Reason #67 To Live & Die in Los Angeles (In No Particular Order): Wing Hop Fung
While not the best-known green leaf in LA, high-quality, loose-leaf tea at low-low prices is a wonderful privilege of those who choose to live along these God-forsaken fault lines.
Boring Story Part:
[If the South deprived me of anything growing up, it was the wide-world of real tea. Hating sweet tea is one of my earliest memories! I was 2 or 3, scooping small cups of powdered “fake tea” from a yellow Lipton cylinder and wondering how crappy real tea must have been if fake tea was this bad.
Then, a couple of months ago, while still in the heat of my Starbucks-every day routine, I decided to start drinking tea, partially to reduce the butt-load of sugar I was consuming in sweetened coffee-drinks, and also because the extreme intake of caffeine was starting to make me a little loopy. So, I eased myself in with Green Tea Lattes, then pushed on through to a brief period of sweetened green teas (brief because of how bad sweetened green tea is) and finally, I made it to unsweetened iced green teas. I also joined the Starbucks rewards program because you get free refills on iced teas (provided you stay on the premises)! So, if you’re doing work at Starbucks, you’d be a fool not to get with the program!
From Starbucks, I moved on to drinking cheap tea bags from SUNLAND PRODUCE, then, to loose-leaf black tea from India, and finally, Silky Green loose leaf tea from Wing Hop Fung in Chinatown. ]
End Boring Story Part
I was a little shocked by the prices at Wing Hop Fung. Some teas are upwards of $600/lb (most are around $40-70/lb), but because of the quality of the tea, you can get 8-15 steepings (except black teas, but I re-steep them anyway). Two teaspoons is enough for two people to drink tea all day. Now, compare that with LA’s most famous green at $5,200/lb (usually only good for one “steeping”), and tea is basically free! Hooray!
My only advice to first-time Wing Hoppers is not to buy cheap ($40/lb) Pu-er. It’s not worth it, man! Just save up your money and buy the fancy stuff.
Fun Fact #1: Tea bags are usually filled with fannings (or tea dust) that have been swept off of tea factory floors. I mean, what’s the difference between crumbled up outdoor leaf dust and dirt/human hair, really?
Fun Fact #2: The bacteria sprayed onto Pu-er is a Chinese national secret.
Fun Fact #3: Chinese tea is far superior to Japanese tea. There, I said it! Whatwhut?! You got a problem with that? Bring it!
Fun Fact #4: Sweet tea still tastes like ass to me. Oh, we’re offendin’ everybody up in chya!