Many of you may have heard of Thunder Tea Rice and its numerous health benefits, but I’m pretty sure many of you have yet to try it. After all, you have no idea what’s in that bowl of green soup… and the dish just looks so… healthy. Put it next to a plate of piping hot Char Kway Teow or Carrot Cake, and I’m sure you’ll go for the Char Kway Teow/Carrot Cake.
I have been similarly daunted by this bowl of unfamiliar ingredients. So many toppings, so many ingredients that I wouldn’t think of combining. I tried it once before, at a food court. It wasn’t too bad, to be honest. I liked the texture and flavour of the dish. But the green tea soup was horrible. It was bitter, and really herby, I felt like puking after I drank a spoonful of it. I found out that the green tea soup is made from blending tea leaves and herbs to form a paste. Hot water is then added to it to make a soup! Now you know what the weird green stuff is.
Only after a long time was I willing to give Thunder Tea Rice another go, and I’m glad I did.
This was from a vegetarian stall at Bukit Timah Hawker Centre, and it cost $6. Before you dismiss this completely, read what I have to say! I know it is rather pricey for a vegetarian dish, but take it as a worthwhile investment in your health.
The dish is served with brown rice, not too much, so even the ladies can finish this portion on their own. They add a bit of taukwa, beans, chye poh, cabbage, asparagus peas, and bok choy, and top it all off with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. They usually add peanuts as well, but I omitted them this time.
I gave the dish a good mix, making sure that all the ingredients were nicely spread throughout the tupperware. Then I took a bite, without any green tea soup. It was delightful! I loved how there was a slight saltiness from the stir-fried taukwa, and the chye poh, which went so nicely with the crunch of the fresh vegetables. The textures and flavours of all the toppings came together brilliantly. It was an explosion of flavor in my mouth. I loved it!
Then I added some of the green tea soup, rather cautiously since I had a nasty experience previously. On its own, the green tea soup is slightly bitter, but not as bad as the one I tasted previously. But when you pour it over the rice, it adds a whole new dimension to the dish. Without it, the dish is good, but Thunder Tea Rice isn’t exactly Thunder Tea Rice without the ‘tea’ right? Personally, I prefer spooning the green tea soup over the area I’m about to eat, instead of pouring all the soup into the bowl and mixing it, like how you are supposed to.
One minus point would be that at $6, it is quite costly compared to healthier hawker fare like Fish Soup and Popiah. Also, since this dish is something you can easily recreate at home, for the Asians that is, you may not find it worthwhile to spend so much on this dish.
Even after finishing the whole bowl, I felt satisfied, not uncomfortably full, but satisfied. It was filling, yet light at the same time. I definitely felt healthier and more nourished after eating it. Give it a try, and let me know how you like it!
Rating: 7/10 (+1 for health factor)
Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre
116 Upper Bukit Timah Road,
Living (wholesome vegetarian food)