By Cat Tong, Staff Writer
When people talk about Annandale, they know it by reputation and the nickname, “Koreatown” as a popular attraction. Due to it’s collection of Korean-owned businesses, Annandale has become a central area for the growth of Korean culture and tradition. A variety of churches and organizations gather each weekend for meetings, bakeries are full of “Ajummas” and “Ajushis” –older women and men– for conversations and a cup of coffee.
Other businesses consist of a plethora of Korean soul food like Lighthouse Tofu and Bon Chon Chicken, sweet and savory corner bakeries such as Tous Les Jours and Manoa, and a variety of Asian grocery shops and authentic dress boutiques. In the heart of Annandale, is a quiet and quaint teahouse situated next to the Annandale Shopping Center.
Soricha Tea House welcomes you to be their guest and become acquainted of the wonders of Korean tradition and performing arts. To the right side of the teahouse there is a stage with rustic tree-slice tables and pillows around each edge for seating.
As a custom of most Asian cultures, shoes must come off when entering a home or stage area. The stage acts as a performance area, as Soricha often puts on live cultural performances including “pansori” which is a traditional art form. This form of music is part of the Korean folk music genre, sometimes paired with a story and characters, featuring long vocals as percussive music plays in the background.
Simply listening to the music takes you back on a trip through time. Aside from showcasing their appreciation for music and arts, Soricha is called “tea and theater” for a reason. Along the back wall and on a table, arranged neatly with labels in the front of every jar, is their thoughtfully curated tea collection.
Each tea has its own unique flavor and supposed health benefits. They have just about everything for your average tea lover, from very fragrant and flowery, to bold and malty, as well as darker teas to fit your preference. These teas give your five senses a mind-blowing field trip through its silky aromas and smooth, warm finishes.
A favorite among the savory teas include the Roasted Dandelion Root Tea, known for its soothing qualities and positive impacts on the digestive system, which many say taste like coffee. A long list of many other teas including burdock root tea (good for skin), buckwheat tea (cooling down), and the balloon flower root tea (good for respiratory system & digestion) are also full of nutrients.
Refreshing teas popular in the iced versions include omija tea or grapefruit. I personally recommend any of the Chrysanthemum teas, which complement and balance out the sweetness from the desserts and snacks nicely. Teas are offered in either “cup” size for individuals or “pot” size, shareable among larger groups. In addition to their beautiful stage, eye for detail and healthy teas, their menu consists of desserts like “bing soo” (shaved ice with flavor and toppings), as well as smoothies, coffees and lattes.
If you’re in need of a change of scenery or a breath of fresh air, Soricha is definitely the place to go. Soricha Tea & Theater’s charm will captivate and comfort, and what better way to learn about another culture than enjoying a warm cup of tea accompanied by a live performance?
Photos by Cat Tong