According to an article from Baidubaike.com, Suzhou is a major city in the Changjiang River delta. Historically, Suzhou city was founded in 514 BC, and has over 2,500 years of history. Its development reached to a peak during the Song Dynasty, when the capital city moved southward. During the Ming and Qing Dynasty, Suzhou was a national economic and cultural capital, whose influence also covered the southern Asia.
People in Suzhou enjoy a relaxing lifestyle. Similar to Hanghzou, Suzhou is an agreeable and comfortable city. Benefiting from the Song Dynasty, Suzhou worships art and respects knowledge: 15 art performing groups, 12 art centers, 27 museums and 12 public libraries. Suzhou spares no effort to broadcast traditional Wu culture.
Tea culture is a part of the Wu culture. Going to teahouses at weekends is a popular leisure activity there. Instead of drinking alcohol, the locals prefer healthier entertaining methods.
According to a report from Aiyican.com, 7 teahouses are highly recommended.
Boyatang teahouse, Yipu
Yipu was a private garden in the Ming Dynasty. Located in the southwest of Suzhou, Yipu has been listed as the World Cultural Heritage. The construction of Yipu lasted several generations. The main room in the Yipu garden is Boyatang, which was transformed into a teahouse in the late 1990’s. Entering from the main gate and following the twisting path, you can see Boyatang hiding quietly in a small forest. Boyatang is also an art centre, and the tea serving is a feature service for art fans. There is a small fish pool in front of the teahouse. Throwing some cookies in the pool, you can see fishes fighting each other for food. Spending a lazy afternoon here is enjoyable and pleasant.
Address: 5 Wenwu Nong
Jiqing Street is one of the main streets in downtown Suzhou. Contrast to the noisy environment of the Jiqing Street, that of Charen Village is peaceful and quiet. Many people love to take a break and a cup of tea after a long day shopping. Located in the Guxu district (an area which was a part of the old town in the Ming Dynasty), Charen Village seems open a door communicating between different times. Seen from outside, the entire teahouse is a traditional Chinese building. The inner of the building remains a classic atmosphere with delicate decorations and furniture. Also, the Charen Village has many beautiful boxes named after famous Suzhou gardens.
Charen not only serves the best tea throughout the country, but also many delicious local snacks, like the lotus root clamps, sweet chicken feet and sweet dumplings. Both the locals and foreigners recommend this teahouse.
The minimum consumption is 47 RMB per person.
Address: 99 Baihua Zhou, Xumen
He teahouse is one of the most beautiful teahouses in Suzhou. The owner appreciates classic Chinese culture; therefore, the design of the teahouse followed the traditional tastes. Old fashioned doors, windows, furniture and tea wares, He teahouse is a tea museum. To fulfill modern needs and adjust to the market, the He teahouse employs many contemporary marketing strategies, including social media, promoting and so on. Compare to other teahouse, the prices here are higher. The minimum consumption is 50 RMB per person. He teahouse is more popular among the young.
Address: 66 Daoqian Street
Tel: 65237778 or 65239998
Water Heaven teahouse
The Water Heaven teahouse present a “deep understanding” of Suzhou culture. Absorbing successful experience from teahouses in Hangzhou, Water Heaven aims at becoming the showroom for Wu culture (Suzhou culture). You can find many disappearing local Suzhou snacks there, including the crab shell cakes, fried buns, and Haitang cakes.
Surrounded by a small river, a lovely bridge, and many other traditional Chinese buildings, Water Heaven is bathed in a peaceful environment. Drinking a cup of Biluochun (one of the most famous teas) and listening to a classic Suzhou folk song, many local residents come here to recall all the good times they’ve had in this city.
Address: 4-6 Daichengqiao Road
Tel: 65308828 or 65308838
Lianglei teahouse, Tingfeng garden
Tingfeng garden was built in the Qing Dynasty by two local governors in Suzhou. They loved art and transformed the Tingfeng garden into a library. Since 1949, it became the Suzhou Traditional Chinese Painting Library. Unlike many teahouses in Suzhou, Lianglei isn’t operated for financial gains. It’s a place for artists and fans gathering.
Lianglei aims at creating a poetic and romance atmosphere for art lovers. It hopes to provide the best tea experience and service. All tea wares are precious collections throughout the country. Many guests are impressed by the delicate cups and teapots. To achieve the best drinking experience, different teas are served with different tea wares. For example, Zisha (the red pottery) is the best for Oolong tea; while glass wares match green tea better. Also the owner believes snacks should match teas too — sweet desserts should go with black teas.
Address: 1 Qingyuan Fang
Compare to other teahouses, Yiyuan is more like a restaurant. People have various choices — buffet and ordered-dishes. Serving snacks and food, many people hang out there for the entire day.
The owner of Yiyuan transformed this ancient private garden into a public teahouse. To preserve the best view of the garden, the setting and layout of the garden remains unchanged. There are special boxes named after “Yue,” which means the Moon in Chinese.
Address: 1265 Renmin Road
Tel: 65249317 or 65155415
Qiantang Charen is one of the earliest buffet teahouses in Suzhou. It’s classic Suhang style teahouse – quietly environment, delicate decorations and abundant classic snacks. On the first floor is a big lobby for walk-in customers. Many comfortable half-open boxes are designed for both private and public gathering. Without any other extra fees, Qiantang Charen is popular for reasonable prices.
To recreate a real teahouse scene hundreds years ago, all waiters and waitresses wear traditional Chinese clothes while working.
It’s ideal place to order your favorite tea, taste a few delicious snacks and play Mahjong with friends.
Address: 293 Shiquan Street
Tel: 65300001 or 65300778