No discussion on Chinese culture can be complete without touching upon the tea house scene in the country. Tea houses are central to social meetups and leisure in all parts of China. Yet, some of the most traditional teahouses are found in the city of Chengdu.
The tea house culture originated during the Song dynasty and spread to villages and cities around the country. During the Ming & Qing dynasties, they steadily grew in popularity with the number of tea houses exceeding restaurants. Tea house owners in the Song dynasty liked to decorate them with calligraphy, paintings and indoor plants. As China progressed into modernity, the tea houses also adapted to the new tastes of customers.
Today, one can find tea houses with a variety of décor and aesthetics, including western influences. However, the basic culture remains the same. People still congregate to socialise and relax over tea. In the winters, tonics to keep the body warm are added to the tea while in the summers, cold drinks and innovative concoctions including sweet bean paste, plum water and papaya juice find themselves in the mix.
On today’s tour we will visit a tea house to see the local culture, first-hand. You will also get up and close to locals engaging in the popular game of Mahjong. Students will be able to interact with locals under the supervision of our expert presenters, and enhance their Mandarin skills.