Sometimes you just have to give in and do the tourist thing. Going to the Huxinting Teahouse is a case in point. Located in the jam-packed with tourists Yu Garden Bazaar, the tea house was built in 1784 and is the oldest in Shanghai. The name means mid-lake pavilion and the tea house does indeed sit in the middle of the lake.
The five-sided building is charming and you have to walk a zigzag path to get to it. Apparently, evil spirits can not turn corners and thus walking the Bridge of Nine Turnings will keep you safe!
In spite of all the tourists, I was charmed by the place and we stopped in for afternoon tea. We were in good company at least as both Bill Clinton and Queen Elizabeth have had tea here.
We sat on the second floor and had a beautiful view over the lake and gardens. Our tea was poured into the famous Yixing purple clay teapot, which is said to brew the best tea. Whether it was the best tea in China I don’t know, but my oolong was good and it was served with a variety of sweet and savory treats, including tofu, eggs, rice crackers and more.