TenRen Tea Shop
Mott Street, near Canal Street, Chinatown, NYC
Review by Susu
The store is surprisingly tidy and clean, considering this IS Chinatown, which can have more than a little bit of the Temple of Doom aspect to it in terms of mysterious piles of sacks and boxes and general filth. Tea can be bought prepackaged loose or in bags, or by the ounce from huge golden cannisters. Earl Gray is fragrant, smelling strongly of bergamot, at $18/lb. Jasmine, made by layering the perfumed white flowers with quality tea, can be $100/lb. There is a two ounce minimum.
Men of power have apparently hungered for tea, and have beaten a path to TenRen to satisfy it. Photos of celebrities and politicians -- including Dubya's dad and über New Yorker Rudy Giuliani -- adorn the walls. In the back, there is a beautiful "export quality" dining set. It's not for sale, but gives the ambience of a bygone time when "chinoiserie" was all the rage. Half the store is also dedicated to the sale of "medicinal" dried ginseng. In fact, the door had a sign on it: "Wisconsin Ginseng is here!"
I love America.
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