(Quan Am is the Vietnamese name for the Buddhist goddess known as Quan Yin in Chinese. The following version of her story is the Vietnamese legend as known by my wife, Dao. Other versions will likely differ.)
Legend has it that Quan Am was married to a rich man who had a mole on his face with a hair growing out from it. Thinking this to be ugly, one night, while he slept, Quan Am took scissors and was going to trim the hair. However, her husband suddenly awoke, and, seeing Quan Am standing above him with a scissors, thought that she was trying to murder him. Thereupon, her husband and his family put her out of the house. Alone and poor, Quan Am dressed as a man and went to the Buddhist pagoda, where she worked and prayed for the rest of her days, setting such an example that she became a Buddhist saint, Quan Am Thi Kinh, or Quan Am Bo Tat.
(Dao's mother, Le Thi Kinh, was so named in honor of this saint.)
The association of Quan Am Thi Kinh with the tea called Quan Yin stems from an interesting Chinese legend which can be found here, where you will also learn why this tea is sometimes called "Iron Goddess."
Tea Trader offers two types of Quan Yin tea; a very nice regular grade and a superb premium grade called Goddess of Mercy. Dao insists that Goddess of Mercy has Jasmine overtones, but Ted says not... you should try it for yourself and see. It brews to a light, perfectly transparent color, and tastes clean and fresh with just a slight hint of smoke. The regular grade of Quan Yin goes very well with a Chinese meal, especially Szechwan or Hunan style.
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