Introduction to Chinese language, life and culture. In this episode, a look at Beijing's tea-house, bar and cafe scene, and ordering drinks Chinese style.
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When it comes to relaxing, the Chinese enjoy nothing more
than each other's company, and pleasures can be simple.
But habits are changing, especially in Beijing.
In this programme, the burgeoning bar and cafe scene, from city to seaside.
And ordering drinks, Chinese-style.
In China, a whole culture surrounds the drinking of tea.
Brewing it is an art form,
where every move is designed to enhance its aromatic properties.
The Chinese claim to have invented tea some 4,000 years ago,
when a few leaves dropped fortuitously
into an Imperial pot of boiling water.
But it wasn't until the 7th century that the custom of tea-drinking really took hold.
Over the centuries, so refined has the culture become,
that rare and exquisite blends are sipped like liquors.
HE SPEAKS CHINESE
Nowadays, buying the best teas on offer
is the mark of a fashionable lifestyle.
and cha, in all its subtle varieties, has become big business.
This particular chain boasts more than 300 different blends of tea.
THEY SPEAK CHINESE
For the Chinese, the tea shop is a treasure house of temptations.
Green tea is among the top favourites.
What we call black tea is confusingly known in China as...
..red tea. It's fermented before baking.
Black dragon tea is just partially fermented.
Mixing flowers into the tea creates popular blends like...
Even more subtle are teas made with chrysanthemum flowers,
magnolia, wild peonies, and rosebuds.
The tea house.
This popular tea house was built as a homage
to one of China's best loved writers, Lao She.
Lao She was persecuted, and died in 1966 during the Cultural Revolution.
WOMAN SPEAKS CHINESE
During Mao's terrifying purges,
restaurants and tea houses also suffered.
The Red Guards destroyed anywhere that could be thought of as a bastion of feudal traditions.
35 years on, tea houses and tea house traditions are back in favour,
much of it driven by tourism.
During the Cultural Revolution,
much Chinese folk music was overlaid with political messages.
Now, authentic folk music is being revived,
and there's a new generation of performers keen to promote its appeal.
There's an etiquette to drinking tea.
You order by the cup, then you add more water as you need it.
I want jasmine tea.
We'll drink green tea.
"Women" means we.
Nimen hao! Nimen he dianr shenme?
Wo yao hua cha.
Women he lu cha.
-Nimen hai yao dianr shenme?
Zai lai yi panr dianxin.
-Hao de. Qing shao deng.
-Hao de. Xiexie.
A plate of cakes.
Bring us a plate of cakes.
Zhe shi hua cha.
Zhe shi lu cha.
Zhe shi lu cha.
Yi panr dianxin.
Good, thank you.
About four hours' drive from Beijing
lies the seaside resort of Beidaihe.
Taking a vacation by the seaside used to be a privilege
reserved for the Communist Party elite. Now, holidays are for anyone who can afford them.
In Beidaihe, one of the attractions is fresh seafood.
The Chinese have a passion for crabs and prawns.
Beer is the top favourite for washing down local delicacies.
The Germans introduced brewing to China in the early 1900s,
in the town of Qingdao.
And Qingdao pijiu is widely celebrated as China's premier beer.
Apart from tea, the Chinese rarely take their drinks without food.
If you're a guest, your host will pour your drink for you.
Tapping the table is a way of saying thank you.
THEY SPEAK CHINESE
It was the British who first discovered Beidaihe's charms,
and made the resort popular.
Its unspoilt coastal scenery was the nearest thing they could find to their beloved South of France.
It was also Westerners who introduced
the attractions of eating and drinking in the open air.
And nowadays, like so many foreign ideas, it's beginning to catch on.
Summer drinking offers some exotic options.
Almond juice is known by its trade name...
What will you drink?
Nimen yao he dianr shenme?
Yi ge juzi zhi, liang ge bing hong cha, yi ge lulu.
Mama, wo yao yi ge bingqilin.
One orange juice.
Two iced teas.
One almond juice.
An ice cream.
Zhe shi bing hong cha.
Bing hong cha.
Summer in Beijing.
This fashionable drinking spot is known as Jiuba Jie.
Quite literally, "Bar Street."
Ten years ago, such overt consumption of Western drinks
and socialising with foreigners would have been unthinkable.
When bars started to open here, the authorities imposed strict regulations,
even threatening to close the street down.
Now, the ball has simply rolled too far.
Commercial ambitions and popular taste have triumphed.
I like to drink...
Wo xihuan he cha, hai xihuan he pijiu.
Wo xihuan he Zhongguo te you de cha, hai you kafei.
Wo xihuan he kafei, haiyou guo zhi.
Wo xihuan he hong putao jiu.
When you order wine and beer, you'll usually do it by the glass.
Qing lai yi bei Qingdao pijiu,
yi bei bai putao jiu, yi bei juzi zhi.
-Wo yao yi bei pingguo zhi.
-Hao, qing shao deng.
They ordered by saying...
Please bring... and...
A glass of apple juice.
A glass of orange juice.
A glass of white wine.
A glass of Qingdao beer.
Zhu ni jiankang!
Every bar that opens tries to create a unique atmosphere.
In China's new era of private enterprise, this kind of business can offer rich pickings.
But it's a risky game to be in.
Beijingers are alert to the latest trends,
and they're fickle. For every exotic new venue that opens its doors, another bites the dust.
The Loft is one of Beijing's success stories.
It's a vast New York-style bar and restaurant aimed at the city's wealthy media crowd.
When the Lin family created the place a few years ago,
Beijing had never seen anything like it.
For a fun night out, what most Chinese enjoy is a good crowd,
and music that's easy listening.
MAN SINGS IN CHINESE
This man used to be a footballer, but found he had a talent for singing.
Getting a regular spot here was a lucky break.
He feels there are openings for every kind of musician these days.
While pop and rock music pull in affluent young trendsetters,
there's no stopping the enthusiasm for more traditional entertainment.
Admiring this kind of artistry, over a cup of tea,
a truly Chinese experience.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Real Chinese is an up-to-the-minute introduction to Chinese life, culture and language. This ten-part series is for anyone travelling to China for holidays, study or work - and anyone else who simply wants to find out more about this fast-changing nation. The programmes are set in and around Beijing, with visits to mountains, countryside and a popular beach resort.
The series covers the language essentials needed to get the most out of a trip and explore beyond the usual tourist trail: how to greet people in Chinese, order food and drink, ask the way, travel around, hold simple conversations and enjoy sports and nightlife. Each 15-minute programme also offers insights into the culture, both past and present, from ancient arts, architecture and beliefs to current tastes in shopping, fashion and entertainment.
In this episode, a look at Beijing's burgeoning tea-house, bar and café scene, and ordering drinks Chinese style.