July 28, 2013

A Foochow Grandfather's Blessing : Bamboo "tips" tea

When we were growing up in Brooke Drive, Sibu, my father grew a long bamboo hedge to fence up our house. He also dug a drain around the house, thus creating a moat for our compound. This also helped to drain the land on which our wooden house stood.

The bamboo hedge gave us "bamboo tips" which my mother would steam in the early morning whenever our lips looked red from over heating of our bodies.

We once asked her why we should pick the tips so early in the morning before the sun grew hot? She just said that it was" what our ancestors had said in the past". We would all get a bowl of the bamboo tea before we went to school. I remember that well because I did not like the sugar less tea.

From young I had already developed a very sweet tooth. In fact once I remarked "all my 32 teeth are sweet" and that horrified my English teacher. We could not "play play" with our English teacher. That was when I learned One is One, Two is Two (Meaning in Chinese = be serious, no other words to be added, or no but...)

My mother would make the tea for my father too. She even said that this tea was good to "reduce explosion of bad temper". In English, that would mean, reduction of anxiety. The Chinese traditional medicine men would say "reduce the yang chi". My grandfather was a blessed guy because our grandmother was also very learned in the ways of healthy Chinese teas and soups. Our paternal Grandmother Siew was a good cook. She too often prepared Bamboo Tips Tea.
Bamboo Tea

Recently, I found that many people are beginning to drink Bamboo Tea~~
Nr. 001 present box
We often heard stories of our Great Grandfather Tiong King Sing who also came from China (Fujian). He was a barefoot Chinese sinseh who could read the pulses and recommended Chinese herbs for cures of simple ailments. Perhaps this was how my paternal grandfather learned about herbal teas and passed on the values and knowledge to his children and in laws.

However my mother would never spend much money on gingseng and other more expensive "cures". Her great love is all the simple and nutritious soups that she can cook for us. At the age of 88 now she would not have gingseng broth. But she will have some cooling teas and nutritious soups made from seaweed,dates , cuttle fish etc.

When I see a bush or hedge of the small bamboo, I would remember those days when we would be out in the garden very early in the morning, pulling the small leaf tips out of the bamboos. My second sister was meticulous in picking the tips. And I would complain why there were so many leaves and so few tips~~ The

A family photo in front of the Bamboo Hedge
tips were the first small leaf all rolled up tight. In a few hours after the sun had grown hotter, the tips would unfold and a flat bamboo leaf would form. My mother would also get us to collect the dew drop at the end of the bamboo leaf tip. We would thus collect the water drop into a Chinese bowl and place the rolled up leaves in another bowl.

The tips make the best cooling tea with the fresh dew drops...

How clever were our ancestors from Fujian!! A cooling tea which was free from nature.


Anonymous said...

Are the bamboo tips harmful????

Ensurai said...

Not at all, we make tea..tips here means the leaves which have not unfurled in the early morning.

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