Always tea time in Chengdu

Updated: 2013-06-03 08:10

By Zhuan Ti (China Daily)

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It has been said that China has the best teahouses in the world, and Chengdu has the best teahouses in China.

The first thing a visitor notices when walking on the street in Chengdu is that teahouses seem to be on nearly every corner.

The humid weather creates ideal conditions that allow Sichuan to produce some of the best tea in the world, such as Zhuyeqing and Huangya.

Together with Sichuan cuisine, tea is one of the most important aspects of daily life in the province. Locals have created their own culture for drinking tea, which includes distinctive teapots, teacups, and tea ceremonies.

The teacup, also called the "tea-boat", features a cover and a saucer that keeps the water warm and also prevents the tea leaves from going into one's mouth.

The Chengdu tea ceremony is a performance that incorporates dance, martial arts and teapot design. You can see it performed everywhere from the lowliest corner teahouses to luxury shops that cater to the wealthy.

Teahouses can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of wealth. A cup of tea ranges from less than a dollar to more than 10 dollars.

Their relaxing environment makes teahouses centers of social activity, where neighbors chat and play mahjong.

Teahouses are also places for businessmen to get together and make deals.

To see how locals really live, there is no better destination than one of Chengdu's countless teahouses. After one cup, you will fall in love with the city.

(China Daily 06/03/2013 page19)