The Six-Pawed PandaLocation:
The Tea Quarter, HeiligDestination Type:
Tea House, Tea ShopAbout this Location:
Though certainly not the first nor only Thai tea house located in Heilig's well-established Tea Quarter, The Six-Pawed Panda certainly holds its own amongst the competition as a unique and vibrant locale. What most guests will notice first about this particular venue is that it's architecture is of both Thai and Chinese influence, a proud declaration of the mixed goods to be found inside. The short, curved walls that circle the building's entrance provide space for outdoor seating during the warmer months, while the main doors are almost always folded back and left open to welcome in guests during the hours of operation. At the front, a shop has been set up in order to sell some of the simpler foods and certain tea blends offered inside; this is for customer convenience, brought about by popular demand for those who don't always have time to sit down and enjoy some time inside, or who would simply like to take a few goodies home for later. A half-curtained moon door opens up to the interior, where several tables and comfortable cushions are set up to allow guests to enjoy their time either alone or with a few friends. For larger groups, there are two rooms on either side of the main floor that can be partitioned off with sliding doors. A central platform towards the back of the establishment, located between the doors to the kitchen and the facilities, provides a stage of sorts for hired musicians or poets. What can be found here?
While Thai teas make up the bulk of The Six-Pawed Panda's sales, owner Phaibun Li prides herself on also offering a select variety of brews from other Asian cultures, including Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and a few others. Teas both hot and cold are served regularly, some being prepared completely in the kitchen, others being prepared right at the table, depending on complexity. Coffee is out of the question, of course, but the host or hostess would be glad to offer any of their fine, equally energizing teas. During festivals, small amounts of alcohol may be purchased, but drunkenness is strictly prohibited, and those who cannot hold their own will be asked to leave or promptly escorted from the premises.
Sometimes, of course, a beverage alone is not enough. As it isn't a full-fledged restaurant, one shouldn't expect to get a meal here, but the shop certainly does offer some wonderful lighter fare, such as rice cakes, small dumpling plates, Thai sticky rice, among other sweets or small savory finger foods. The shop specialty, however, is the true star. The Chakra Plate has six small sweet buns, each one with a different filling made to correspond to the nature of each chakra, and a cup of the shop's tea of the day. For those unfamiliar with the practice, they may wonder why there are only six buns when there are seven chakras. The answer is simple: the Crown Chakra is more spiritual than physical, and thus is represented with a refreshing, stimulating cup of tea. Some may be skeptical of the flavors if they are not familiar with their ingredients, but those who give it a try almost always come back for another Chakra Plate. Looking for work?
If someone wants to work for this particular shop, they may just be in luck! There are a handful of faithful regulars who have made this shop their second home, but spots usually pop open every few months--especially during the busy festival seasons. Those who have no experience with tea or Thai cuisine need not worry, as not all positions require culinary skill. Occupations include:
- Entertainer (singer, poet/reciter, musician)
- Shopkeep (for the front of the store, where items can be sold to those not enjoying the teas on-site)
- Maintenance and Cleaning
- Managerial Assistant (Phaibun Li sometimes needs someone for accounting, advertising, and other non-server-style work related to the business)
- Supervisors (Senior Host or Hostess)Personal Character Connections:
This locale is not
directly tied to Kveta, but she *does* work here! It may seem strange that she wouldn't seek out a Turkish coffee house instead, but she finds tea houses like these to be much calmer, and provide her with just enough distance from a past she's not quite made peace with. Phaibun and her assistants had to train her in proper tea-preparing techniques, but she proved to be a quick learner and is currently a potential candidate should a senior hostess position open up. It wouldn't be impossible to find her here, putting her conversational or musical skills to good use for her customers. Extra Facts:
- The Six-Pawed Panda gets its name from Phaibun's sybal, which takes the shape of a red panda with--quite unsurprisingly--six paws. Each paw has a Chakra mark at its center, and the symbol of the Crown Chakra can be found on the top of her head. On her hind legs, Phaibun stands roughly 4 feet tall, with a tail just a little under half her length. Her sybal power is known as the Chakra Touch; she can give someone a bit of healing or ease with the touch of a paw (or, in case of the Crown Chakra, her snout) corresponding to the pain or distress they are experiencing. This also played into her development of the Chakra Plate in her shop.
- Phaibun is married to Li Chen Bai, a Chinese man who arrived from the Han Dynasty. Initially, they began the tea shop together, but not long after Chen Bai decided he would rather operate as a street vendor, and leave his wife to be the proud owner of the shop they created. When Phaibun needs a break, Chen Bai will gladly step in to fill her place if a managerial assistant is unable to do so, but the shop is his wife's pride and joy, and he wouldn't dare take that from her. Besides, he enjoys serving and interacting with people one-on-one rather than overseeing a singular venue. They've been happily married for many years. Art, characters, info (c)