The Taiwanese love to snack, which is perfect for a culture that also enjoys sipping teas all day long. While the snacks range from sunflower seeds to sweet &/or savory little cakes filled with all sorts of beans, what I wanted to share in this blog post are actually tea snacks made with actual teas, like the tea-infused tea eggs pictured above. I like to pair tea snacks with teas I am in the mood for that day. For this blog post, I have chosen the fully roasted Yunnan Supreme FLT co-founder Donna Lo stuck into my suitcase before I left for Taiwan. Cold brewed fully roasted black teas that taste like sweet honey nectar with hints of caramel are all the rage here in Taiwan this summer, and for a good reason.
The idea of using tea leaves as a seasoning is not new in Chinese cuisine. The tea eggs pictured above have been steeped for several hours in soy sauce, spices, and black tea leaves, after being boiled and cracked. The tea leaves give the eggs an extra flavor that creates complexity in the soy sauce base. Aesthetically, the darkness from the tea leaves also creates a beautiful marble effect in these cracked eggs.
Pictured above is tofu stepped in a thick tea-leaf and sesame seed sauce served in one of the most traditional tea houses in Taipei, capital of Taiwan. Again, the tannin from the tea leaves gives the sweet sauce an edge unlike any other seasoning. When enjoyed with a cup of tea, the tea flavoring from the food gets further enhanced by the cup of tea, enriching the taste of the tea snack, as well as the tea itself.
And speaking of tofu, pictured above are yet more examples of bean curd snacks in different forms that are perfect accompaniments of tea. The idea of vegetarian food made with protein-rich soy beans is popular in temples and on the street as everyday snacks. You can even find vegetarian duck, fish, chicken, or goose, all made with soy beans, in restaurants!