WINE&DINE - September - October 2020
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For someone who doesn’t drink coffee, tea is a big part of my life (and diet) from having Chinese tea with dim sum for breakfast to a warm, sobering teh halia with two kosong pratas after a drunk night out. It’s a versatile ingredient enjoyed as a beverage or in food, as Pek Sin Choon, the oldest and biggest supplier of tea for bak kut teh eateries, will tell you (p72). The relaxing and meditative headspace it induces is especially welcomed now in this time of uncertainty and budget cuts. We have Singapore’s rich multiracial history to thank for the numerous versions of the brew, but tea drinking has also been adopted by cultures abroad then embellished with beliefs and rituals unique to each country (p36). And, of course, we can’t dedicate a whole issue to tea without going back to where it all began in China to investigate its correlation with deeper thinking (p44). Imbued with meaning, tea is no longer just a drink. For some, it’s so intrinsically linked to their heritage and livelihood that they’ve built a museum for it, while others devote their lives to educating students on fully understanding the beverage (p64). Pu’er leaves, when aged in the proper conditions, have even become collectibles that are highly sought after in auction houses (p52), which brings us to the inevitable conclusion—tea should be appreciated the same way wine is (p86 & p102). But whatever your level of passion for the pekoe, there’s no denying the beauty of various teaware it has inspired (p28) and its magic as the glue to our social fabric in a global context or downstairs at the kopitiam (p60).
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