I feel like we’re overdue for a post about tea, so today we’re making Homemade Spiced Chai! I first started drinking tea soon after we moved to Kathmandu. At that time I was 9 and chai or chiya as we said in Nepali, was integral to socializing in our new culture. When we went shopping bargaining took place over a cup of tea. Once we moved out into the village to work at the NGO hospital, teatime was usually around 10 am. Everyone stopped working and took a break for a half hour and drank tea together. Sometimes I would go down to the hospital and have tea with the staff, other times we had our tea at home as a recess from school.
One such experience has always stuck in my memory. My dad and I had driven eight hours to the nearest city to pick up some car parts. We arrived late in the evening and were offered tea while they got our parts from storage. Now, when I say store I mean one of the little store fronts you see in pictures of Asian countries. A small room facing the street with a metal garage door that pulls down and locks when you close for the night. This one was spare, dark and full of car parts, much like a small warehouse. They offered us “special” tea, whatever that meant, and we accepted of course. Lo and behold out comes a china chocolate pot. Decorative, fancy and accompanied by demitasse china cups!