Tea and Booze

Testing the mash for rice wine in Shaoxing. Photo: Clarissa Zhang for Route Awakening (Nat Geo)

The streaming site BiliBili is currently running several episodes of the TV series Route Awakening (National Geographic), including the shows on the history of Tea and Alcohol in China, in which I taste-test three teas blindfolded, assiduously sample the various varieties of Shaoxing rice wine, and get told off under the hot Fujian sun for picking tea leaves in the wrong manner. These, and many other experiences, all fed into the materials that went into writing The Emperor’s Feast: A History of China in Twelve Meals.

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