Food Photography Journal: Steep LA

Steep LA, cutest teahouse ever and also Toasted Touch’s first ever food photography client. We first spotted this cute LA Chinatown teahouse while browsing online, and we couldn’t wait to shoot there.

By Anna Lai

Steep LA’s bright and homey interior is combined with delicate tea and delicious food. The teahouse is located in Chinatown’s Mandarin Plaza and is part of a growing number of small restaurants and cafes setting up shop in the historic quarter. The teahouse serves up both traditional (you can even do a tea ceremony!) and new mixes of tea-based concoctions and also sells really cute clay teapots and hip attire courtesy of clothing brand Apt 135. The place is great for groups with a large courtyard outside to enjoy snacks, or if you’re a single-for-life like me who just wants to relax and enjoy a cup of tea.

Browsing the cafe’s collection of teapots really brought me back to my parents’ hometown of Canton, an unassuming city in southern China. No one really knows about this place outside of Asia (and even within Asia), but it’s the third largest city in China and has been a burgeoning trade city for over a thousand years. It’s where dimsum came from, where the first of maritime traders made contact with China, where the first Chinese Americans came from, and where modern China found its roots. Today, it’s known for its fresh food and confusing mix of old and new. It’s not as new and technological as Shenzhen, not as glamorous as Shanghai, nor as grand as Beijing, but Canton holds its own as a city that has continuously retained the old and brought in the new for China. Within the old alleyways of Xiguan and Dongshan, the two main historical quarters of Canton (and a place of love stories and legends), cafes and teahouses much like Steep LA have also popped up in recent years. They’ve brought new life to these delicate dwellings that had been falling into disrepair just a decade past. Young and old alike now sit under the eaves of the long arcades and in small courtyards, enjoying a time past with a cup of tea served from a tiny clay pot.

In a similar manner as the cafes and teahouses of Canton, Steep LA brings to Chinatown a legacy of Chinese and American history and culture while integrating a touch of new. Definitely check this place out if you’re ever in the area or if you’re looking for somewhere that has both awesome food and drink!

Steep LA Information:

Address: 970 N Broadway Suite 112, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Business Hours: Tue-Sat 11AM-7PM | Sun-Mon CLOSED

Visit Steep LA’s Instagram

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