Hồ Chí Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) and the city tour ended with a shopping stop at the Ben Thanh Market.
|Saigon Street scenes|
The market is teeming with shops that sell textiles, souvenirs, bootleg North Face backpacks and delicacies you can bring home as gifts.
One of the things I bought from were packs of Dragon Pearl Tea.
I was introduced to this tea by a colleague on her first trip to Saigon a few years back. It is made by hand rolling one leaf and one bud into a pearl and is Perfect for unwinding at the end of a long day.I was adamant to try it at first because it looks like dried up goat poo (Before you ask why I know what goat poo looks like, let me tell you no. In my primary school, we had several goats roaming around the school grounds who bombed most of our play area with their poo). But after preparing my first cup, I was left fascinated.
Here's a great way to steep your Dragon Pearl Tea:
1. Bring the water in your kettle to a boil. I was told that using distilled water will not give you the best results and ill make the taste of the tea flat with a tinge of bitterness.
2. Before serving the tea, warm up the glass or cup by rinsing it with hot water. This will create a humid environ for the tea, softening the dried leaves and avoiding small parts to break off when you pour in the water.
3. Place about a teaspoon for every cup you want to make. The tea pearls come in different sizes, the big ones can make you one pot per pearl.
4. Pour in the boiling water gently. It should be around 100°C (212°F) to get the best flavor.
5. Steep for around 3-5 minutes before serving. The more water you use, the longer you need to steep it.
|This is what it will look like after a minute.|
|This is the Dragon Pearl Tea in full bloom.|