The Intersection of Taste and Relationships: Exploring Guangdong Morning Tea
Simplicity and speed are what modern urban dwellers pursue in their breakfast. Still, Cantonese people also take a moment to slow down on weekend mornings. Sipping a cup of fragrant tea, indulging in delicate dim sum, and passing the morning away in casual conversation, they embark on a new day.
I am Linmei. I come from Guangdong, a region in southern China. In Guangdong, the phrase "Let's go for morning tea when you are free" is a daily Cantonese greeting. Morning tea features diverse, but small dishes of dim sum, such as shrimp dumplings, egg tarts, BBQ pork buns, and pork siu mai, accompanied by a pot of tea. The rich aroma of the tea and the tantalizing heat from the food refresh us. Morning tea is a cherished family tradition that brings us together to share our joys and concerns.
The origins of morning tea can be traced back over 150 years to the Qing Dynasty. The practice was not only about enjoying food and tea, but it also created the opportunity for people to expand their social network and exchange information.
In those days, the toiling masses needed a place to rest and satisfy their hunger. As a result, tea pavilions were established. While rough in appearance, these pavilions provided laborers with a space to dine and exchange information with others. For example, the diners could inquire about which wharf was recruiting boatmen. The popularity of tea pavilions eventually caught the attention of affluent individuals, who recognized the potential of the locations for business discussions. As a result, luxurious and elegant teahouses gradually emerged, where they would entertain their business partners. In the relaxed atmosphere, oral agreements for commercial transactions might be reached.
Today, morning tea remains an indispensable tradition for Cantonese people. It is a heartwarming exchange built around tea and food tasting, fostering close connections among people.
Edited: Andru Shively
早茶的起源可以追溯到 150 多年前的清朝。早茶不仅是为了品尝食物和茶。它还为人们扩大社交网络和交流信息创造了良机。
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