Generally, tea snacks include all kinds of food served with tea, such as noodles, porridge, cookies and candies. There are two types of tea snacks: the ones made from tea and the ones served with teas. Different regions have different preferences. For example, people in Guangdong love sweet snacks, while those who from Sichuan prefer spicy ones.
According to an article from Baidubaike.com source, snacks made from tea have a long history that developed with the royal tea banquets. In ancient times, the tea banquets were special ceremonies celebrating and memorizing important royal events. During the Qing Dynasty, people discovered the benefits of tea and started to mix it with food. During the Han and Nanbei Dynasty, tea became an ingredient and more tea dishes were invented. Later, teas were added to various dishes and snacks for the royal family. Now, based on modern science, teas are processed through different methods and more delicate, healthier tea snacks are available.
Snacks made from teas
There are four types of snacks made from tea. First, tea flavor drinks are popular in the market. Bubble tea is extremely popular amongst the younger Chinese population. Originating from Taiwan, bubble tea is a mixture of tea, milk and cassava balls or pudding. With a variety of tea and ball flavors to choose from you can customize your bubble tea into something you’ll truly enjoy. My favorite combination is green tea mixed with orange flavored balls.
Secondly, soups seasoned with tea are a popular home-made snack, such as the black tea soup with dates, green tea rice soup and oolong tea with white fungus. The tea soup is normally served as an appetizer, because tea helps improve digestion, lower blood pressure and sugar, and whiten your skin.
Thirdly, some teas are made into cakes or other desserts, such as tea cookies, green tea bread, sweet tea dumplings and so on. The main method to create tea flavor dessert is to replace regular water with tea water. Based on individual needs, different types of teas are applied.
Fourthly, many big companies create tea candies too. Adding tea extract, there are an abundant amount of products to choose from: black tea milk candy, green tea candy, green tea gum and so on.
Snacks served with tea
If you ask anyone in southern China, they’ll tell you that you should eat snacks with your tea as it greatly helps enhance the flavor. To some experts, selecting the proper snacks for the proper teas is an art form. For example, sweet snacks will taste better with green and black teas, while salty snacks will help enrich the flavor of oolong tea. Let’s look at some famous Chinese tea snacks.
- The Four Precious Tea Snakes
Historically, people in Huzhou (a place near the Changjing River delta) love tea snacks and have made great contributions to the art. There was a small snack shop in Huzhou, whose products were sold throughout the country. The most popular ones are the rose crunchy candy, salty peach slice and the sticky candy. They are called “the three precious tea snacks.” Later down the road, a new chewy cake was invented and the name subsequently changed to “the four…”
According to the article from Baidubaike.com, the rose crunchy candy has won a lot of domestic awards as one of the most popular snacks in China. Its processing duration may last several months. Fresh roses are pickled with sugar for five months to achieve the best aroma. After a series of complicated steps, the bar of candy will be cut into small slices and packed into paper bags. There are some key indicators that will tell you if you have a good rose crunchy candy: a strong rose scent, a half crunchy, half chewy texture, and a light pink color.
The salty peach slices smell like a baked peach, but it’s made out of rice powder, flour, sugar, salt, oil, walnut and black sesame. First, the rice powder is mixed with sugar, water and flour. Then the walnuts and black sesames are added, after which the dough is shaped and steamed for five minutes. When it cools down, the bar is cut into pieces and packed.
The sticky candy is a traditional snack in Yangzhou. The recipe was lost during the 1900’s. However, workers of the city decided to resurrect the sticky candy. Based on historic records and countless experiments, they final succeed. The basic ingredients include sugar, flour, peanuts, and white sesames. Sticky candy is chewy and never gets hardm even after long preservation. As the development of technology, more categories of candies are invented: fruit flavor sticky candies, walnut sticky candy and so on.
The chewy cake is made of sugar, flour, nuts, and other ingredients which vary person to person. The producing process is similar to the salty peach slices, but it’s chewy and soft.
- Other snacks
Chinese people in different regions have varying tastes. For example, people in Sichuan love spicy food, and those who in Guangdong love sweet food. Because of this diversity there are many interesting and delicious tea snacks all throughout China.
Sichuan Spicy Chicken Feet
Soaked in sauce consisting of chili and vinegar for several days, chicken feet are crunchy and tasty. The locals love its strong flavor, which contrast to that of tea. First the chicken feet are cooked in boiling water to remove odor. Different families have their secret recipes, but ginger, green onion, black wine, pepper corns and salt are the basic ingredients. You can put some red pepper oil on the feet to maximize the flavor.
Fried Dough Twists
The fried dough twist is a famous snack in Tianjing and has been since the 1940s. Though made of simple ingredients like flour, sugar and salt, the fried dough twist has rich taste. First, all ingredients are mixed together to become a dough. Then the dough is squeezed and twisted. After being fried in hot oil, these little twists are crunchy and flavorful.