|Hong Kong-based Hung Fook Tong offers an assortment of herbal teas. (GT)|
Nick Cai has been living in Shanghai for over three years. Every summer the Guangdong native receives a package of liangcha (medicinal herbal tea) ingredients from his hometown. Drinking liangcha is a time-honored custom for people in South China, especially Hong Kong, Guangdong Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, as it is believed to help counter the heat and humidity of summer. Indeed, although liangcha can be consumed hot or cold, it literally means "cooling tea" because of its purported ability to cool the body down.
This summer, as Shanghai residents endure unprecedented high temperatures, Cai's herbal tea has unexpectedly become popular with his friends in the city.
Luckily, you don't need to have a Cantonese friend send you dried ingredients from down south to enjoy a refreshing cup of liangcha. Here are three herbal tea purveyors in Shanghai.
Old Chinese brand
Located down the narrow and quiet Xing'an Road away from the bustle of Huaihai Road Middle is the only Shanghai branch of the Guangdong-based brand Xu Qixiu Herbal Tea. The compact store has been in operation for seven years.
Xu Qixiu was born in 1870 into a family that ran a herbal tea business in Fogang, Guangdong Province, and later moved and settled down in the city of Yingde. He not only traded in herbal teas, but also prescribed them for local patients.