Beipu is the best place in Taiwan to sample léichá (擂茶), or “ground tea”, a popular Hakka drink with origins in ancient China. Its modern incarnation is one hundred percent contemporary Taiwan however; a green tea mixed with a paste of peanuts, sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. It’s delicious and very filling (it’s sometimes called “cereal tea”), but the twist is that you get to prepare it yourself. DIY sessions are offered at most of the teashops in town, and in general you are expected to at least have a go, the staff sometimes reluctant to pitch in. After a few minutes you’ll understand why; the raw ingredients are placed into a ceramic bowl and must be pounded into an oily paste with a giant wooden pestle, a process which takes a strong arm, or preferably, several. The tea is usually served with Hakka-style muaji (máshŭ in Mandarin), sticky rice rolled in ground peanuts.

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