Hakka Leipopo 擂婆婆 is a food stall at the newly opened One Punggol Hawker Centre that specialises in serving thunder tea rice. This dish, which is a Hakka specialty, is well-known for its distinct blend of textures and flavours.
What is Thunder Tea Rice?
Thunder tea rice, also called lei cha fan, is a popular dish that hails from the Hakka community in China. It typically consists of steamed rice served with an assortment of vegetables such as long beans, cabbage, as well as nuts and protein sources such as tofu or anchovies. The highlight of the dish is the green tea soup or “thunder tea” that is poured over the rice and ingredients.
To prepare the soup, tea leaves, herbs and/or nuts and seeds are ground into a fine paste, seasoned with salt and then mixed with water to make a flavourful broth. The soup has a slightly bitter and herbaceous taste that complements the aroma of the rice and the sweetness and crispness of the vegetables.
How do you eat Thunder Tea Rice?
Mix all the ingredients in the bowl to evenly distribute the flavours when enjoying the thunder tea rice. Personally, I prefer to add some chilli for a spicy kick.
If you’re not used to the tea soup, you can also have it separately.
Hakka Lei Cha $5.00
We paid an additional cost of $0.50 for brown rice. It was great to know that they also have a no-rice option, which is ideal for people on low-carb or keto diets. Instead of rice, they replace it with extra vegetables.
Hakka Leipopo’s Thunder Tea Rice contains a variety of fresh vegetables like long beans, sayur manis, chye sim, cabbage as well as preserved radish, dried shrimps, firm tofu and peanuts. It’s a Malaysian version of thunder tea rice, which uses dried shrimps instead of anchovies like in the Singaporean version.
All the ingredients tasted fresh, and the vegetables had a pleasant crunch. The tea soup had a robust flavour and a balanced taste – not too salty or too herbaceous.
Hakka Yong Tau Foo Platter 7pcs $6.00
We also enjoyed their handmade Hakka Yong Tau Foo. Bittergourd, brinjal, tau kwa, beancurd skin, and tau pok were filled with a fish paste and pork mixture marinated with dried flounder powder, giving it a delightful umami aroma.
When paired with their tangy and spicy chilli sauce, it was utterly delicious! You must get this dish together with the Lei Cha as they go together perfectly. Additionally, ordering them as a set saves you $0.50, so it costs $10.50 instead of $11.00.
Aside from being delicious, thunder tea rice is also highly nutritious and fibre-rich due to its wide variety of vegetables, which is often lacking in our diets when we frequently dine out. If you’re in the Punggol region of Singapore and craving a wholesome and satisfying meal, I highly recommend checking out Hakka Leipopo at One Punggol Hawker Centre.