Thunder Tea (Lei Cha 擂茶) – Living Wholesome Vegetarian Food

Lei Cha 擂茶, literally translates to Thunder Tea, is a Hakka dish. Lei 擂in Hakka dialect means “grind” but the homonym made it sound like thunder in Mandarin while Cha 茶 is tea in Chinese language. Thunder Tea rice meal or Lei Cha is considered healthy food as it contains ingredients like basil, cilantro, mint, parsley and ku lek sim, which were traditionally used to treat ailments. Mine was accompanied with organic brown rice and an assortment of stir-fried vegetables.

The stallholders told me they’ve added many different types of nuts in the green tea and it should taste less bitter than the traditional ones. The bitterness actually comes from a herb called “ku lek sim” which is supposed to have medicinal properties. I did not take to this dish with the tea. While the rice and vegetables on their own are very tasty, I decided this dish was not for me after a tiny sip of the green tea. I should have pinched my nose and down the tea as I believe it must be very good for the body; perhaps some detoxifying effect. If you like Lei Cha, this stall does not stinge on quality ingredients.

Lei Cha擂茶 translates to Thunder Tea rice meal served with bitter nutty green tea is traditionally eaten by pouring the tea over the rice.

Lei Cha擂茶 translates to Thunder Tea rice meal served with bitter nutty green tea is traditionally eaten by pouring the tea over the rice.

This was the bitter nutty green tea. I could taste strong nutty flavours which was very aromatic but I could not take the bitterness. It's an acquired taste.

This was the bitter nutty green tea.
I could taste strong nutty flavours which was very aromatic but I could not take the bitterness
I guess it’s an acquired taste.

4-Angled Beans or Winged Beans (Asparagus Pea) - these beans contain the highest proportion of calcium which make bones strong and prevents breakage. Vitamins A and C along with several minerals make up the legumes that endow the body with powers to fight diseases.

4-Angled Beans or Winged Beans (Asparagus Pea) – these beans contain the highest proportion of calcium which make bones strong and prevents breakage.
Vitamins A and C along with several minerals make up the legumes that endow the body with powers to fight diseases.

Preserved Turnip (Chye Poh).<br />While turnip roots are rich in vitamin C and boiled turnip is common household remedy for cough and cold in certain culture, I couldn't find out about the nutritional value of preserved turnips.<br /><br />Black and White Sesame Seeds.<br />Sesame is among the seeds rich in quality vitamins and minerals. They are very good sources of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and riboflavin.

Preserved Turnip (Chye Poh).
While turnip roots are rich in vitamin C and boiled turnip is common household remedy for cough and cold in certain culture, I couldn’t find out about the nutritional value of preserved turnips.Black and White Sesame Seeds.
Sesame is among the seeds rich in quality vitamins and minerals. They are very good sources of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and riboflavin.

Cabbage is an excellent source of natural antioxidant, vitamin C and vitamin K. It also has adequate amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.<br /><br />Carrots has exceptionally rich source of carotenes, beta-carotene, vitamin A. They are also rich in poly-acetylene antioxidant falcarinol, vitamin C and the B-complex groups of vitamins such as folic acid, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, pantothenic acid, to name a few.

Cabbage is an excellent source of natural antioxidant, vitamin C and vitamin K. It also has adequate amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.Carrots has exceptionally rich source of carotenes, beta-carotene, vitamin A. They are also rich in poly-acetylene antioxidant falcarinol, vitamin C and the B-complex groups of vitamins such as folic acid, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, pantothenic acid, to name a few.

Tofu has high protein value. Soy isoflavones have been shown to reduce post menopause hot flashes in women or to help prevent cancers of the breast, uterus or prostate. However, individuals with allergies, particularly those allergic to legumes, should not consume tofu.

Tofu has high protein value. Soy isoflavones have been shown to reduce post menopause hot flashes in women or to help prevent cancers of the breast, uterus or prostate. However, individuals with allergies, particularly those allergic to legumes, should not consume tofu.

They looked like red beans to me but the stallholder told me they were Brow Beans (Mei Dou 眉 豆). I couldn't find brow beans online but the translation of the Chinese characters led me to Black Eye or Cow Peas, supposedly rich in proteins, amino acids, lysine and tryptophan.

They looked like red beans to me but the stallholder told me they were Brow Beans (Mei Dou 眉 豆). I couldn’t find brow beans online but the translation of the Chinese characters led me to Black Eye or Cow Peas, supposedly rich in proteins, amino acids, lysine and tryptophan.

Peanuts are an excellent source of dietary protein, vitamin E and minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.

Peanuts are an excellent source of dietary protein, vitamin E and minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.

Bok Choy, available all year round, is one of the most popular green leafy vegetables and has very low calories. It is a rich source of many vital phyto-nutrients, vitamins, minerals and health benefiting anti-oxidants.

Bok Choy, available all year round, is one of the most popular green leafy vegetables and has very low calories. It is a rich source of many vital phyto-nutrients, vitamins, minerals and health benefiting anti-oxidants.

The main differences between brown and white rice lie in processing and nutritional content. White rice is sometimes enriched with the addition of vitamin B1, vitamin B3, and iron to make up for the loss during processing, magnesium is not added back into it. One cup (195 g) of cooked long grain brown rice contains 84 mg of magnesium while one cup of white rice contains 19 mg. Also, when the bran layer is removed to make white rice, the oil in the bran is also removed. Rice bran oil may help lower LDL cholesterol.

The main differences between brown and white rice lie in processing and nutritional content.
White rice is sometimes enriched with the addition of vitamin B1, vitamin B3, and iron to make up for the loss during processing, magnesium is not added back into it. One cup (195 g) of cooked long grain brown rice contains 84 mg of magnesium while one cup of white rice contains 19 mg.
Also, when the bran layer is removed to make white rice, the oil in the bran is also removed. Rice bran oil may help lower LDL cholesterol.

Rickey had confided he doesn't like Lei Cha so he ordered a local as well as Penang (paler version) of CKT.

Rickey had confided he doesn’t like Lei Cha so he ordered a local as well as Penang (paler version) of CKT.

While I do enjoy vegetarian food every now and then, going totally vegan is not for me. Not now but who knows?

While I do enjoy vegetarian food every now and then, going totally vegan is not for me. Not now but who knows?

For those who enjoy Lei Cha, I think this stall does a wonderful job. The stallholders were also very friendly and despite being busy that morning, they took the time to educate me on the ingredients.

For those who enjoy Lei Cha, I think this stall does a wonderful job. The stallholders were also very friendly and despite being busy that morning, they took the time to educate me on the ingredients.

Individuals who are allergic to soybeans, legumes, nuts and anything listed here, should refrain from eating the trigger foods.

Information credit on the nutritional value of foods were found Online and Wikipedia.

Click here to see legumes chart.

There are many good food stalls in Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre. It is very crowded during weekends especially in the morning.

P.S. If you love Lei Cha, I can vouch this stall serves it in its entirety, and even more! The quality is definitely not questionable.

Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre
116 Upper Bukit Timah Road,
Singapore 588172.

Living (wholesome vegetarian food)
Stall #02-188

Happy eating 🙂

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Comments
14 Responses to “Thunder Tea (Lei Cha 擂茶) – Living Wholesome Vegetarian Food”
  1. Janet Rörschåch says:

    You and your friends have a great time. Your enjoyment just infuses your posts. What a treat to always read and see your photos. Keep blogging, Sam. Don’t you stop. We will all go in withdrawal.

  2. I’m a big fan of Lei Cha! 🙂 Love the one at Lau Pa Sat. I guess it’s an acquired taste – either you love it or you hate it. I just love the crunch and texture of the variety of veggies. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sam Han says:

      They look very pleasing to the eyes and I have always wanted to try. That was my first time. Rickey my friend in the picture also said the same thing you did, “either love or hate it” just like durians I suppose. The “tea” was actually very “gao” so I know the owners were using very rich ingredients. I just cannot tahan the bitterness. I will give it a try again, Lau Pa Sat you say? On my list 😀

  3. Laura Lynn says:

    Wow, what a great post! So informative and, as usual, beautiful photographs. I followed your link and bookmarked it so I can keep this info at my fingertips!

  4. Lignum Draco says:

    I’ve never seen this dish before. Sounds Interesting.

    • Sam Han says:

      I was quite surprised to see many western expatriates that morning eating this dish. They are very pleasant indeed. The stallholders knew it was my first try and discouraged me to pour the “tea” over the rice. They were right! I enjoyed the meal better that way. 😀

  5. Andy T says:

    Hello Sam, thank you for this wonderful post!

    I have just eaten vegan Hakka Lui Cha in Kuala Lumpur for lunch (one of my local favourites), but reading your story and seeing your beautiful pictures makes me all hungry again!

    And … DO consider going vegan!
    It’s not that hard 🙂

    • Sam Han says:

      I had a good Lui Cha at JB after writing this post and that changed my mind about the green tea (soup). It was much tastier and easy to drink. As for going vegan, I am not ready. Still love my meat too much, lol… 🙂

  6. Kenny says:

    So how should I order this? Just “one plate of lei cha, please”? There are no variations?

    • Sam Han says:

      Lei Cha is a meal in itself. It has different variety of secondary ingredients to the rice but I’m quite sure you can opt out of certain ingredients you don’t like or add on for extra money by asking the hawker. Otherwise, yes, “one lei cha please” 😄

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