Walking along Shaftesbury Avenue, pondering where to get some nice tea, it suddenly occurred to me that I was near Chinatown – surely a good place to hunt down supplies.
At number 124 is Beijing Tong Ren Tang. I have gazed at the orange and gold facade many times from the excellent watch-the-world-go-by-window of the cafe of Curzon cinema on the opposite side of the street.
It never really occurred to me to think what they sold, but a display of tea in the window lured me in.
It turns out that Tong Ren Tang is a Chinese herbalist. A web search uncovers:
Tongrentang (TRT) was founded in 1669 and has been designated to provide medicines for the royal pharmacy of the imperial palace of the Qing Dynasty for 188 years
Inside, the floor to ceiling wooden cabinets storing herbs and potions, and the cashier’s desk are reminiscent of an old-fashioned grocers.
There is a good range of chinese teas; the lady who served me was very friendly and knowledgable about the different types. She also kindly wrote the chinese character for ‘tea’.
Tea leaves are sold loose, or in 50g and 100g canisters. I decided on an oolong and a dragon well. They were carefully weighed onto paper from huge red canisters, and decanted into resealable bags.
Both were excellent and at around £7 for 100g, a bargain for quality leaf tea. I was very pleased to find this shop in such a central location. Tong Ren Tang also sell beautiful earthenware and glazed teapots and cups.
|Price range :||Very reasonable for good quality tea|
|Leaf or Bag :||Good range of Chinese tea|
|Teapots etc. :||Interesting earthenware and glazed tea-ware|
|Service :||Friendly and helpful|
|Kitty says:||Pleased to find, in central location|
|Address:|| 124 Shaftesbury Avenue
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