February 9, 2013

YEAR OF THE SNAKE: Tea in Chinatown

RED, good luck novelties.
A day in Chinatown, just before the start of the Lunar New Year on the 10th of February. According to the Chinese Zodiac this is the Year of the Snake, my astrological sign. So I headed downtown to buy myself some red good luck trinkets to ring in the new year—not something I'd normally do, but the last time it was the year of the snake I was advised by the Asian woman giving me a manicure, to paint my toenails red, head to Chinatown and pick up red good luck symbols—I did, toenails and all, and it was one of the the best years I'd had. I kid you not.

Red is an auspicious color in Chinese culture—it's a fire sign that symbolizes good luck and joy—it's found everywhere during the celebration of the New Year—witness the displays of red trinkets inside and outside shops. At a paper shop I picked up a good luck symbol embossed in gold on a red background—now affixed to my front door.

After lunch in a local place on Bayard I set out to find a Tea parlor, Cha Chan Tang, for a good cup of tea, and dessert. Somehow I had the street wrong and wound up walking in circles and getting colder by the minute.

I gave up and nipped into a bakery, the only place near the bus stop headed home, but this was the real deal, cheap, filled with locals and serving tea, Lipton's in a paper cup. Perfection.

More RED, New Year's cards, money envelopes, and good luck trinkets.

Cha Chan Tang tea parlor, Mott Street.
No Name bakery, egg custard and Lipton's tea, $1.75.