Oil-tea is a distinctive flavor of Guilin. It originates from the minorities living in the mountains, drinking oil tea can help them keep warm in winter. Oil tea is one of the favorite foods of Miao, Yao and Dong ethnic people, and is also one of the recommended foods for people traveling in Guilin.
Guilin oil tea falls into several varieties: Gongcheng Yao oil tea, Longsheng Dong oil tea and Xing’an oil tea, each having its distinct characteristics. Among them, the most famous one is Gongcheng (a county near Guilin) oil tea.
Now, let’s have a look at how the Gongcheng oil tea is made.
- Yao people like to steam the sticky rice and then let it dry through airing in shade (or dry in the sun). Put the dried-rice into the boiled oil, it soon becomes popcorn-like through frying. Peanuts, soy beans, and sticky rice cookies should also be fried.
- Soak the tea leaves for 5-10 minutes, then fry local rough tea with ginger, garlic and other seasonings and of course oil in an iron wok.
- Then add some water and stew it. When the tea is being stewed, use a wooden pole to beat the tea until the aroma of tea fully emanates. – The reason local people call it “da youcha (da means beat, youcha means oil tea)” has to do with this special way they use when making tea.
- Add some salt to the tea, then filter the tea.
- Pour the tea into a bowl, and add fried “popcorn” of rice, fried peanuts or soybeans, or other seasonings such as chopped green onion, to the tea.
- Then the oil tea is ready, featuring a unique color, fragrance and aroma.
It is a custom to present the first bowl of oil tea to the senior member of the family and guests. And you can have the oil tea with local snacks and pickles.