Friday, December 16, 2011
Herbal Tea Shops
Passing by the medicinal halls and herbal tea shops in Hong Kong, I paused more than once to stare at their wares in absolute fascination. We still have these in Singapore, but I haven't really noticed them much. Plus Chinese herbs and herbal teas don't feature in my diet, so they're always a source of wonder and fascination, along with the idea of treatment of ailment by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). I don't subscribe to TCM though. Of course I can't tell you if this is still so if I'm stricken with a terminal disease, but it won't be my first choice of treatment.
I remember the grandmothers faithfully followed the advice of their mother-in-law to boil 'cooling' herbal drinks for the family, and also use herbs in savory soups and desserts. But when I came along, they had to boil a separate special portion for me because I reacted to most herbs except snow and black fungus, gingko nuts, wolfberries and bird's nest.
I avoid bamboo shoots because the first time I ate them, the skin, eyes and airways swelled, and that, was excruciating painful. Till now, when the friends forget and add ginseng or some cordyceps thingy into savory soups, and I neglect to ask about the ingredients and merrily ingest a bowl, hives invariably break out within 2 hours. Ugh. Not all teas are good for me either, especially kuzuyu and lapacho Sometimes, I'm even a little suspicious of that rather yummy longan and red date tea.