Black Robe Lane
"...where swallows once sheltered in Wongs and Tses*
they now frequent homes of common people"
-- LAU Yu-sik
*Note: Wongs and Tses, two powerful and affluent clans during the Chin dynasty (278-419).
The greatest thing about the fall of the monarchy in China at the turn of last century, in terms of our culinary enjoyment, is the unveiling of a flurry of court cuisine to the masses. For instance, the kung fu style of pouring tea (倒茶功), once a stunt reserved in courts and palaces to entertain a selected few, was only made known to ordinary people when the tea masters (the swallows) were forced to go about their livings in teahouses (the masses) after aristocracy (Wongs and Tses) was wiped out.
In palaces, the differentiation of labor was diminutive to the level beyond belief. It was very common for a cook to be in charge of cooking his masters only one single dish or one tea master to brew only one kind of tea all his life. Heeding to the "practice makes perfect" dictum, these attendants should be the best in their trade for they're doing their ploys day in and day out. In fact, they'd better be: If the food tasted one bit revolting or one drip of tea was spilled over on the ill-tempered ruler's gold-embroidered cloak, they might as well have themselves end up in the gallow.
Showed here are four of the 18 tea-pouring kung fu moves performed by Tea Master Mr. Wu Feng at the Donglaishun of Hong Kong. From left: 1) Eagle Spread; 2) Stream from Mountain's High; 3) Blade on Kwun Yu(note: Chinese God of War)'s Back; and Tale of Dragon's Tail. Please,I beg you, go there in a gang of 18 or more so that you can see all the moves! Or, if you dare, go there by two and order 9 rounds of it. It costs just HK$28 a round.
And, a bonus antic for the double tips you squandered:
-- picture from news.sina.com.cn