All through downtown Hong Kong you’ll see open-fronted shops with large brass urns set out on a counter, offering cups or bowls full of dark brown medicinal tea at around $5 a drink. The Cantonese name for this is lo cha or “cool tea”, because in traditional Chinese medicine, tea is considered “cooling” to the body. The teas are made from various ingredients and claim various benefits, but are usually extremely bitter – ones to try include ng fa cha (five-flower tea) and yat sei mei (twenty-four-flavour tea).

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