23 April 2010

Say NO to Bananas

When you’re drinking some fine teas, that is.

I had already been sitting there for 3 hours with them and since I was running late, I had missed breakfast, too. 

I try not to eat too much when I taste teas.  Many foods will change one’s taste perceptions, but I was too hungry and I didn’t have time to run into the 7-11 for some biscuits before our meeting.

Mrs. Hoho (she chuckles at me fondly with a “hoho,” sometimes a “hohoho”) was packing tea.  She and Mr. Hoho (a misnomer, since I usually only get one “ho” from him) are usually pretty busy, so it’s not uncommon for them to miss meals.  I had been eyeing two bananas sticking out from a bag that looked like their daughter’s lunch sack, fighting the urge to take food from a child.


“Mrs. Hoho, I haven’t eaten all morning.  Can I have a banana?”

She walked over to me and put a hand on the table as she looked around to find the banana that I was eyeing.  “Oh, let’s go eat some noodles and buns, that banana is not for you to eat.  If you do, you won’t be able to taste tea anymore.”


“Bananas dull your tastes.  Some tea sellers used to offer bananas to their customers so that they wouldn’t be able to taste the bitterness and astringency of the tea.”  Mr. Hoho said that smaller finger bananas have a richer and denser taste than the average yellow bananas we see in our grocery stores.  Bananas, in retrospect, do tend to coat our mouths with a thick “film,” their mushy flesh filling in the many hiding spots in our mouths. 

We shared a several buns from a nearby shop and returned to drink more tea.  At the end of our day, they gave me a banana to eat and asked me to taste tea again.  It became hard to accurately taste the subtle flavors of tea.  Acidic fruits, like berries, kiwis and grapefruits, will definitely affect the experience of tea tasting (usually negatively), but bananas help bad teas taste less bad.

1 comment:

  1. I have a hard time tasting greener teas (especially really green oolongs and young sheng) after having really pungent foods like onion or garlic. It seems to bring out some of the really unpleasant aspects of these teas.

    While I like these types of food a lot, I tend to try and avoid them if possible when I'm going to be tasting a lot of tea.