New Downtown Teahouse Comes Out Of Its Shell
by Paul Bass | Apr 3, 2014 2:57 pm
Posted to: Arts & Culture, Dining, Business/ Economic Development, Food, Chef Of The Week
As Buddha kept watch in the ornate dining room, Yoko Ishikawa fished a hard-boiled egg from the bath. A souchong bath.
Ishikawa was inside the kitchen of The Green Teahouse, a new spot next to Basta and Claire’s on Chapel Street. It specializes in subtle and exotic loose teas from China as well as a full menu of dishes, all cooked with tea. Like the souchong tea-infused eggs Oshikawa was preparing the other day.
The Green Teahouse has quietly served customers for weeks now. This week a sign went up; a grand opening is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday featuring a Chinese Lion Dance as well as a “traditional tea-pouring ceremony” for Mayor Toni Harp. Free cookies and glasses of tea will be served.
The teahouse is an offshoot of a West Hartford outlet of the same name, started by University of New Haven business school grad Ting Luo and featuring the teas her family serves at a half-dozen teahouses in Chendu, in China’s Sichuan Province. The West Hartford outlet sells packaged tea.
The New Haven shop is the first of an envisioned chain of full-blown restaurants and peaceful hangouts, filled with wall hangings ...
... bowls ...
... and other objects from China.
Every dish from the tofu salad to the edamame dumplings to the okra rice is cooked with tea. Ishikawa and Anthony Valverde, one of six Gateway Community College students employed at teahouse, demonstrated how they were preparing the tea-infused eggs.
They began by boiling 25 ounces of water and adding one tablespoon of lapsang souchong tea, imported, like other varieties in the establishment, from China. They added a half teaspoon of soy sauce, one tablespoon of salt. They mixed in a Chinese space called hakka.
They boiled eggs for eight minutes. Then they put them in cold water, peeled them.
They poured the tea mixture over the peeled eggs, then kept them soaking overnight. That way “the egg will absorb most of the tea and the nutrients,” explained Ishikawa (who hails from Japan).
Their skin had yellowed by the time Ishikawa sliced each egg in quarters, then sprinkled chopped scallions on top.