American-born Ben Loy and Chinese-born Mei Oi are, at first, blissfully married until Ben Loy finds himself overworked and impotent. Mei Oi, lonely and isolated in the new world, is seduced by Chinatown’s scoundrel. The affair is discovered and Ben Loy is avenged by his father. Reunited, Ben Loy and Mei Oi move to San Francisco where they start anew.
An often comic novel, Tea is one of the first works to offer a faithful portrait of New York’s Chinatown. The title comes from an old Chinese herbal remedy: eating a bowl of tea is believed to restore a man’s potency.
The book was delightfully brought to the big screen in 1989 by grandmaster APA filmmaker Wayne Wang, starring his wife Cora Miao, Russell Wong, and Victor Wong.