Back at Fortune Centre again and this time I decided to try Thunder Tea Rice (also known as Lei Cha) at Pine Tree Cafe. Almost every vegetarian stall sells this dish but I decided to give Pine Tree Cafe a try. I paid $6 for a big portion of brown rice with pan fried tofu, lots of greens, roasted peanuts and salted radish. The green soup did not look appetizing and it tasted like a savory green tea soup. It was best eaten all mixed up and I loved crunching on the peanuts with my vegetable rice mix.
I read it once from CAMEMBERU blog about this Hakka traditional dish and was quite amazed the soup base is made of tea leaves actually.
Taken from her blog: “Lei cha fan” or Thunder Rice Tea. The Chinese have long regarded food as medicine and this Chinese supersalad is the best detox meal if there ever was one. You get a wide variety of carefully selected vegetables (including blanched long beans, cabbage, carrots, four-angled beans, chye sim, celery, chye poh or preserved radish) and an almost medicinal green tea broth, which you pour onto the dry ingredients and enjoy, almost like an ochazuke (rice with tea). There’s protein from tofu and peanuts. Whether taken with brown or white rice, thunder rice tea makes a cheap, hearty, nutritious, fibre-rich meal. It’s also reputed to boost metabolism.
This dish is from the Chinese migratory Hakka dialect group and is several hundred years old. I found out that although it has the Chinese character for thunder, “Lei” in Hakka means to mill or pound. So technically this is pounded rice tea? But still others say the name is due to the loud pounding noises made when preparing the ingredients. The many ingredients certainly make this a laborious process.
The taste however, is not for everyone. Some find it enervating and refreshing. Others do not like the bitter or strong herbal notes. The savoury broth is a complex mixture – ground green tea leaves, coriander, basil, mint, Chinese parsley, sesame seeds, ginger, mugwort and fuliksum (what on earth is fuliksum?). “Tastes like Colgate!” a former colleague of mine said of the strong minty factor. I find the taste improves after you let the broth soak up some of the umami flavour from the preserved radish and brown rice.”
The taste from this meal is definitely not for everyone and I am game to go on a “Lei Cha” hunt to find the best in Singapore!
After the meal, I was itching for something sweet and headed to Create Healthy Lifestyle Cafe for their black sesame yogurt $3.80 coated with 4 different types of chopped nuts! Yummy and extremely satisfying:)
190 Middle Road
#02-09/13 Fortune Centre
Tel: +65 9815 4940
Closed on Sundays. Open Daily from 10am-8pm