Pek Sin Choon: 36 Mosque Street
Head down to their physical store down at Mosque Street for a day of nostalgia.
Pek Sin Choon is famous for its “Renowned Unknown Fragrance” (不知香 bu zhi xiang) – a type of Nanyang tea. The tea got its name from the store’s founder, Pek Kim Ou, who was unable to describe the taste of this tea in words. How did this tea originate? Purely accidental!
A store aunty packing tea leaves the old-fashioned way.
Back then, when the imported tea leaves arrived in Singapore, they became wet. In order to salvage these wet tea leaves, tea merchants began to blend the old and new tea leaves (of various tea species) then re-dry them through means like roasting, frying and baking. This accidental process gave rise to the unique fragrance of the Nanyang Renowned Unknown Fragrance Tea.
Traditional Packaging of the Renowned Unknown Fragrance Tea Leaves.
The distinctive pink and white packaging is not a stylistic choice, rather, one they chose as it was a more accessible option whereby the pink wrap was used to pack medicinal herbs in the past. To this day, they continue to use this pink and white packaging where store aunties and uncles can still be seen packaging the tea leaves by hand. Though labor and time intensive, Pek Sin Choon seeks to retain this traditional cultural aspect of their history.
The Renowned Unknown Fragrance tea should be an amber color! Yes, you may sift the tea leaves out when drinking.
However, we chose not to so we could read our tea leaves (Harry Potter fans unite). Okay, we actually did not have a sift with us.
Curious as to how this Renowned Unknown Fragrance Tea tasted, we headed down to their shop to get a packet to try. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of brewing Chinese tea, you may consult this webpage for modre details (we did). While we are no tea connoisseurs, the Renowned Unknown Fragrance tea at first sip was surprisingly smooth, not too bitter and left a pleasant aftertaste. We enjoyed the first few sips, and before you know it, we were out of tea leaves!
Tea Caddy Pewter with Goldfish Engravings. Photo Credit: Pek Sin Choon
Visit their physical shop, only 5 minutes away from Heritage Collection on Chinatown to try out the various types of Nanyang tea that are all wrapped in the traditional triangular and squared paper pacaging. Aside from Nanyang tea, they also carry other Premium tea flavors and tea accessories such as tea caddy (used to store tea leaves).
Opening Hours: Mon – Sat: 8.30am – 6.30pm, closed on Sunday
Tip: The next time you visit a Bak Kuh Teh shop, request for the Renowned Unknown Fragrance Tea instead of your usual to pair with your Bak Kuh Teh. You will not only be impressing the server but also your tastebuds! 😉