Susan Johnson (more chengdu)|
The historic epic, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, is recommended reading for the visitor who wants to get the most out of a visit to Wuhou Temple in Chengdu, where the great Liu Bei is buried. However, you don't have to be a history buff to enjoy the Three Kingdoms Tea House, which is at Wuhou Temple just inside the entrance to Jinli Street, an ancient street enjoyed by tourists and locals alike.
The Three Kingdoms Tea House has a very typical Chengdu tea house atmosphere with folks playing cards, chatting, and the clatter of majiang tiles coming from the private rooms. However, we wanted to drop in and see their mini-sampler cultural show which plays three times a day – at 2:30, 5:00, and 8:00pm. The show takes place in a small room in the back with barely room for thirty people, which brings us very close to the performers. Tea is included in the 30RMB admission charge.
The performance includes a tea art ceremony using long-spouted teapots, tea served in the 'covered dish' gaiwan, and a face changing show. The first performer did several elaborate moves with the teapot and then invited an audience member to try out the long-spouted teapot. Then the familiar gaiwan (covered cup) and the tea implements came out. The explanations and narrative are all in mandarin but the demo is beautiful and worth watching. The tea itself was a little light tasting. The audience is invited to take pictures with the face changing performer before the five-minute face changing show. The performance is over in half an hour, which often suits the busy visitor's schedule better than the more elaborate shows that can be seen elsewhere on Jinli.
Three Kingdoms is one of the fewer tea houses in town with an English menu. Maofeng is 18RMB/cup, various fruit juices and coffee are around 25RMB. Piaoxue is 28RMB.