A short post today, not really fitting for the season since it’s about a tea stand serving only cold drinks, and I’m not the most inspired about consuming cold beverages at the moment. How some people can still eat shaved ice in this chilly weather quite baffles me, but more power to them.
In retrospect, I’m glad I paid the shop a visit earlier month, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, and did not wait the last minute to use the coupon rebate that came with the book. The discount slashed the total bill in half, so I kind of went overboard with the order, though the drinks fully priced still remain surprisingly cheap. We’re talking about a 5NT(!) drink if you choose to have it in a plastic bag instead of a cup.
As the shop’s name indicates, they specialize in chrysanthemum tea 菊花茶, a drink commonly found in Hong-Kong or at Hong-Kong restaurants, but rarer to come across in Taiwan. I’ve had chrysanthemum tea in the past, but always hot and served in a tea pot, but here, cold is the only option. I won’t lie, I don’t drink chrysanthemum tea enough to write a review as a fine connoisseur. All I can say, is that I enjoyed the floral notes of the drink and how it wasn’t overly sweet, it especially felt quite refreshing on that day and provided a nice change from the regular green/black/oolong tea I get. Though I won’t feel compelled to go out of my way to go buy some chrysanthemum tea, I’ll surely stop by if I find myself in the vicinities, well, given that it’s not freezing outside.
Ah-Lian Chrysanthemum Tea King 阿蓮仔菊花茶大王 has been up and running for well over 50 years now, and to provide the best chrysanthemum tea they go as far as renting an hectare of land in Taidong, where the weather is more conducive to grow this kind of flower, and hire local aboriginals to tend to the well-being of the land and plants. As for the confection of the drink, some Chinese medicinal herbs (枸杞、黃柏、黃杞子、御棗等) are also included along with the main ingredient, chrysanthemum flowers. This may explain why some people find the chrysanthemum tea at Ah-Lian smoother and with no astringent after-taste.
As for of my selection of drinks, besides the chrysanthemum tea on the right of the red drink, I don’t quite remember the flavors I picked nor how it tasted (no) thanks to my food poisoning baptism just the day after (not because of the drink). All I wanted to eat then was something familiar, so no Taiwanese food! It’s hard to imagine but I even had a temporary aversion to it. Also, being sick messes up your senses in a way that even what you think you have an appetite for, pasta with tomato sauce in this case, has a hard time settling down in your stomach, and everything tastes slightly off.
If you’re curious about chrysanthemum tea 菊花茶 and other obscure drinks supposedly good for your health, surely go check it out, or save yourself from cursing at me for recommending such a place and stick to your regular tea stand 😉 . Though actually, whether you’re into this kind of drinks or not, the neighborhood around the shop is worth checking out. Ah-Lian Chrysanthemum Tea King 阿蓮仔菊花茶大王 is located right next to a traditional morning market, a place always filled with lots of interesting food, and the area as a whole has preserved an atmosphere of the old Kaohsiung (or so I think, since I don’t know what the old Kaohsiung was like) with small temples, old houses, people chilling outside in sofas as if they were in their living room, quite a contrast from the modern Dream Mall 夢時代 just 5-10 minutes away.
Yet another new territory uncovered in Kaohsiung, and a fun way to turn a lazy Sunday afternoon into a fun food and urban exploration.
Name: Ah-Lian Chrysanthemum Tea 阿蓮仔菊花茶大王
Additional Reviews+Photos: pixnet/tn67
Address: No. 22, Zhènróng St, Qianzhen District Kaohsiung City (高雄市前鎮區鎮榮街22號)
Menu: Chinese only (give Pleco some thought)
Business hours: 8:00am-midnight