Drinking tea like wine

Many of my guests have asked me, "what do Taiwanese people drink when they have dinner?". Because they notice Taiwanese people often don't drink wine or beer when they eat. I thought it's quite normal not to have alcohol when eating, like we sometimes do in Taiwan. Then I realized that although we don't drink wine, we do have tea while eating.

For example, at the big Chinese restaurant at the top of the W Hotel in Taipei, a waitress might ask guests what sort of tea they would like to have with their dinner, instead of offering a wine selection.

If you order more vegetable, fish, or chicken dishes, thenoolong tea wth white radish cake in taiwan lightly fermented Oolong would suit these dishes better. In some ways, the selection of different tea varieties to accompany food is similar to choosing an appropriate wine to go with lunch or dinner in the West – though without the alcohol content, obviously. For example, the role of lightly fermented Oolong is quite similar to that of white wine. A good choice might be high mountain Oolong.

If you have ordered more pork, beef, lamb, or stewed dishes, then semi-fermented Oolong would be a better choice, which plays a role similar to red wine on the table. Other choices of tea are Dong di Oolong, Oriental beauty or Pu er.


Photo by Joyce Tay

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I never thought of the teas

I never thought of the teas being like wines for selecting with meals. It makes sense though! What about jasmine tea? What would that be pared with?

Jasmine tea, I would serve

Jasmine tea, I would serve with vegetables, seafood, white meat dishes, and Chinese dessert. Thank you for your question.

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