Tham Jiak means in some way "love to eat" in Hokkien. I am a Malaysian Hokkien and truly love to eat.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Hakka and Healthy Side of Me

Alright, I am still alive, I repeat alive, albeit slightly worn out. No I was not lost in a jungle from my camping trip. And no I did not forget this blog. Life has been pretty hectic, sounds familiar but yes I guess that is the general direction my life tends to lean towards. I finally got my apartment, found tenants to save me on my rent, shifted in my loads of things and have YET to clean up the place after a major renovation, and by major I meant repainting, piping, tiling, adding kitchen counter, ceiling fans and phew, I sincerely could not remember everything. It was a total makeover, yet to be completed, due to my laziness, and some events popping up here and there. So finally I would have a kitchen to myself, but I have yet to even clean it out and displayed my things in its full glory. Ah, I can feel the tham jiak inside me squirming to roam free again in her very own kitchen, so I commit here to as soon as possible, make it decent enough to cook a meal. There said.

Speaking of being really busy, besides my ever increasing work load and eventful personal life, I have added my business up a notch – workout. Alright, what is a tham jiak person doing with workout? Well, I guess in order to stay tham jiak while remain healthy, I guess one have to make some drastic moves, and so I did. There, be proud of me alright. So on speaking of being busy plus working out, I had to talk about eating healthy as well right?

There was one incredible Hakka dish that I can always count on when I want a quick fix for lunch, where it is fast, full of good stuff and definitely fuel you up for the day – Ho Po Lui Cha. Have I ever mention before that I was half Hakka? I am, as my mum is Hakka, though I am not sure which clan, but indeed this side of me loves the traditional dish of Lui Cha. I read it before long ago, and have always wanted to try but did not make the effort to travel far just for a ‘quick fix’, and lo and behold, I stumbled upon one right outside my house here. This one was a vegetarian version; you would not miss much meat here but sometimes was enough to satisfy my thirst for Lui Cha before I fulfill my quest to find the ultimate one.

Restoran Gembira
39 Jalan
Taman Megah
Petaling Jaya
also famous for its Sarawak Kolo Mee)

Lui Cha is different in terms of Malaysia’s hawker ‘fast food’, where it does not have fatty siu yoke, char siew, fried lards and just a little bit of vegetable at the side. This one is full of it, it is green-tea-soup based with loads of vegetables, tofu, brown rice (sometimes you can opt for white but why would one when the brown ones gave it dish so much depth and brings it to a deeper level of healthiness) and toasted peanuts plus other lentils. The greenish soup, as explained in Wiki as, “Lei cha (literally "pounded tea") is a Hakka tea-based beverage or gruel consisting of a mix of tea leaves that are ground or pounded together with various roasted nuts, seeds, and grains”, definitely would not be just anyone’s cup of tea, J had a long time before he got use to eat, and still only eat a little from my share once a while. But somehow, with the thought of heathiness, plus all the goodness in it, I just somehow found myself falling in love with the dish, besides the wonderful textures and taste of course.

And then I stumbled upon another Lui Cha at SS2’s Restaurant OK. It totally blew me off. It was more flavourful, with addition of some dried prawns and with truly fragrant toasted peanuts. I would certainly opt for this one anytime, but it is hard to get a seat here usually on weekends lunch time and parking is a tad crazy too. But somehow, I am happy I found that I am willing to brace the crowd for once a while when the craving hits.

Restoran Okay
SS2 Cheow Yang Area
(also famous for Wan Tan Mee)

Then there was also one place, near the place I used to work at Sri Petaling. Usually, J and I would come out for lunch, those were the lovely days, I would always again and again suggest to go there as I absolutely love the generous portion of Lui Cha there with to-die-for nutty brown rice. This rice is especially special compare to the rest of those I tried out there, and it also scores in having fragrantly toasted peanuts. I had a wonderful picture of it long ago, but too bad it was stuck in a temporarily dysfunction home computer, once I got it out, I would certainly post it here. You corporate slaves of TPM should certainly head to Rabbit Café, yes that is the name, certainly a cliché one for having healthy Lui Cha. Do try out its value for money and fulfilling set lunches that comes with choices of rojak or fruits and coffee or tea. I miss it so much.

Rabbit Cafe
No. 12G & 14G,
Jalan 14/149L,
Zone P,
Bandar Baru Sri Petaling,
57000 Kuala Lumpur

Finally most recent addition to my list was non other than another nearby spot to my house, the famous Ming Tien, for its huge selection yes every changing stalls. I guess due to its size, there are more stalls that might changed. This one was nothing spectacular, still good enough to satisfy whenever I am there and stumped for choice, oh yes, I usually could not find anything from the vast selection usually, therefore having my favourite healthy Lui Cha seemed like a natural choice.

Ming Tien
Jalan SS 24/8,
Taman Megah,
47301 Petaling Jaya,

So there you have it, a short guide to finding Lui Cha around my house area, ha-ha, well around PJ area plus one at Sri Petaling. Do drop me comments here if you have good recommendations. The hunt for the ultimate Lui Cha have not ended yet!

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