Thursday, April 4, 2013

What was I doing in a tea shop?

I was prowling along Tanjong Pagar Road on the outskirts of Chinatown on a very hot day. The heat and humidity in Singapore has really been making me shed a lot. I spotted a shop with an open door, ran in and hid under a counter. The air conditioning and cool tile floor were so refreshing!
The shop is called Yixing Xuan Teahouse and is owned by Mr Vincent Low, a very accomplished man who had been a banker with an MBA from Brunel University in West London. He decided to give up that lifestyle to study tea in China and Taiwan and then open his tea shop in Singapore. The shop has a beautiful display of teas, tea pots, and other tea related paraphernalia. It also has a small restaurant specializing in dim sum.
In the rear portion of the store is a small lecture room. Mr Low has been  conducting lectures on the history (tea has been around for 4000 years) and culture of tea growing and preparation since 1989. As I hid under the counter I was fortunate that a group of 8 people were attending one of his lectures. I was fascinated to learn about the ceremony involved in true tea enjoyment.
Schools send their kids on field trips here and corporations have team building events here as well. Many famous personalities have visited the shop including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Now another famous celebrity ,Purrla, has been here as well!


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