Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The "Wok Wiz" and the Tea Wiz

Red Blossom Tea, in the heart of San Francisco's Chinatown, is one of my favorite little corners of the Universe. It's where I go in San Francisco to sample good tea, buy my precious Longjing tea, or just swap Chinese restaurant gossip. It's the product of a makeover of a generations-old tea, ginseng and herbal medicine shop. While the senior Luongs still dispense ginseng and other potions (including Wolfberries, or Goji Berries, a "superfood" just now hitting the pop charts), young sprouts Peter and Alice Luong dispense knowledge and love of fine tea in an attractive modern space.

If you've come to San Francisco Chinatown to learn about Chinese food, you may have taken one of the "Wok Wiz" tours, and if you lucked out, got the "Wok Wiz" herself, Shirley Fong-Torres (sister of journalist Ben) as a leader. She's made the tea shop a regular stop on her tour and on Sunday I happened be there seeking refuge from the noisy street festival outside when Shirley and her tour group showed up, and snapped the above picture. That's Shirley on the left, and Alice Luong on the right.

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