Traditional Hakka Lui Cha – Clean Eating Has Never Tasted This Good!
As an ardent fan of anything and everything that is meaty, you’ll never find me queuing in front of a vegetarian stall for lunch. That was until a vegetarian friend of mine started raving about this stall in Jurong West Food Centre — Traditional Hakka Lui Cha (河婆客家擂茶).
Lei cha fan (擂茶饭) is also known as Thunder Tea Rice. The Lei (擂) in lei cha fan actually means grind in Chinese, but it also sounds like the word for ‘thunder’ (雷). A traditional bowl of lei cha fan contains rice and is chock full of fresh vegetables, tofu and nuts. However, the true highlight of any lei cha fan is the flavourful green soup that is served on the side.
Although hesitant at first, I decided to have lei cha fan for lunch, in an attempt to be health conscious for once. I arrived at the stall at around 11am and I was surprised to see that a queue of five to six people had already formed. After speaking with the owner, I found out that the stall has been open for more than 10 years! The storefront proudly advertises its food to contain less oil, less salt and no MSG, so you can be confident that you’re having a guilt-free meal.
The lei cha fan comes with your choice of either white or brown rice. The lei cha soup is prepared in advance and comes in the form of a concentrated paste. Hot water is added to it just prior to serving. When I first received the white rice Lei Cha Fan ($3.50), I could tell that the dish was the epitome of clean-eating. The white rice was generously topped with an array of vegetables, including cabbage, green beans and choy sim. Also in the bowl were tofu and chye poh (preserved radish). Peanuts can also be added.
I had to get a taste of the star of the show first. The green soup didn’t look very appetising and was almost medicinal-looking. I was definitely pleasantly surprised when I took my first sip. The soup contained bits of ground peanuts, which added a nice crunch. The peanuts imparted their nutty aroma and flavour without overpowering the herbs used in the soup. I was expecting the soup to taste bitter and overly herbaceous, but the flavours of mint and basil were delicate and subtle. This heavy-bodied soup was comforting and refreshing. I found myself enjoying spoonful after spoonful, almost forgetting that there was a whole bowl of rice waiting for me!
I mixed all the ingredients thoroughly before taking a bite. The flavours were clean, and I could taste each ingredient distinctly. Just when I thought that the dish was a tad too bland, I got a bite of the salty and intensely savoury chye poh which lifted the flavour of the dish immensely. The peanuts also added a lovely hint of sweetness to the dish.
I also decided to order the brown rice version ($4) and added more vegetables this time ($1 more). Even though brown rice is normally seen as the healthier and less tasty option, I found that it worked brilliantly in the dish. The brown rice added a more substantial bite and chew, which complemented the variety of vegetables that were mixed in with the rice. I would recommend this version over the white rice one!
Overall, Traditional Hakka Lui Cha serves up some good and delicious lei cha. Despite my carnivorous nature, I definitely foresee myself visiting the stall again.
Traditional Hakka Lui Cha
Address: Blk 505 #01-12 Jurong West 52, Singapore 640505
Mobile: 8126 8080
Area: Jurong West
Opening Hours: 6am to 2:30pm daily, closed on Monday.
MissTamChiak.com made anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.
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