Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2002 Anxi Lao Tie Guan Yin

A rainy and cold January night can be cheered right up with a toasty heating pad, a copy of McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld and a delicious cup of tea. After binging on four volumes of Jane Austen, I need to fix such useless romantic inclinations with gritty tales of the Bulgarian mafia. Although yesterday's Waishan Xiaozhong is a much better match for the macho doings of entrepreneurs with a criminal bent,  I settle on the 2002 Anxi Tie Guan Yin  hoping the caffeine content is just enough for evening reading.  This aged oolong has been baked but once a decade ago.

The first two brews present a pleasing vanilla and honey taste but the subsequent brews get progressively more acidic, bitter and even a bit sour.  Yet another reference point for aged oolong. These single farmer's batch are always a gamble.  My prior dinner of North Indian curries probably left my palate not ideal for delicacy.  The better versions of aged oolong I've been privy to thanks to MarshalN tend to brew progressively mellower and sweeter. Perhaps this Anxi oolong needs another decade or two to ease in.  I'm willing to wait with the two other vacuum packed mini-bags of 7g each.

It's too late in the night to brew other aged and non aged roasted oolong for comparison. Ira sent me home with samples of MarshalN's curated oolong so I definitely have fun oolong homework which I am saving for my 10 day island break next week although the tea making situation has not been entirely cleared yet.


The above storefront is my favorite meat joint in Oakland Chinatown called Gum Kuo. I have the exceedingly good fortune to walk past it almost everyday to work.  I stopped there this morning to get a healing bowl of juk/congee with preserved egg and salted pork. There is a similar roast meat shop right next door but somehow, Gum Kuo has all the flavor.  

10 comments:

  1. Funny, on the last of my 2001 Dong Ding I just enjoyed..thanks for the tip about Gum Kuo..don't spend much time in O-Chinatown.

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  2. Congee w/ preserved egg and salted pork? Mega-jealous.

    -I

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    1. The pork liver congee is also particularly fine as is their frog leg congee. They also have pig bungnuts which I haven't had the gumption to try.

      h

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  3. I really enjoy the Oakland Chinatown. I've even scored some good puerh in some of the grocery stores there. I live far away but make an excuse to travel to the Bay Area a couple of time a year and I'll often stay in downtown Oakland even if my primary destination is The City.

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    1. Dear B,

      Please do tell which stores carry good puerh. Oakland definitely has increased it's charms over the years and the Oakland Chinatown definitely is more vibrant and real than the SF Chinatown.

      H

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    2. Hster,
      I agree with you on that point, even though, as my gf says (who has family who live near it), it looks like S***.
      I mentioned before there is a shop I visited some months back that had quite a few cakes. I chatted with the owners in Chinese for awhile. They seemed to speak virtually no English and not ever get any clients who weren't Chinese. Now that I've been busily educating myself about the puer world I'm going to have to pay a repeat visit and investigate--too bad they don't give samples of those cakes, as far as I know. I will file a report in due time..

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    3. I hope you're not talking about Q & C Natural Trading Company at the corner of 7th and Webster. They had the largest selection of puerh in all of Chinatown. They closed at the end of last year which makes me regretful I never took in a translator for me.

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  4. Looking on google maps--Damn, yes, that's it! I can't say I'm surprised--I'm not sure of how many of those shops in any Chinatown stay open, considering for the most part, their business plans seems to consist of "buy lots of stuff from China and hope people buy it," doubly damning if you are trying to move higher quality goods and don't have an audience beyond the old Cantonese Grandpas walking around, who are probably buying $5/kg type junk anyways..
    Pity.

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    1. Well- those beengs had to relocate somewhere so I'll keep my eyes open to see if they sold the inventory to someone else. They had hundreds of cakes.

      I dared not buy any beengs there as most of the beengs were out in full dry air. But one always regrets what one can't have any more.

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    2. *shrug* most tea shops I've seen in China&Taiwan store them pretty similarly, just less dry conditions.

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