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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mission Teahouse Has a Whiff of Authentic Asian Find About It

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2009 at 4:17 PM

click to enlarge Forget the flute music
  • Forget the flute music
San Francisco has its share of great teahouses, but the newly opened Om Shan Tea (233 14th St. at Natoma) is in a class all its own. It feels like an actual funky little neighborhood teahouse you'd stumble into while traveling in Asia, rather than an idealized simulacrum of someone's notion of what tea should be, which is inevitably high end, featuring lots of Asian-y modern décor and also endless flute music. Let's put it this way: Om Shan Tea is to most other local teahouses as Osento was to Kabuki. It's the physical manifestation of a kind of laid-back, improvisational San Francisco many thought had ceased to exist.

Whether it's a sign of this city's future or its past, five dollars gets you a small teapot of bitchin' pu-erh, and endless hot water refills from an electric teakettle bubbling away next to your table. Bring someone you actually want to spend time with, and settle in for an afternoon of wandering, digressive, caffeinated conversation.

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Heather Smith


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