All things Chinese tea, food and culture.

Hello Tea Cup

Hello Tea Cup

An authentic magazine about all things tea, food and Chinese culture.

Recent Tea Posts

Why Chrysanthemum Tea is Good for Skin

Why Chrysanthemum Tea is Good for Skin

Drinking Chrysanthemum tea has a long history in Chinese culture. It is well known for its soothing aroma and multiple benefits for the human body including detoxification, clearing up the hot flashes, improving eyesight, relieving symptoms of sore throat and fever. But did you know […]

8 Hunan Cuisine Dishes To Order When Travelling in China

8 Hunan Cuisine Dishes To Order When Travelling in China

The Hunan cuisine (湖南菜/湘菜) is best known for its common use of chili peppers. Due to its spicy dishes, it’s often compared with the Sichuan cuisine. If you ask any Chinese what their impression of Hunan food is, they will most likely tell you one […]

Pairing Cakes with Tea

Pairing Cakes with Tea

If you love tea, and you want to know what food goes well with tea, you simply can’t miss out on delicious cakes. Yet, every cake is different and depending on the taste profile, you’ll want to pair with the right tea. For tea and dessert pairings purposes, cakes can be divided into 3 types: fruity, chocolate, and cheese cakes.

Fruit cakes and tea pairing

Fruity desserts such as strawberry cakes one of the most popular types of cakes, but pairing them with tea isn’t always easy. A strong black tea easily flushes way the fruitiness, which isn’t the effect you want. A way more compatible tea is white tea. Young loose leaf white teas have flowery and fruity notes. The flowery aroma perfectly complements the strawberry and lemon cakes.

If the fruity cake is also somewhat savoury, then go for aged white tea. Aged whites taste more like ripe fruit, which will suit a savoury fruit came more than flowery notes of young white tea.

Chocolate cakes and tea pairing

When pairing tea with a chocolate cake, what you want to focus on is: matching intensity. If you’re serving a white or milk chocolate style cake, then go for a more delicate black tea such as jin jun mei. It’s a famous black tea from Fujian that contains entirely out of golden buds.

Yet, when you’ve a dark chocolate cake or mousse, you should match the intensity with a ripe pu erh tea. Such a tea tastes earthy and dark with a very smooth mouthfeel so you can beautifully drink down that chocolate flavour that’s in the mouth.

Cheese cakes and tea pairing

Tea and cheese? Honestly, we really were scratching our heads when we’re asked this question for the first time. If you’re not gonna experiment with this in practice, you’re not gonna get answers. When it comes to pairing cheese cakes with tea, imagination is simply not gonna help you.

What we discovered, is that cheese flavours go extremely well with a Dragon well teas (or ‘Longjing’) and other nutty type of green teas. This is a tea from the West Lake region near Hangzhou, China. However, when you select a Dragon well tea, you need to make sure you’re getting the right type. In China, Longjings are roughly categorised in nutty and bean-like types. For pairing with cheese cakes, you want to make sure you’re getting the nutty type, with a stronger roast to match the taste of cheese. Longjings with a bean-style aroma are simply too delicate to enjoy together with sweet desserts.

Teforia Shuts Down: 10 Reasons Why Teforia Failed

Teforia Shuts Down: 10 Reasons Why Teforia Failed

Teforia is a startup that developed a sophisticated tea infuser accompanied with a smart mobile app. The company started off well with excellent publicity on sites like TechCrunch, Gizmodo and Engadget. And as you can see on the video below, it was presentation was promising. […]

8 Authentic Cantonese Food Dishes (With Video Recipes)

8 Authentic Cantonese Food Dishes (With Video Recipes)

Cantonese cuisine is one of China’s Eight Famous Cuisines and it’s also known as the ‘Guangdong cuisine’ (广东菜) or ‘Yue cuisine’ (粤菜). Cantonese food was the first Chinese food style that was introduced to the West, as the early days’ Chinese immigrants were from Guangdong […]

8 Delicious Szechuan Cuisine Dishes (With Food Video Recipes)

8 Delicious Szechuan Cuisine Dishes (With Food Video Recipes)

As one of the Eight Famous Cuisines in China, Sichuan (or ‘Szechuan’) food has gained its popularity around the country for its unique style: pungent, spicy, full of exciting flavours. As a matter of fact, more and more gourmets outside of China are getting hooked on dishes from the Sichuan cuisine as well.

This post is the very first article of our blog series on Chinese food. Subscribe to our blog if you want to stay up to date with follow up articles on the other Chinese cuisines.

We have selected for you a list of 8 original and legendary Sichuan dishes that are definitely worth to try in a Szechuan restaurant. We’ve even included video recipes in case you want to give it a try in your own kitchen.

1. Twice Cooked Pork (Hui Guo Rou, 回锅肉)Twice Cooked Pork Hui Guo Rou 回锅肉

When it comes to Sichuan food, Twice Cooked Pork is arguably the king of Sichuan dishes. This dish originated from sacrifices: The pork that was offered to spirits and people’s ancestors was brought back after the ceremony. Then it was cooked for the second time, that’s how the dish got its interesting name.

In modern times, the pork belly is often used to cook this this. That’s because the belly fat is packed with flavour. I still recall the first time I had it when I was little; it smelled amazing! And the pork looked fat but didn’t taste greasy. Usually the pork is boiled with spices first, then stir-fried with green garlic and bean sauce.

Here’s an excellent demonstration of how you can cook this delicious dish yourself:

2. Kung Pao Chicken (Gong Bao Ji Ding, 宫保鸡丁)

Kung Pao Chicken Gong Bao Ji Ding 宫保鸡丁

It’s definitely one of the most well-known Sichuan dishes and also known as Szechuan Chicken. The main ingredients are chicken breast, deep-fried peanuts and dried chili pepper. Imagine the tender chicken combined with crispy peanuts, yum! The flavour is sweet, savoury, and a little spicy. It’s just perfect to go with a bowl of white rice.

Find the easy recipe video below:

3. Ma Po Tofu (Ma Po Dou Fu, 麻婆豆腐)Ma Po Tofu Ma Po Dou Fu 麻婆豆腐

Mapo tofu was created by a restaurant owner in Chengdu about 150 years ago. Mapo literally means “pock-marked older lady” due to the pock-marks on the face of the restaurant owner. The main ingredients include tofu, minced meat, bean paste, and Sichuan peppercorns. This dish looks simple, but it has complex flavours and textures: pungent, spicy, with tender tofu cubes and crispy minced meat. Very tasty.

In the video below Angel Wong shows you how to cook an authentic Mapo Tofu:

4. Pork Lungs in Chili Sauce ( Fu Qi Fei Pian, 夫妻肺片)

Pork Lungs in Chili Sauce Fu Qi Fei Pian, 夫妻肺片

The name of this cold dish means “husband and wife lung slice” in Chinese, sounds a bit scary!  But not to worry, it’s just ox entrails, and rarely with pork lungs. In the 1930s, a couple who was selling entrails on the street made this dish super popular among the locals in Chengdu with their secret recipe.  The entrails are finely sliced, marinated with hot chili oil Sichuan peppercorn powder. I was hesitant to try when my friend ordered this dish , but eventually I tried it as a challenge. Now I order it as an appetizer each time I have Sichuan food, delicious!

Well cooking this dish might be easy, but you’ll need specifically ask for pork lungs at your local butcher. If will sell it to you for the price of cheap sausages. If you’re lucky you might get them for free. Here’s a recipe video (sorry for the fact that it’s in Chinese, but it’s absolutely the best video recipe):

5. Dongpo Pig Knuckle (Dong Po Zhou Zi, 东坡肘子)

Dongpo Pig Knuckle Dong Po Zhou Zi 东坡肘子

Dongpo Pig Knuckle is named after famous Sichuan poet Su Dongpo from Song Dynasty, but it was actually invented by Su’s wife. It’s first boiled and then simmered for 3 hours with various cooking ingredients – in total 17 of them in the original recipe! The meat is so soft that could melt in the mouth, hearty and comforting.

Here’s a simplified recipe that you can actually cook at home:

6. Poached Beef in Hot Sauce (Shui Zhu Niu Rou, 水煮牛肉)

Poached Beef in Hot Sauce Shui Zhu Niu Rou, 水煮牛肉

This is another common Sichuan dish. It’s prepared with pre-marinated fresh beef and multiple ingredients like ginger, garlic, Sichuan peppercorns, cooking wine, broth and chili oil. With its bright-coloured appearance and alluring smell, the tasty tender beef slices paired with numbingly spicy broth deliver a wonderful sensation. Meat lovers would definitely find this rich-flavoured dish satisfying.

Here’s a demonstration!

7. Fish-Flavoured Shredded Pork (Yu Xiang Rou Si, 鱼香肉丝)Fish-Flavoured Shredded Pork Yu Xiang Rou Si 鱼香肉丝

Despite the name, this scrumptious dish actually doesn’t contain any fish. The fish flavour comes from the combination of the ingredients and seasonings like pickled chili, spring onion, ginger, garlic, black fungus, sugar, soy sauce, Sichuan bean paste, bamboo shoots, etc. Shredded pork tenderloin is stir-fried with all the ingredients, and then mixed with its special sauce. The taste is savory, fresh, sweet and sour, can easily work up an appetite.

See below the recipe video:

8. Fish Soup with Sichuan Pickles (Suan Cai Yu, 酸菜鱼)Fish Soup with Sichuan Pickles Suan Cai Yu, 酸菜鱼

Originated from Chongqing region, you can now see this dish in almost every Sichuan restaurant. Grass carp or black carp are usually used for this dish, cooked with aged pickled mustard greens, spices and broth. The fish fillets are delicate and silky; the soup is spicy with a nice vinegary tang, but not overpowering. Try putting noodles into the soup, it’s surprisingly good!

History of Haiwan Tea Industry

History of Haiwan Tea Industry

With a history of over a thousand years of tea cultivation, Yunnan has given rise to many famous tea professionals. Zou Bingliang and Lu Guoling are among the best of the generations of “tea people” (Cha Ren) in Yunnan. Since the 50‘s, Zou and Lu […]

Chinese Cooling Tea Recipes!

Chinese Cooling Tea Recipes!

If you are drinking some kind of cooling tea in China, most likely you will hear people ask you questions involving this term “Shang Huo”. Literally means “rising fire”, in Chinese Traditional Medicine, Shang Huo refers to “suffering from excessive internal heat” caused by the […]

History of Chinatea (Zhongcha/CNNP/COFCO) – Kunming Tea Factory

History of Chinatea (Zhongcha/CNNP/COFCO) – Kunming Tea Factory

history zhongcha cnnp chinatea

As one of the four main Pu erh tea factories, Chinatea (Zhongcha), also known as China National Native Produce & Animal By-Products Import & Export Corporation (CNNP), has been through a series of significant changes.

Chinatea Logo
Chinatea Logo

1944 – The Yunnan Tea Corporation was founded on December 16.

1950 – In August, the company was taken over by Kunming Military Control Commission and changed its name to Yunnan China Tea Trading Company. In September, Yunnan Branch of China Tea Company was founded. Mr. Wu Juenong, who was considered the contemporary tea saint and the first manager of China Tea’s head office.

1951 – Zhongcha (Chinatea) became a registered trademark on September 14.

1952 – The famous logo of Chinatea was born. One green character of “cha (tea)” was surrounded by eight red characters of “zhong (China)”, that’s why it was called “ba zhong” (eight china) label. It’s today known as the most classic logo in the Pu erh tea history.

1972 – After several mergers, China National Native Produce & Animal By-Products Import & Export Corporation Yunnan Tea Branch (CNNP) was founded.

1973 – The manual piling fermentation technology for ripe Pu erh tea was successfully developed in Chinatea’s affiliated company – Kunming Tea Factory. It was the revolutionary innovation of Pu erh industry.

1976 – For export needs, Pu erh labels were standardised. Four digits were used for tea cakes. The first two digits referred to the recipe’s origin year. The third referred to the grade of the processed tea leaves (mao cha) used, and the last one is the number of the tea factory. 1 meant Kunming Tea Factory, 2 was Menghai Tea Factory, and 3 was Xiaguan Tea Factory.

1988 – After the second stage of China’s foreign trade system reform, the company name changed to China National Native Produce & Animal By-Products Yunnan Tea Import & Export Corporation.

1996~2003 – It was a chaotic period for Chinatea. Kunming Tea Factory suspended production in 1996. Since then, the company licensed it’s Zhongcha (Chinatea) brand to tea factories. Among those factories, there were big and well-known factories like Menghai, Xiaguan and Guoyan as well as small scaled ones. At the same time, a good deal of fake Chinatea appeared in the market too.

During this period, it was a challenge to find real Zhongcha cakes. However, for Chinese collectors there’s a higher possibility to find a good cake at better prices. Teasenz recently launched a CNNP tea cake from this period.

2003~2006 – The company took serious measures to work on the management, and discontinued the brand “Chinatea”. During this period all the tea that produced used the brand name “Jixing”, and Kunming Tea Factory gradually resumed production. The company stopped licensing its brand to other factories, and owned its own ecological tea gardens.

2006 – The company regained the brand Chinatea. Since then, it has been a member of China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO).


How to Make Orange Peel Tea? Recipes, Food Pairings & Health Benefits

How to Make Orange Peel Tea? Recipes, Food Pairings & Health Benefits

Who wouldn’t want to have an orange for a healthy snack? Oranges are known to have plenty of health benefits together with their juicy, delicious taste. Usually, people eat the flesh of this fruit and just throw the peels away. To save these peels and […]