Hakka Lei Cha @ Volcano Coffee House, Kelapa Sawit, Kulai, Johor, Malaysia

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In my previous post, I mentioned that we were at Kelapa Sawit checking out the wall murals. Before that, however, we had our breakfast at the local coffeeshop. 

There were a couple of very old coffeeshops offering the usual Wanton Noodles and Porridge fare but, we were actually on the prowl for a very special dish associated with this Hakka neighborhood - the Hakka Lei Cha.

The word "Lei" (擂) refers to the action of grinding the tea but it sounds the same as the word "Thunder" (雷) so this dish is also known as the Thunder Tea.

My Mum is a Hakka so she got to have her bowl of Lei Cha which is actually a bowl of plain or brown rice topped with different vegetables and a bowl of soup made by grinding different types of herbs and tea leaves together. 

food, food review, hakka lei cha, hum cha, kelapa sawit, kulai, lei cha, lui cha, malaysia, thunder tea, 咸茶, 客家, 客家擂茶, 擂茶

As simple as it sound, the making of this dish on the contrary is a laborious one with all the chopping and grinding involved. Mum do cook it at times but it is very difficult to source for the complete vegetables and herbs needed and that is why she was hoping to find an authentic bowl of it here.

We asked our way around and the friendly locals directed us to this Lei Cha stall near the pasar (marketplace).

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You need an acquired taste to truly appreciate Lei Cha. I cannot say I have even though I grew up with this dish. Having seen and helped my Mum making it many times at home, I know the effort that goes into the making and I know the many health benefits that come with it. But, the mere thought of all that vegetables with no meat makes me cringe. 

I gotta have my meat somehow! Haha!

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This is why, when we finally found the place, we only ordered one bowl for Mum to savor. I had three mouthfuls of it while Dad avoids it like the plague. Despite having only a few bites, I can assure you that this bowl surpasses all the Lei Cha I had eaten in Singapore. 

Traditionally, the Hakka would chop the vegetables manually and grind the tea using a earthen pot with a wooden pestle made from the guava tree but nowadays, in Singapore particularly, these tedious work have long been taken over by machines. This is why food nowadays do not taste as good as they used to be.

food, food review, hakka lei cha, hum cha, kelapa sawit, kulai, lei cha, lui cha, malaysia, thunder tea, 咸茶, 客家, 客家擂茶, 擂茶

Mum also ordered a platter of 炸肉 (deep fried meat?), Hakka Yong Tau Foo and fried brinjal stuffed with meat. I quite like these.

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The address and business hours

food, food review, hakka lei cha, hum cha, kelapa sawit, kulai, lei cha, lui cha, malaysia, thunder tea, 咸茶, 客家, 客家擂茶, 擂茶
The shopfront

So after Mum had her fill, Dad and I went to have our breakfast at another coffeeshop. He bought RM20 worth of Roast Pork to share while I had this very nice Roasted Chicken Rice. The chicken was tender and well marinated while the rice is aromatic yet not oily. As the coffeeshop was full, I had to eat on the go with the pack of chicken rice in my hand while checking out the wall murals.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten to get the address of the coffeeshop, name and a photo of the stall although I remember it is on the left hand side of this temple in the photo below (go in the direction of the cars till the end of the junction and it is the coffeeshop on your right hand side).

The Temple


VOLCANO COFFEE HOUSE 火山茶餐室
Hakka Lei Cha 客家擂茶
No. 8091 (Kedai Kopi)
Kg. Baru Kelapa Sawit
81030 Kulaijaya, Johor   

Business Hours
Mon - Sat: 5am - 1pm
Closed: Sun

Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/AWGxqpqBi5s
GPS Coordinates: 1.6729924,103.4592855 


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