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Anyone who comes to Jiufen Old Street should never miss this Jiufen A Mei Tea House. Said to have a hundred year of history, the teahouse is said to be located at the highest part of the mountain. To us it is the highlight of this trip. I have had enough seeing many photos about this place, today, I want to experience it personally!
Located along the coastline, Jiufen is a small sleeping village until gold was discovered in the early 1900’s. But it fell into a deserted town again when gold was depleted and the mining works stopped in 1970’s. Ironically, it was the movie A City Of Sadness (悲情城市) filmed here in 1990’s that revived the town. Viewers might have forgotten the storyline, but who can forget the nostalgic streets of Jiufen Old Street? The film having won an honourable award charmed many around the world and almost instantly turned Jiufen into a must-see tourist attraction!
After walking through the many narrow lanes in the Old Street, you would noticed a large congregation of tourists along the steep stairs, it indicates that you have come to a very special attraction.
You might not have heard of this A Mei Teahouse,but the many red lanterns and large red paper calligraphy along the steep staircase tells you that there is a ‘national treasure’ around here.
Had we took the taxi package, due to the time constraints, we certainly would not have enough time to enter the teahouse, which was what many visitors felt as they saw this wonderful heritage.
The entrance to the tea house. The Chinese wordings on its entrance reads : A Mei Tea House. It took me 15 minutes to get a clear shot of this popular spot.
I have been avoiding taking any picture of myself, but there had to be an exception for a historical site like this.
Enter into the tea house, the aroma of tea leaves is especially strong. The exhibits of tea pots and Chinese paintings along the walls instantly brings you a hundred years back into history, exactly like the many Chinese Kung-Fu sword fighting site you have been watching from movie.
The tea house is huge, from what I have seen, there are 4 places to enjoy your tea:
The teahouse consists of 2 floors, as the lower floor is fully occupied, we were lead to the upper floor. They promised us a scenic view……and yes, here I could enjoy a panoramic view of Jiufen!
As our stomach was already 90% filled with the street food, I ordered the simplest meal of all- a set meal……or rather a few plates of snacks.
Above picture : single portion. Below picture : family portion.
The tea is not served with just the set brought to you, a waitress would come to do a fantastic presentation.
Watching a tea ceremony is like watching a dance, where every steps is choreographed, from how to prepare the tea leaves to how much water to pour. It’s an art! This is not the first time I have seen such, but no matter how many times you have seen the ceremony it is always refreshing.
Having seen that, just relaxed and enjoyed the scenic view of Jiufen. The view…… however, is not as stunning as we have in mind. It is rather cloudy on that day, perhaps it is because typhoon is still around the area.
There’s no free’ tea’ in this world, how much does it cost for the set we ordered? TWD$300 (USD$9.65), not sure if it is expensive, we merely sat there for 45 minutes, but what we intended to is not the tea, we wanted the experience of having tea in this dreamt teahouse. The cost has never been an issue in this aspect.
Everything about this teahouse is great. The ambience is great, the tea is great, the tea set is great, even the menu is unique.
Taking a closer look at the menu, many types of tea leaves are there for your selection, which included the famous Tie-Guan-Yin and Pu’ers. Order from this menu, and you would noticed the price is quite costly.
Nevertheless, I love the way the menu is presented- on a set of traditional bamboo sticks, just like the old days. Noticed that when it is handed over to travelers, many actually ‘wow’ on the presentation.
We loved everything about this teahouse, but we did not particularly enjoyed the meal time. Half way through, the atmosphere was totally spoiled by the few workers working around the area. They didn’t seem to care about the customers sitting around, instead of waiting for the customers to finish their meal, they chased some to another area for obstructing their work, yet all they did was to clean the ceiling fan.
It’s not nice to be brewing your lovely tea only to see the waitress mopping and sweeping the floor just beside you. Overall I found that the service here left much to be desired. They were more attentive to group tours who already had their reservations made, and neglected those walked-in customers. We were lead to the upper floor, only to wait for 20 minutes without anyone serving us until I called, despite the many staff who were around chit-chatting. Beside us was actually a group of 4 who were there before us, they left frustrated without any orders after not being served.
We saw almost a dozen of teahouses at Jiufen, many were just steps away from A Mei Teahouse. I’m a coffee drinker, not a tea lover, but it is the experience that I want to be with, had I got the time I would want to try each and every of the teahouses.
All said, would I visit this Jiufen A Mei Teahouse again? Certainly yes! A Mei Teahouse is symbolic to Jiufen, it is iconic, no visitors should miss it! Taking a few pictures at its exterior and then past by it is simply not enough. This is not a photo-stop, it’s a fantastic invaluable experience! If you had look at the picture I have presented here, you’d noticed that I have came here twice……yes, twice, in 4 months, that’s how high I ranked this tea house!
Other tea houses:
Below picture :Other teahouses with superb scenic view!
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