Saturday, October 07, 2006

Tea Bone Mind Zen, Seah St, Singapore

This little shop specialises in specially selected teas and teawares sourced from Taiwan, Japan and China. The owner Carrie only carries wares where the artist has had six solo exhibitions - so that the work can be consistent. Personally I think that's a rather high bar to set because you can get artists that might do good one-offs. Each piece of ware is hand-painted and a work of art. I fell in love with a crane-pattern set; I didn't even ask the price because I knew I couldn't afford it.

Umami recommended this shop and tea-house as a lovely diversion during my stay at the Carlton on Bras Basah Rd, Singapore. Carrie wasn't in, but her assistant served me lovely cups of refined oolong tea. I love the idea of the smelling cup and the careful attention so as not to overstew the leaves. She boiled the water on an electric brazier - so picturesque-wan. We had a long chat about the art behind these beautiful wares, their uniqueness and their collectability; unfortunately the names of the artists went in one Westernised ear and out the other. Apparently Bill and Chelsea Clinton are avid collectors of one of the artists.

She served me home-made snowskin moon cake, my first time trying this variety, made by one of the shop's associates. I detected that a kind of bean flour is used for the white topping. She pointed out the fullness of the lotus seed filling and the thin-ness of the coating - delicious.

I looked at several delicate items to buy as a gift for my flatmate Pat. The lily-pattern teacup with porcelain strainer or the porcelain mug with Chinese crystal handle stood out for me. I decided on the mug for practical reasons: it would be rare for Pat to drink Chinese tea but he does like English tea with biscuits.

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