Another try…

I tried it once, a long long time ago in Kuching and no, I did not like it so since that first and last time, I never ever wanted to go for it again. It was something new around here at the time – I was still working, much younger at the time and my very good friend took me to a place in Kuching. There were so many people there enjoying it…but no, unfortunately, it did not tickle my fancy.

Well, if you’re wondering, I’m talking about this Hakka favourite called lei cha (ground tea)

Payung Cafe lei cha 1

…also known as thunder tea. When we were here not too long ago

Payung Cafe new table decor

…the boss was busy making it – somebody had placed a special order for it and he asked me to go back and get some to try when it was ready or he could send it to my house. I had to decline then as with my mum in the medical centre at the time, I was not sure when that would be nor where I would be so it might not be convenient. Of course, when I saw on Facebook the other day that they would be serving it lunchtime every Friday from 11.30 a.m. onwards, I could not wait to  go there…

Payung Cafe new centrepiece

…and give it a second try.

I got this…

Payung Cafe lei cha rice and condiments

…and the soup…

Payung Cafe lei cha, soup

– the boss did tell me that previous time when we were there that seven types of herbs went into the making but I did hear too that there were ten altogether. It did not look as green as some that I have seen in photographs – those were bright apple green in colour! I tried a bit and found that it was bitter but that would not be a problem for me as every day, I would drink a mug of tea brewed using these so-called “king of bitters”.

To eat it, one would have to pour the soup over everything in the plate and mix it thoroughly…

Payung Cafe lei cha, mixed

…and dive right in. This way, it did not seem so bitter anymore but on the whole, I did not think there was very much taste to it if not for the crushed peanuts and preserved lobak (radish/daikon). I’ve seen some served with ikan bilis (dried anchovies) which, I’m sure, would further enhance the taste, but with that added, it would no longer be suitable for vegetarians, I guess.

Going for RM6.00 per set at this point in time – the boss said that this was the introductory price seeing that it was something quite new in Sibu so he wanted to see whether it would be well-received or not – it would be served with unpolished/red rice…

Payung Cafe lei cha with unpolished rice

I saw this being served to another customer who came later and when I asked, I found out that the rice was not cooked yet when we got there a little after 11.00. They had planned everything to be ready by 11.30 on the dot…and that was why I got the plain white rice instead.

My missus did not want the lei cha and asked for the tom yam prawns with rice (RM17.00)…

Payung Cafe tom yam prawns

…and that very nice boss went out of his way to cook for us a very special bowl with a whole lot of prawns in it (not the usual serving of 3 only) at the regular price. I tried a bit and yes, it  was so very very nice that I asked for another plate of rice and helped my missus with it. I sure would not mind going for this again next time.

As for the lei cha, well, I’ve tried it a second time…and it did go down a bit better than the first time but if you asked me whether I would go for it again, I’d just say…we’ll see! Hehehehehehe!!!!

PAYUNG CAFE (2.284049, 111.833014) is located at No.20F, Lanang Road, Sibu, Malaysia, back to back with the multi-storey car park of the Kingwood Hotel which faces the majestic Rejang River.

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

19 thoughts on “Another try…”

  1. The plumeria flowers are gorgeous and the food looks very nice!

    They take the simple common flowers that we have around here for their decor and it does wonders – now it’s some kind of a trademark of the place. Anytime better than those expensive imported flowers or worse, the artificial or plastic ones – absolutely soul-less, no character, no class at all.

  2. Was wondering why the soup of the lei cha is brownish & not the usual apple/dark green in colour. Am not a fan of lei cha but once a while I go for it too. I personally like the one from Gold Jade road whereby one can choose to have mild bitter or very bitter soup.

    I did ask the boss about the colour and he said he added a lot more than the usual and frankly, I am not all that fond of that apple green colour, so pretty but looks so unnatural, so green.

    And he also told me that some Kuching people complained that his was not bitter enough and it all would be due to one of the many herbs used – could add more of that to make it a lot bitter but since this is new here – not like you people in Kuching, have been eating it for years and years, many may not like it too bitter, an acquired taste that will take time to get used to. If too bitter, bet everyone will not come back again.

  3. Your missus’ dish was more tempting than the lei cha to me. Lol.

    It has been a while since I tasted lei cha. My hubby tasted lei cha few times and how he eats it? Because the soup is bitter, he will not pour everything into the bowl but add a bit by bit. So less bitter.

    But lei cha has “cooling” property and good detox food, so once a while it is good to take it.

    Yes, it does detoxify!!! The colour the following day will be testament to that! I guess it is good to have it once in a while then – I do not mind it bitter but on the whole, there wasn’t much taste to it – very mild dish so other than the fact that it is good for health, there isn’t anything to it that would make me want to go back for more. I’d much sooner go for all those nice dishes they have on their menu.

  4. Yes, i do believe Lei Cha is good for the health. I like the chai por there, not something that you would want to eat everyday but I would not mind to eat once in a week, brown rice is preferred of course.

    Same here, not a fan of chai po. The only way I’ve eaten it is in Chinese style omelette and even then, I’m not a fan. Would rather have the omelette plain. But here, it does help give a bit of taste to the otherwise quite tasteless dish and I quite liked it. Once a week? Hmmm…not too sure when I would want to have it again. Hehehehehe!!!!

  5. I adore Lei Cha! It’s all of the greens. I can even get a version over here with brown rice, which makes me very happy. 😉

    Oh? You would love their herbs salad then, all herbs with their own dressing. I’ve had it before but no, I would not order that on a regular basis. 😀

  6. I never taste lei cha before, cos dunno how to eat it…

    See my Australian blogger-friend in the above comment – she adores lei cha. It’s very healthy – I would expect you to go for stuff like this, no meat.

  7. Lui char is supposed to be vegetarian so I guess no anchoives were put inside… Yes you are right, should be eaten with soup inside with everything else.. but I prefer to eat them separately… 🙂

    I googled and I saw it being served with fried ikan bilis at some places. That would enhance the taste, I’m sure and since I’m no vegetarian, I wouldn’t mind that.

    Separately? When it was served, I sipped a spoonful of the soup first and the boss laughed out loud when he saw the expression on my face. I must have looked really funny.

  8. lei cha is probably my favourite chinese vegetarian dish … i wonder how it was invented … the wikipedia page on lei cha gives only general info about its origins 🙂

    I wouldn’t know either – Sibu is a Foochow town, Hakkas in Kuching. This is the only place that I know of that sells this, once a week only and kacang ma chicken is hard to come by, here and the other place that cooks it with the Iban tuak. That is a Hakka dish too, cooked using those kacang ma or motherwort leaves – lots of health benefits and I read somewhere that it provides relief for post-natal depression too.

  9. I was curious about lei cha and I think my sentiments will be like yours. So I won’t try it. LOL!

    If you’re in it for the health benefits and detoxification, go ahead. If it is the taste you are after, then you can just forget it…but that’s me. You may like it, I wouldn’t know.

  10. LOVING all the color in these dishes! And the use of flowers! I’m using my TEA account on WP at the moment…so sorry…it’s Jennifer from – long time – no see – my fault – so sorry for the tardy visit and comment 🙂

    Yes, I love this place and love the food here though this vegetarian dish is something new, an acquired taste, I would see.

    Glad to see you back here. Haven’t been around for a while, eh? Neither has our friend, Opal. I’ve been busy, my mum was warded at a medical centre here for over a month so I have not been blog-hopping for a while too. Will get down to it soonest.

  11. Oh have mercy! The prawns are enticing! I still have to make the trek to Sibu and visit you and your family and also feast at Payung 🙂 As for the Lui/Lei Cha…… good heavens, I have never understood how anyone could swallow a spoonful of it – it is horribly bitter to me. But to each his own and I am sure I feast on things that are totally disgusting to others LOL

    Yes, I was waiting for you, expecting you to hop over but you didn’t. Hopefully, you can make it on your next trip.

    Oh? People in Kuching are so into lei cha – I guess those into healthy stuff and would like to detoxify can go for it. If it is for enjoyment, no, thank you. I’m with you, go for other things a whole lot nicer and more to our liking.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

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