Tianjin is a big international port city near Beijing. Benefiting from its unique geographic location, Tianjin culture is widely influenced by that of Beijing. According an article from baidubaike.com, cross talk is a form of art originated in Beijing area that normally played by two performers. Accompanied with singing, talking and oral techniques, a cross talk show usually comments or critiques on current affairs sarcastically.
Many teahouses in Tianjin are actually cross talk theatres. A stage is set in the front of the room, and the audience sits by the tables and drinking tea and snacking during the performance. Therefore, people go to teahouses for fun and amusement.
Since the 1980’s, the teahouse culture is one of the most representative symbol for Tianjin. The cross talk performers usually wear long Chinese traditional jackets. The only props they use are a wood brick, a hand fan and a handkerchief. As the development of cross talk and media technology, more and more audiences throughout the country start to know and like this art form.
Here are some famous teahouses in Tianjin.
According to a review from Aibang.com, Mingliu was one of the earliest teahouses in Tianjin. It’s a small building located in the Guwenhua Road. With simple decorations and classic designed furniture, Mingliu worships traditional Chinese culture.
Many famous teas throughout China are available here. Tieguanyin (a type of Oolong tea) is highly recommended. Meanwhile, the abundant snacks are another feature of Mingliu teahouse. Hiring cooks from many great restaurants, Mingliu serves both northern and southern snacks. The Goubuli steamed dumpling, the fried dough twist and the fried sweet dumplings are the most popular.
In the cross talk business, Mingliu teahouse enjoys the highest reputation. It was one of the first places that introduced cross talk performance to teahouses. Also, it also advocated cross talk should be based on life and reality. Many older cross talk masters once were stars in Mingliu teahouse. Mingliu witnessed the development of the cross talk, and continues contributing to it.
There are three Mingliu teahouses in Tianjin. The home store is in the Guwenhua Street. The other two are in Xinhua Road and Tongqingli area.
The minimum consumption is around 45 RMB per person.
Address: 2nd Floor, the Main Building, Guwenhua Street
Acoording to the introduction on Jinyue’s homepage, this teahouse was founded in 2008. Located in downtown Tianjin (the Rongan Avenue), Jinyue teahouse is a popular entertaining place.
The entire building is decorated according to the popular style in the Qing Dynasty – big wood windows, tall roof and wood furniture. With wood furniture and modern facilities, Jinyue teahouse presents a modern understanding of classic Chinese culture.
When enter, you can see an old wood reception desk. In the lobby, several big wood tables accompanied with wood chairs are set around the room. In the middle of lobby, there is a stage for cross talk and other performances.
Jinyue teahouse not only offers cross talk shows, but also invites folk artists throughout the country to show their talents – Beijing opera, drum dance and Hebei Bangzi. Well, the cross talk is absolutely the most popular. At weekends, many people came here to enjoy their quality time or hang out with friends.
There are twelve well decorated boxes on the second floor for family or business gathering. A reservation need to be made if special needs are to fulfill.
In Jinyue, the tea ceremony performance is another special service. The well-trained performers present the process of Chinese teaism and explain it to the audience. Some customers can attend its teaism classes there. Also, special tea show will arranged according to different needs.
Jinyue guarantees to provide the best tea and service. Teas include Tieguanyin, Puer, Maojian and some other famous brands. If you are looking for a place to kill some time, Jinyue is a good choice.
The minimum consumption is around 30 RMB per person.
Address: 177 Xinyaju, Xinwenhua Huayuan, Rongye Avenue
According to an article from aibang.com, Gulou Teahouse is the earliest “cross talk teahouse” in China. To prolong its precious history, all inner settings remained unchanged since the teahouse was founded.
Gulou teahouse allows take-in snacks and tea because their main selling point is the performance. Many people highly praise their service. Some local people even mentioned that Gulou teahouse shows the real spirits of people in Tianjin – friendly and passionate.
When enter the lobby, you can see a well set of tables and chairs. The waiters will give a warm smile and ask patiently for your needs. Though Gulou teahouse is small compare to other teahouses, its great service, reasonable price and amazing performance make it still popular among local residents.
It’s also an ideal place for people who want to know the local Tianjin culture.
The minimum consumption is around 44 RMB per person.
Address: 52 Gulou Street
According to a review from Sina.com, Qianxiangyi teahouse was a theatre. To be more competitive in the market, it was transformed into a multi-entertaining teahouse. Preserving the original theatre setting, Qingxiangyi is designed according to classic tastes of people in Tianjin. Take-in food is allowed.
According to another article from Sina.com, Qianxiangyi Teahouse dedicates itself to the development of the cross talk art. It has held two cross talk festivals and established a cross talk club. Promoting new artists, Qianxiangyi teahouse dedicates itself to supporting the traditional Chinese folk art.
The minimum consumption is around 40 RMB per person.
Address: 64 Guyi Street
Dajintai teahouse is famous for its performers. They often invite some famous cross talk groups. If you are super cross talk fan, you may want to pay attention to their seasonal ads.
Address: 57 Chifeng Road
Tianhuajing theatre is one of the oldest ones in Tianjin. It’s now a modern performing center, but the cross talk show enjoys a high popularity. According to reviews from the Aibang.com, the tea is so-so, but the local snacks are great. Unlike other teahouses, there is a smoking area. For those who prefer more contemporary places, Tianhuajing will not let you down.
Address: 6th Floor Quanyechang Building, 290 Ping Road
For Chinese, if you want to take of track and experience for yourself Tianjin as the locals know it, going to one or more teahouses will impress you. You may be surprised once you know what is has to offer.