking.  Not even remotely.  But I do know how it makes me feel.  Refreshed, cleansed and rejuvenated.  Does that sound too commercial slogan-ish?

I looked up some (web) experts on tea – who knows where they get their source from – and found a quote that I kinda like.  According to them (a few had the quote on their sites – not that this lends validity to the quote – they probably copied off each other – same thing I’m doing now.  Haha), according to an ancient Chinese proverb, get this:

Better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one

Wow, right?  Who would’ve guessed.  Guess this might one day be the basis of a new diet fad.  What am I saying?  It probably is already. Anyway, the three cups of tea in the picture were actually part of a lunch for two.  According to someone I know, whose sources have yet to be verified, the third cup is for any unseen guest sitting at the table.  Woaahhh. Not to say I am superstitious but OK! Let’s set out a third cup!  Besides if it does no harm to anything or anyone, then I’m all for it!

Among the many many types of Chinese tea, my personal favourite is the emperor tea, which I was introduced to just last Chinese New Year. 

A few weeks passed by before I had another opportunity to dine at a Chinese restaurant.  And there, armed with a new tea repertoire, I announced (with a somewhat arrogant(ish) air), that I wanted emperor tea.  The lady did not understand me.  So thinking that language was a barrier, I said it in Chinese.  I said Wong Cha.  She still didn’t have a clue.  I repeated it a few times. 

Remember how practice makes perfect?  I thought maybe it was my pronunciation. 

WONG Cha.  Wong CHA.  Woung Charr.  Pfft.  I even tried raising my voice.  What the heck, right?  Still no success.  So I gave up and ordered the house hot Chinese tea. 

Much later, I lamented to friends about the scarcity of Wong Cha.  Instead of sympathizing, they burst out laughing.  One said, well of course my dear, you should have said Cha Wong. Well, duh.  Blame me for my poor Chinese but I wonder if it’s such a stretch to figure out Cha Wong from Wong Cha! 

I did manage to order Cha Wong at another establishment, but I only wanted one cup. The lady said not possiberr.  Ah well.

About the Author Louise Manjaji writes (scripts mostly) for a living. Sometimes she moonlights as technical writer in the oil and gas and energy sector.

By MyCerita Rakyat

This blog is repository of stories of Malaysian life from anyone who wants to contribute to share with us a true experience as a Malaysian and anyone who lives in Malaysia. We accept stories from all ethnicities and groups. Our only request is that you honor diversity and inclusion and use this forum only to share experiences that reflect the reality of Malaysian living. We ask that you restrict political commentary and stereotyping, and not go beyond the facts of the story you share. We reserve the right to accept, edit and publish any narrative that is submitted. Thank you. The Cerita Rakyat Team

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