10 Facts I Learned in SF’s Chinatown

I spent a week in Sonoma and San Francisco at the end of March with my mom. My grandpa lives in the Veteran’s home in Yountville, right next to Napa, so we visited with him and made sure he’s doing well. We had never been to Sonoma before, and I have to admit, it might be my new favorite wine destination. After many long drives to far distant Sonoma wineries, too many (generous pouring) wine tastings, and a case of mixed wine later we were packed in the car and driving down to San Fran for a day and half before we flew back down to Southern California.

Credit: Chanel Hason
Credit: Chanel Hason

When I made a trip to SF in December 2012, my previous boss/friend/mentor made a sort of “SF Bucket List” for me to accomplish whenever I’m in the city. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to accomplish much in December, so I wanted to make sure I did at least one of those bucket list items this time around. Item #1 – visit a place in Chinatown in SF called “Vital Tea Leaf” and speak to “Uncle Gee.” First some background on myself, I drink tea religiously. I had to stop drinking coffee in college because it was too acidic for my stomach, so I quit coffee cold turkey and became fixated on tea ever since. I usually drink some type of black tea in the morning, English Breakfast or Earl Grey, and Green Tea throughout the day. I mostly use tea bags, nothing too fancy. So my mentor REALLY wanted me to go to this tea shop and learn why Chinese loose leaf tea is the best tea out there and to learn all the crazy background tea knowledge from Uncle Gee.

Vital Tea Leaf

We found the tea shop, and unfortunately Uncle Gee was sleeping in that day, but we got to chat with his son who was still full of interesting information. My mom and I sat down for the free tea tasting, and here is here are a few key points I came away with:

  1. Black tea is also known as the ‘poo-poo’ tea – basically it’s a laxative

  2. Green tea should be drank religiously every day for its health benefits

  3. Men stop producing an enzyme when they reach their 40’s which helps digest beer – hence why so many men develop huge beer bellies

  4. Men should not eat peanuts when they get older – it shrinks their genitals (eek!)

  5. Men should not eat eggs as they age, as it’s not good for their prostate

  6. Cold water is the worst thing for you – cold liquids shock your internal organs – so drink room temp or warmed water instead

  7. You should not use boiling water with your tea – if you do use a kettle – let it sit 20-30 minutes before you use it with your tea leafs

  8. Make sure to rinse your loose leaf tea with your warmed water first – then let it soak for 30 seconds before drinking

  9. You can re-use your tea leaves up to 6 times! Just keep them in a container if your fridge

  10. It’s healthy to drink wine every night 🙂

Green Tea

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  1. Lots of truth to those lessons, But hey call me stubborn. I still like my eggs in the morning and I most certainly have my black tea for it’s aroma and cleansing ability 🙂

  2. Interesting stuff here Chanel 🙂
    Not liking this so much:
    “Men stop producing an enzyme when they reach their 40′s which helps digest beer – hence why so many men develop huge beer bellies”

    “Men should not eat eggs as they age, as it’s not good for their prostate”

    But love this 😉
    “It’s healthy to drink wine every night”

    Cheers, Poul

    1. Hey Poul – I know this are not fun facts to hear.. Haven’t researched their factuality yet – so you might be in the clear ?! But I agree – wine every night – definitely good for your heart and health (in moderation) 🙂

  3. The Chinese know what’s up! That’s why they give you tea in the restaurant. Sure you were happy about the wine every night.

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