Visitors to Chengdu will find there are a lot of teahouses scattered throughout the city. Drinking tea has become quintessential part of Chengdu people's daily life. Because of this, Chengdu has formed a special tea culture all its own which attracts visitors from across China, and around the globe.
For Chengdu locals, it is very important to have the proper atmosphere to enjoy their tea. For most people, the perfect place would be a teahouse. The most popular location for teahouses in Chengdu is along the south bridge of Dujiang Weir, where the scenery is wonderful and the weather is pleasant.
There is a kind of teapot that is unique to Chengdu. It is made of brass and has a spout that is approximately three feet long. The people in the teahouses that can use this style of teapot are called "Tea Doctors". The use of these teapots is an art in itself. The Tea Doctors spin the teapots and it resembles traditional martial arts. Because of the long spouts, the tea can be shot a very long distance. The Tea Doctors can shoot the tea from across the room into a small teacup without spilling a drop. Visitors, who have the opportunity to witness this performance of pouring tea, will never forget it. This is something unique to Chengdu. The Tea Doctors besides being experts in the art of tea are also very familiar with the local culture and area and are the perfect source to find out about Chengdu's local customs, and places to visit.
The design and layout of the teahouses vary according to the owner's tastes. Some teahouse owners prefer a simple and rustic teahouse, while others design eahouses in an opulent style that even the ancient emperors of China would be comfortable in. No matter the style, the tea in each one is of the highest quality. Each Chengdu local has his or her favorite teahouses to visit, ones that they feel most comfortable in. Besides tea, teahouses in Chengdu also have various local snacks or entire meals on the menu. Since many of Chengdu's locals spend many hours in the teahouses, food is a necessity.
One of the most unique parts of Chengdu's teahouses is the community atmosphere. Everyone from infants to the elderly come to the teahouses to relax, do business, chat with friends, or just drink tea. Many elderly come to the teahouses early in the morning and do not leave until late at night. Normally when somebody decides to leave, they give what remaining snacks they have to the table. It is the perfect place to meet new friends. There are also people wandering the teahouses offering to clean out patron's ears, or cut their fingernails. They wander through the crowds with handfuls of metal tools that they use. It may look a little scary, but it a wonderful experience.
Chengdu has one of the few remaining bastions of true teahouse culture left in China. It is a wonderful experience for Locals, and visitors. It is something that should not be missed because the only way to truly understand it is to experience it.
The entrance of a tea house, Chengdu
An ear cleaner plying his trade at a tea house, Chengdu
Young and old alike like to pass the time at the teahouse, Chengdu
The tea house at Wenshu Temple, Chengdu