Crouching Audience & Hidden Tea Leaves!
Fighting the downtown traffic and finally arriving at this restaurant located in Jalan Maharajalela, calmness swept over me when I stepped into Purple Cane Tea Restaurant. I had no idea why but I guess it might be due to the fact that I was greeted warmly by one of the staff with a very sweet smile who proceeded to usher me towards the table where my friends were already seated.
The retail counter
Looking ahead, I could see that the restaurant was almost at full capacity and just before the seating area, there was a retail counter selling all sorts of tea leaves, tea pots & cups and other accessories. Instead of taking my seat, I delayed myself along the way (much to the amusement of the staff who was there and probably annoyance to my friends as they waited!), I whipped out my camera and started taking photos. What truly caught my attention though was this particular staff who was seated close to the ground and she was brewing tea for customers to sample – with all the pots and cups displayed on a big rustic wood log table just at the side. I joined some of the others who surrounded the table and crouched down to have a better look and was mesmerized by the whole process. The staff began to explain about the different type of tea leaves and even how important it is to follow a certain process, from having the right ambiance, the proper way of brewing tea right down to type of water used for getting a perfect brew.
Watching the tea brewing process
When I finally joined my friends at the table, I noticed that there were different teapots. There were two of each, one for storing the hot water and the other with the tea leaves which we poured the hot water into. The small metal container that you see in the photo belongs to my friend who had brought along his own tea leaves in it.
This one (along with another pot of hot water) contained one of the house tea leaves – Long Jing Green Tea which has a very smooth and invigorating taste, not to mention a lovely aroma too. I would definitely order Long Jing again whenever I'm dining here.
My friends had already ordered the dishes while waiting for me (they are regulars here) and the service staff brought out the rice first. The rice bowl that was set in front of us looked different. I was informed that it was Green Tea Rice and the presence of tea leaves were evident as one can see.
The rice had a slight hint of tea and had an aroma that was unusually different, different in a good way that is! Soon the rest of the dishes were served promptly and first to arrive was Boxing Chicken.
We also ordered the Stir Fried String Beans with Tea Mill and Pickled Radish. This dish was cooked to almost perfection and we like it for the fact that it wasn't that oily too. The pickled radish provided an added “oomph” to the crisp string beans that had been stir fried just right making this dish a crunchy delight! Purple Cane Tea Restaurant's dishes are paired with tea or shall I say, tea leaves are paired with food. They are the first to introduce “Tea Cuisine” and this first restaurant opened its door in 1997 to customers like us who would like something different from the norm.
We left some tummy space to try out the sweet desserts and ended up ordering Almond Beancurd and Green Tea Peanut Paste. I'm not a fan of Almond but after trying some of this Almond Beancurd in Black Tea, I will give Almond a second chance! Once again, the sweetness was spot on and made this a refreshing and unique dessert.
A creamier dessert variety, the Green Tea Peanut Paste was enjoyable too. It was smooth and light and there was definitely an aftertaste of tea with each spoonful I took and it has now become one of my favourites! I had developed a love for Chinese Tea when I was a child as my dad would let me drink right along with him whenever he brewed a pot of it. However, I had somewhat taken Chinese Tea for granted and didn't know the culture behind it and had just plainly enjoyed it for what it is. That was then but now; since my previous and first visit to Purple Cane Tea Restaurant, I have a better respect for tea leaves!
The dishes that I tried were light but yet flavourful. It does seem to be an healthier alternative when compared to the usual Chinese dishes with the addition and infusion of tea leaves. I learnt that tea leaves had a lot of benefits; apart from what I had already known – not just for cutting down the oil or using teabags to soothe my tired eyes. I found out among the many other benefits that one can also use the tea sediments to fertilize plants! The dishes weren't oily or salty and these factors made this dinner a pleasant meal. Coupled with the fact that service was friendly and prompt too, we made a promise to return to Purple Cane Tea Restaurant again and again for our dining pleasure and the betterment of our health!
Purple Cane Tea Restaurant
The KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
No. 1, Jalan Maharajalela
50150 Kuala Lumpur
Opens daily from 11 am – 11 pm
Tel : 603-2272 3090
Fax : 603-2272 3281