Thunder Tea Rice @ Volcano Coffee House 火山茶餐室擂茶 – An Outing With Tony Johor Kaki Pt. 3

I was still whooping it up in Happy Land in my mind… I was savouring the velvety mush of azuki beans from Ian’s bowl of Ice Kacang (blink once). I should have gobbled at least one of The Silver Chef’s attap chee. I also should have scooped more ganache from Tony’s dessert (blink twice). Tyng’s was spared as most of you know by now I am not a fan of mango. Hmmm… Come to think of it, I remembered she ordered something else in the beginning so did she change to Mango Ice because she’s been reading my blog? 😉 Blink three times and I’m snapped out of it… the daydreaming, and in the right tempo too, for we have arrived at our next destination!

I think we're in the wrong neighbourhood. Tony and Ian went to ask for directions... Hey! Men asking for directions?! But of course, my buddies are gentlemen and do not put their egos before the ladies' safety and comfort. Tyng laid in ambush just a few shops away for anything that caught her digital eye.

I think we’re in the wrong neighbourhood.
Tony and Ian went to ask for directions… Hey! Men asking for directions?!
But of course, my buddies are gentlemen and do not put their egos before the ladies’ safety and comfort.
Tyng laid in ambush just a few shops away for anything that caught her digital eye.

It was our maiden trip to Volcano Coffee House so we didn't know about the shop's operation time.<br />It was very likely at around 2pm or passed 2pm when we arrived.

It was our maiden trip to Volcano Coffee House so we didn’t know about the shop’s operation time.
It was very likely at around 2pm or passed 2pm when we arrived.

Mrs. Lew was surprised when we trickled in at 2pm.<br />She must have guessed we were not from around here because her operations hours would be known to the locals but she welcomed us with a smile anyway.

Mrs. Lew was surprised when we trickled in at 2pm.
She must have guessed we were not from around here because her operations hours would be known to the locals but she welcomed us with a smile anyway.

Lei Cha 擂茶 is Pounded Tea but it has evolved to Thunder Tea as play on pun.<br />Lei means pound in Hakka dialect which sounded like thunder in Mandarin.

Lei Cha 擂茶 is Pounded Tea but it has evolved to Thunder Tea as play on pun.
Lei means pound in Hakka dialect which sounded like thunder in Mandarin.

A mixture of greens and preserved greens on rice.

A mixture of greens and preserved greens on rice.

Lei cha 擂茶, literally means "pounded tea".<br />It is a traditional Hakka tea-based beverage or gruel.<br />Pounded tea consists of a mix of tea leaves and herbs that are ground or pounded together with various roasted nuts, seeds, grains, and flavourings.

Lei cha 擂茶, literally means “pounded tea”.
It is a traditional Hakka tea-based beverage or gruel.
Pounded tea consists of a mix of tea leaves and herbs that are ground or pounded together with various roasted nuts, seeds, grains, and flavourings.

The ingredients are ground in a food processor, or with a mortar and pestle, or traditionally in a large earthenware basin with a wooden stick. The mix should be reduced to a powder that resembles fine cornmeal.

The ingredients are ground in a food processor, or with a mortar and pestle, or traditionally in a large earthenware basin with a wooden stick. The mix should be reduced to a powder that resembles fine cornmeal.

Lei Cha 擂茶 is slightly bitter and astringent. This concoction of herbaceous tea is believed to lower the bad cholesterol, detoxify one’s body, relieve stress, aid digestion, combat flu and generally, boost the immune system. The usual herbs that goes into the making of Lei Cha are Basil, Cilantro, Mint, Parsley and Ku Lek Sim (黄花艾?) or perhaps Yomogi (a bitter Japanese mugwort or Artemisia princeps in scientfic name). I prounounced Ku Lek Sim so well, the young Lew ladies thought I was Hakka. Ian asked me the name of last herb in English and I simply underscored “Ku Lek Sim” with British accent, lol… Yea, yea that was truly lame and he did rolled his eyes 😉

Volcano is a family run business by Mr. and Mrs. Lew, and their two daughters. Mrs. Lew divulged that they had started their business selling something that wasn’t profitable. She reckoned that since Lei Cha was so welcomed in her family, she introduced it to the shop and it was well received. Since then, Lei Cha has been their signature dish along with other Hakka fare like Yong Tau Foo!

We were the last customers and the best offerings were gone by then but we’ll get a chance next time I’m sure, provided we go earlier. Volcano Coffee House starts their business at 5am in order to serve their customers who do the daily commute from their hometown, Kelapa Sawit, to Singapore for work. The homecooked meal takeaways at Volcano Coffee House is an affordable opulence for these patrons.

Volcano’s Lei Cha comes with steamed white rice, topped with nutritious greens inclusive of sayur manis, cabbage, pickled turnips, long beans, and omelette, served with a side of peanuts and non-vegetarian broth. This meal completely converted my bitter impression of Lei Cha. Click here to see my previous post on vegetarian Lei Cha.

“We squander health
In search of wealth;
We scheme and toil, and save,
Then squander wealth
In search of health;
And all we get is the grave;
We live and boast of what we own;
We die . . . and only get a stone.” – Anonymous

You know the saying "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."<br />I think it works for food, too!<br />I'm a convert!

You know the saying “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
I think it works for food, too!
I’m a convert!

I was telling Mrs. Lew about my first encounter with Ku Lek Sim and how bitter tasting it was.<br />Without hesistation, she asked one of her assistants to get us some Ku Lek Sim tea.<br />"Try it", she implored.

I was telling Mrs. Lew about my first encounter with Ku Lek Sim and how bitter tasting it was.
Without hesistation, she asked one of her assistants to get us some Ku Lek Sim tea.
“Try it”, she implored.

The umami awakening:<br />And the veil was lifted!<br />I am better prepared to tackle Ku Lek Sim and taste more Lei Cha ;-)

The umami awakening:
And the veil was lifted!
I am better prepared to tackle Ku Lek Sim and taste more Lei Cha 😉

Mrs. Lew with her two beautiful daughters and bubbly grandchild.

Mrs. Lew with her two beautiful daughters and bubbly grandchild.

Volcano Coffee House 火山茶餐室
Address: Jalan Sri Paya, Kampung Sri Paya,
Kelapa Sawit, Kulaijaya,
Johor.
Malaysia.
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/Xw66q
GPS: 1.673064,103.529438

Operating hours: 5am to 2pm (Closed on Sundays).

To see Tony’s review click here.

Happy discovering 🙂

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