Everything you need to know about Year of the Monkey, 2016

Another year, another chance to revisit the Chinese zodiac.

In Chinese culture, New Year’s Day isn’t January 1st 2016, it’s February 8th. This year that means leaving behind the year of the goat and making way for the monkey. There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac — those born in 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004 and this year are monkeys. Here’s what you should know.

Lucky numbers: 4 and 9
Lucky days: the 14th and 28th of any Chinese lunar calendar month
Lucky colours: white, blue, gold
Lucky flowers: chrysanthemum

Monkey Traits, According to Pictures

Those born in the year of the monkey have a magnetic personality.
Como Zoo 017
Source: Spirituscapere

They are smart, witty and sharp minded…
Source: Strangefunkidz

…but additional traits such as cheekiness and curiosity can lead to problems.
Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 3.33.22 pm
Source: Flickr

Monkeys get a kick out of a practical joke but can sometimes take things too far. They don’t have bad intentions though, and are quick to learn from mistakes.
Source: Zap2It

Monkeys are crafty and naturally inquisitive. This means they need a life partner who can keep them interested or they become restless. Those born in the year of the ox or the year of the rabbit are most compatible with monkeys.
Source: PlayBuzz

They’re also creative.
Source: The Wondrous

They prefer city life to the country.
Source: Flickr

And are healthy thanks to their active lifestyle.
Source: Ask Ideas

As hard workers, jobs that are taxing to most or require great attention to detail are great for monkeys. Think accounting, engineering, science and even film directing.
Source: YouTube

Do you know a monkey who fits this description?
Share this blog post with them or treat them to a special Chinese New Year
celebration at Oriental Teahouse with a free lion dance show. Bookings essential.

Chapel St: Feb 6, 8pm
Chadstone: Feb 7, 12.30pm
Lt Collins: Feb 11, 1.30pm

Christmas Party Tips + Etiquette

OTH Christmas Party Etiquette

1. Food Etiquette

Have you ever seen a picture of a little squirrel stockpiling acorns for the winter? This scene is your inspiration for handling nibbles at a Christmas party. Never let a tray pass you by without plucking something from it and feel free to pursue the waiter if he misses you. As for chewing, make black holes your muse and try to inhale edibles quickly and infinitely.

2. Dancing Etiquette

No one wants to be that guy or girl who cops flack on Monday morning for dirty dancing at the Christmas party. This is a unique opportunity for you to boost your office persona as well as save colleagues from humiliation. Scan the dance floor for a colleague that’s getting a little too low or toying with the idea of twerking and nip their dirty dancing in the bud with a ‘clean-up conga’. Invite them to hop on first and within moments, everyone will be snaking around the room in a good, wholesome clean-up conga line. Not a dirty move or hurtful party recap in sight!

3. Drinks Etiquette

The ‘tab’ or ‘drinks package’ is always a hot topic of conversation in the lead-up to a work Christmas party – this is because the tab usually runs out before people want it to. What you should do is pick up a couple cases of a popular beverage and stash them somewhere near the party. When the tab inevitably runs its course, set up shop with your back-up booze. If you’re in it for the money, charge your colleagues triple what it cost you. If you’re in it for the glory, charge them double. Cha-ching!

4. Fashion Etiquette

Obviously, if the host has mandated a theme, go with that. But if it’s a fashion free-for-all, your best bet is to wear something that passes for a good party outfit just as well as it passes for a waiter’s uniform. All kinds of things pop up at Christmas parties – staff shortages, technical difficulties, etc. You never know when you’ll need to masquerade as staff to save the day or keep the party going smoothly. It’s just good business.

5. Follow-Up Etiquette

On Monday morning, there’s going to be a lot of Christmas party talk going on. Some people will focus on the negative (‘Did you see his cuffed pants?’) and others will enjoy reminiscing about the positives (‘All the twinkling lights made me feel like I was in Rome.’). What you should focus on is the food. But don’t just stop at saying it was ‘delicious’ or even ‘exquisite.’ Every time the Christmas party comes up, launch into your nibble appreciation with startling detail. This sample praise should get you started: “When I sunk my teeth into the Thai chicken croquettes, I was transported to the streets of Bangkok – the bite of the chilli, the mystery of the cumin, the lingering coriander… together they became the bustle of Asia’s Sin City.”

Clothes and Accessories for Food Lovers (Just in Time for Christmas Shopping!)

Do you have a friend who’s a food lover but want to get them a gift that lasts this Christmas? Look no further, we’ve scoured the internet for food clothing and accessories that are good enough to eat (but we highly recommend against actually consuming them!).

1. Fried Egg Pin by Georgia Perry

Melbourne-based designer Georgia Perry nails pretty much everything, but there’s something extra-special about this simple sunny-side up accessory.

Wearing Food_Egg Pin


2. Lunch Tee by Dig Inn

While most food-frenzied designers slap a picture of food on their garments, Dig Inn pays tribute to the middle meal that can make or break a day. Few words are as loaded as LUNCH.

Wearing Food_Lunch Tee


3. Cheezel Ring by Eat Me Do

We’re not suggesting that you stop putting real Cheezels on your fingers, but this tempting piece of jewellery keeps your fingers Cheezel’d up between snacks.

Wearing Food_Cheezel Ring


4. Sushi Pants by Margaux

These Melbourne-based pants people make some seriously loud bottoms. It was hard to pick a favourite from the collection of sandwich pants, kiwi pants and cat pants, but we couldn’t go past sushi.

Wearing Food_Sushi Pants


5. Dumpling Necklace by Meliciap

Obviously we’d rather eat a dumpling than wear a dumpling, but if you’re wearing a dumpling WHILE eating a dumpling, your life is probably on track.

Wearing Food_Dumpling Necklace



The Top 10 Best Ever Tea Quotes

Considering how many olden-day and modern-day geniuses have been photographed sipping cups of tea, it’s safe to assume that tea is magical and makes you brilliant. There’s something about sipping the steaming beverage that gives you super-brain, and this collection of tea quotes certainly proves it.

Tea Quotes_Frances Hardinge

Tea Quotes_Chaim Potok

Tea Quotes_Astrid Alauda

Tea Quote_Peter Pan

Tea Quote_Okakuro

Tea Quote_Fyodor Dostoyovsky

Tea Quote_CS Lewis

Tea Quote_Chinese Proverb

Tea Quote_Catherine Douzel

Tea Quote_Arthurt Pivero

Your Personality According, to Teapots

It’s often said that what you wear says a lot about you as an individual. The same is true when it comes to your favourite teapot. We’ve compiled a list below to help you discover your deepest personality traits. Here’s how it works: scroll through the pictures, pick your favourite teapot, then read the excerpt to see which best describes you! Some of these teapots are wackier than your average, but we also have a vast range of elegant, Chinese teapots available to purchase online and in our stores.

1. Cat Teapot – Better off Alone
You’re independent and prefer to be alone, whether that’s getting the daily chores done or working in silence. Some thing your a little mysterious, while others just break your concentration, which is why tea for one suits you just fine.

Source: Fab

2. Cupcake Teapot – Sprinkles of Joy
You make every occasion a happy one. It doesn’t matter if you’re having a friend over or hosting a party; you’re all about sweets and sparkles. You go out of your way to make others smile and in doing so, make yourself cheerful as well.

Source: Mod Cloth

3. Multi-Spout Teapot – Multiple Personalities
You can’t be categorised because each mood and situation dictates how you behave. People often say you act differently in different environments, but that’s because you feel the most comfortable doing fitting in with your surroundings. Why settle for less when you can settle for more?

Source: Buzzfeed

4. Tentacle Teapot – Dark Side
You have a dark side and you’re proud of it. To the average person you’re just another guy/girl getting on with life, but you regularly catch yourself thinking up odd scenarios and doubting that other people have the same thoughts. Being different is what makes you, you.

Dark Side
Source: Saatchi Art

5. Skull Teapot – Goth
Just because you like nasty things doesn’t make you a nasty person. For you, household goods and items of clothing are simply a way to express your personality. Besides, you liked skulls before they were cool.

Source: Cake Head Loves Evil

6. Toilet Teapot – Potty Humour
“You can make me grow up, but you can’t make me be mature” is your motto. Poop, farts and all things dunny give you the giggles, even in adulthood. You’re not ashamed to put a hand under your armpit and flap until it fluffs. And why not? It makes you happy.

Source: Etsy

7. Mr Tea Teapot – Intellectual
Nothing tickles your fancy more than a good pun and a cuppa. You know better than anyone that sense of humour and smarts go hand in hand. You’ve been known to pun in isolation for the benefit of no one other than yourself. And if you ask us, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Mr Tea
Source: Etsy

8. Mickey Teapot – Young at Heart
You’re a sucker for the nostalgic; anything that reminds you of a time past and keeps it fresh in your memory. You have a tendency to look at old photos and daydream, not with sadness, but with an appreciation for your life thus far. Don’t change, it suits you.

Source: Lil Treasures

9. Silver Teapot – The Classic
You are the new black, and the old black, too. You’re always in fashion and people admire your taste. Elegant and ageless, you could exist between centuries and still fit in just fine. Although you may not be as outspoken as some, you remain a stand out.

Source: Style Me Pretty

10. Gypsy Teapot – Wanderer
You have a thirst for adventure that can only be defined as wanderlust. Nothing makes you happier than new experiences, whether at home or abroad. At one stage or another you’ve counted the countries you’ve been to and stood back proud of your achievement. Remember, the journey is more important than the destination.

Source: Dishfuntional Designs


David’s, The People’s Restaurant

You know our best friend, David’s Restaurant? Light-filled dining room, scrumptious Shanghai comfort food, tucked down an alley?

When The Age Good Food Guide announced that voting was open for the People’s Choice Awards, all they could do was sit back and wait while the hungry people of Melbourne picked their favourite dining spots. And thanks to you, and you, and you (et cetera), we’re very proud to announce that they took out the number 3 spot!

They’ll be doing something special soon to say thank you for voting, so be sure to follow them on Facebook.

Here’s some David’s #foodporn to reward you for your beautiful faces, big appetites and ongoing support:

Davids Award_Yum ChaDavids Award_Eggplant Davids Award_Medley Davids Award_Seafood Davids Award_Wings



Dessert Dumplings Recipe

Mango Dessert Dumplings

OTH Blog - Mango Dumplings Recipe

Newsflash: WE LOVE DUMPLINGS. We like ‘em savoury, we like ‘em sweet and we think they should be eaten in the morning, afternoon and night. You can always get your dumpling fix at Oriental Teahouse, but sometimes you just need to do things for yourself. If you’ve had a DIY dumpling urge in your system for awhile now, these super-easy mango dessert dumplings will sort you out.

Thanks to Wholesome Cook for the awesome recipe and photo.

What You Need:

16 pre-made dumpling dough discs (look in the cold section of your supermarket)
400g fresh mango, peeled and diced finely

Lime Syrup
Juice of one lime
1 tablespoon coconut milk

To Serve
Shredded coconut
Mint leaves


– Hold a dumpling dough disc in the palm of your hand and brush edges with water
– Place a heaped teaspoon of diced mango flesh in the middle of the disc and fold the pastry as you would a taco, in half
– Press the edges of the pastry together, keeping the mango inside (the water you brushed on makes it sticky to help seal it)
– Work your way around the edge of your half-moon shaped dumpling, gathering the dough and pressing it to get that classic crimped edge you see on dumplings
– Repeat with remaining dumplings
– Steam dumplings in a paper-lined steamer for 3 or so minutes for the pastry to cook
– Serve warm with a side of the lime syrup and some shredded coconut

A history lesson in Tea


Tea Timeline
(photo source: Fine Dining Lovers)

It’s painful to imagine a world without tea. Across the globe, people have come to rely on their daily cuppa and the jolt of joy that comes with it. But believe it or not, there was a time before tea-drinking, and we’re going to tell you all about it.

2737 BC: TEA IS DISCOVERED. Legend has it that a green tea leaf fell into Chinese Emperor Shen Nung’s cup of hot water, he decided to drink it and obviously loved it.

551-479 BC: Documents from this time identify Confucious as a tea-drinker (no wonder he was so wise!)

350 AD: Tea, called Erh Ya at this time, is referenced in a Chinese dictionary for the first time.

420-588 AD: A rich guy called Wong Mong is described as being obsessed with tea; when he had guests over, he gave them so much tea that they called it ‘flooding.’

593 AD: Our favourite drink spreads from China and into Japan, where locals lap it up.

725 AD: Tea is finally given its own Chinese character: cha

780 AD: The very first tea tax is imposed in China because the dynasty knows the people will pay anything for their precious tea leaves.

960-1280 AD: Tea sets become increasingly ornate, evolving into the exquisite pieces we see in museums; plus, people start building public tea rooms.

1101-1125 AD: Chinese Emperor Hui Tsung is known as a tea fiend and holds tea-tasting tournaments in his court; legend has it that he was so busy drinking tea, he didn’t notice the Mongols were taking over his empire.

1280-1356 AD: The Mongols have taken over China and they don’t want people to drink tea.

1368-1644 AD: When the Mongols fall, the Ming Dynasty takes over and drinks a lot of tea.

1391 AD: The first teapots begin to appear – people didn’t have to prepare tea one cup at a time!

1559 AD: Venetian diplomat and explorer Giambattista Ramusio writes about Chinese tea and says tea is the reason Asian people lived longer than Europeans.

1610 AD: The Dutch East India Company imports the first shipments of Chinese tea to Western shores, marketing it to rich people as an exotic medicinal drink.

1650 AD: Tea parties become a trendy social event among Western women; men are mad because tea was always considered a man’s drink.

1662 AD: Dutch King Charles II marries Catherine Braganza of Portugal, who is known to be a huge fan of tea; as a result, the UK starts drinking so much tea that alcohol consumption declines.

1664 AD: The English East India Company brings the gift of tea to the British king and queen and not long after, tea-drinking becomes a part of daily life in Britain.

1680 AD: Tea served with milk is mentioned for the first time in letters written by Madam de Sévigné.

1690 AD: The American colonies see their first public sale of tea in Massachusetts.

1706 AD: Thomas Twining (does that last name sound familiar?!) puts tea on the menu at his London coffeehouse.

1765 AD: Tea is ranked as the most popular beverage in the American colonies.

1773 AD: Colonists in North America protest Great Britain’s tea tax by boarding a trading ship in the Boston Bay and dumping all the cargo into the bay – we’ll never know if they were motivated by love for tea or political unrest.

1904 AD: Clever Englishman Richard Blechynden creates iced tea during a heat wave at the St Louis World Fair – people love it.

1908 AD: In a happy accident, New York tea importer Thomas Sullivan invents tea bags when he sends tea to clients in small silk bags; not knowing what to do with the bag, his clients steep the bags whole.

2005 AD: Oriental Teahouse opens its first shop on Chapel Street in Melbourne, Australia, improving the lives of Melburnians with house tea blends and Chinese dim sum!






10 Amazing Food World Records

You’re probably a pretty motivated person, setting goals for yourself and what not. A few of those goals have probably pertained to eating, whether you resolved to eat less, eat more or eat something specific. Not to belittle you and your goals, but we’ve come across a handful of individuals who have taken food goals to epic proportions. The sort of proportions that land you in a book of world records. The list is amazing, flabbergasting and disgusting and perfectly sums up a strange breed of champion. Without further ado…

  1. Largest hot dog commercially available
    Sold at Gorilla Tango Novelty Meats, this enormous wiener weighs 3.18kg and costs US$40.

    worldrecord_hot dog

(photo source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/)

  1. Most cheeses named in 10 seconds
    UK-based Paul Melia names 45 different types of cheeses in 10 seconds – watch the video here.


(photo source: http://www.dgrubs.com)

  1. Most Big Macs ever consumed
    American Donald A. Gorske ate his 26,000th Big Mac after 40 years of eating them daily.

    worldrecord_big macs

(photo source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/)

  1. Largest serve of guacamole
    Mexico City smashed this record with 2,670kg serve of guac – made with two and a have tonnes of avocado, 113kg of onions, 320kg of tomatoes and 110 litres of lemon juice.

    worldrecord_largest guac

(photo source: http:// www.guinnessworldrecords.com)

  1. Largest serving of mashed potato
    This 1,042kg vat of mash-pot was pulled off by French chef Joël Robuchon in 2012.

    worldrecord_mashed potato

(photo source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/)

  1. Most potatoes held in one hand
    Tai Star holds 16 potatoes (a mix of gold and sweet potatoes) in one hand and films for Record Setter; according to Star, his ‘hand is not extraordinarily big.’

    worldrecord_potatoes held

(photo source: https://recordsetter.com)

  1. Largest plate of nachos
    The congregation of a church in Texas, USA, built a serve of nachos that weighed 1,612kg and stretched nearly 15 metres.

    worldrecord_largest nachos

(photo source: http://www.worldrecordacademy.com/)

  1. Tallest stack of pancakes
    In 2011, the UK’s Food Network cooked and stacked 725 pancakes, beating the previous record of a measly 672 pancakes.

    worldrecord_tallest stack pancakes

(photo source: http://www.worldrecordacademy.com/)

  1. Most people making dumplings at one time
    We like this one! In Changchun, Jilin Province, China, 2,012 people got together to make dumplings. The record doesn’t show how many they made, but it was probably enough for a province-wide yum cha.


(photo source: http://en.people.cn)

  1. Most loaves of bread squeezed in 60 seconds
    Canadian Mel Sampson squeezed 60 loaves of bread in 60 seconds, claiming the world record and becoming the world’s top speed bread squeezer.

    worldrecord_bread squeeze

(photo source: https://recordsetter.com)

DIY Mother’s Day Presents with Tea

If your mum, like many mums, loves tea, why not try something a little bit more exciting than simply buying her some? Here are five ways you can incorporate tea into hand-made Mother’s Day presents. A little bit of extra effort goes a long way!

1. Green Tea and Peppermint Bath Soak

The antioxidants in green tea make skin glow and peppermint is known for its soothing properties. Not only will it make your mama even more beautiful, she’ll love that you took the time to make it yourself.

What You Need:

3 cups epsom salt
1 cup sea salt
3 teaspoon loose leaf Oriental Teahouse green tea or 9 green tea bags
4-6 drops of peppermint essential oil
6-8 drops coconut or almond oil

Instructions: Adventures in Coupons DIY Green Tea and Peppermint Bath Soak

MothersDayDIY_Green Tea Peppermint Soak

2. Orange and Black Tea Olive Oil Shortbread Cookies

Mother’s Day wouldn’t be complete without some treats for the lady of honour! These cookies are beautiful – the black tea gives them unique flavour complexity, the olive oil lends a softness to the shortbread texture and the orange adds a zesty note of freshness.

What You Need:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1¾ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Oriental Teahouse loose black tea leaves, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
1 orange, zested and juiced (about 4T)
1 cup olive oil

Instructions: Orange and Black Tea Olive Oil Shortbread Cookies


3. Create Your Own Tea Blends

Chances are you know your mum pretty well. And if she’s a tea-drinker, you know which brews make her the happiest. Not only does this DIY Mother’s Day idea result in a happy mum, it also gives you an excuse to act like a mad scientist. Gather up a few tea varieties and get to work concocting one-of-a-kind tea blends made just for Mummy. Bonus points if you package them real pretty!

What You Need:

Your choice of teas from Oriental Teahouse – pick out a few of your mum’s favourites and start experimenting!

Inspiration from The Haystack Needle

MothersDayDIY_Tea Test Tubes

4. Earl Grey Tea Cocktail

After a big day of being showered with love and attention, mama’s going to need a drink. This elegant cocktail combines the classic flavour of Earl Grey with a kick of gin, rich honey, lemon and a subtle infusion of lavender from the sprig garnish. Stock up on the ingredients and surprise Mum with a bevvie when she least expects it!

What You Need:

180ml cold Oriental Teahouse Earl Grey tea
40ml gin
40ml honey simple syrup (recipe below)
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
2 lavender sprigs

Instructions: Earl Grey Tea Cocktail

MothersDayDIY_Earl Grey Cocktail

5. Tea or Herb-Infused Honey

This one’s for the mums that like to mix honey into hot drinks, drizzle it over porridge or perhaps smear a bit on toast every now and then. The flavour of honey varies depending where the bees have been, but you can complement these natural notes by infusing herbs of your own.

What You Need:

About 1-2 tablespoons of dried herbs per 1 cup of honey (stock up on pure dried flowers like rose, chrysanthemum and more from Oriental Teahouse)
Clean, dry jars and lids (half-pint and pint mason jars work well)
Chopstick, wooden spoon handle, or other stirrer (avoid metal, which can scratch jars)
Clean cloth for wiping jar rims

Instructions: Tea or Herb-Infused Honey

MothersDayDIY_Infused Honey