Johor Kaki Travels for Food

johorkaki@gmail celebrates retirement in Singapore, travels to Johor Malaysia & worldwide for food

Friday, 1 November 2013

Best Johor Traditional Hakka Lei Cha @ Volcano Coffee House 火山擂茶 in Kelapa Sawit, Kulai

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Lei Cha Rice Set RM4 (2013 price)

The night before going to Kulai for food hunt, I asked Johor Kaki Facebook readers for suggestions. I was especially interested in traditional Hakka dishes as Kulai has a large Hakka population. Many readers from Kulai suggested that I try the lei cha 擂茶 at Volcano Coffee House in Kelapa Sawit.

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By the time we got to Volcano Coffee House at nearly 2:00pm, they were already getting ready to close for the day. We were their last customers for that day.

Johor Kaki list of Best Lei Cha in Johor 👈 click

Volcano opens at 5:00am to serve the workers who do the daily commute from Kulai and Kelapa Sawit to Singapore for work. Leaving for a long commute and a hard day's work with a warm home cooked meal at Volcano is a small comfort for these hardworking workers.


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Volcano is a family run business by Mdm Lew, her husband and their two daughters. Mdm Lew showing me just two of the many green vegetables and herbs that went into making the lei cha tea 茶. These are ground into a paste to make the green gruel or lei cha.

Mdm Lew said that she used to make lei cha at home for the family. So now the whole family chips in to make lei cha for anyone who comes to the shop. So, it is still very much home cooked food here at Volcano Coffee House.


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The boiled white rice is topped with a thick colourful blanket of diced pickled radish, long beans, sayur manis, julienned cabbage, and fried scrambled eggs. There was also a small bowl of chopped toasted peanuts.

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Lei cha is eaten by pouring the green "tea" into the rice and diced / julienned vegetables. While the lei cha tea is full bodied and slightly creamy, the flavours are all subtle and gentle on the taste buds. It has hints of mint and comforting sweet fragrant greens. Overall, the flavours leaned on layers of natural sweetness with a slight balancing savouriness.

I love this complex blend of texture and flavours, and enjoyed it even more when I appreciate the hard work that went into preparing it.

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We could only have this basic set as Volcano was sold out for the day. If we were early, we could have a full range of Hakka yong tau fu sides.

Johor Kaki list of Best Lei Cha in Johor 👈 click

(Note: We had the yong tau fu during subsequent visits and they were really delicious - fresh vegetables filled with tasty meaty pork fillings. Must try the YTF when you are at Volcano for lei cha.)

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Seeing how we loved the lei cha tea, Ms Lew brought us a second bowl of hot lei cha tea for us to enjoy.

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While the rest of the family members were clearing up and closing the shop for the day, Mr Lew had already started getting ready for the next day's business. Everything is still done the traditional way i.e. by hand.



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Lei cha is a traditional dish of the Hakka people of northern China who started to migrate south during the Qin dynasty (221 - 206 BC) to escape war and persecution. By the 1600s, Hakka people reached Guangzhou and Taiwan. There's a saying "Where there are Chinese, there are Hakka people" around the world.

Living as nomads, Hakkas had to live off the land with whatever grains, herbs, vegetables and grass that they could find, wherever they were. Hence, the creation of lei cha. Lei cha recipes vary from community to community depending on the availability of ingredients in their location.

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At the end of the meal and as we got ready to pay and leave, Mdm Lew declined to accept our payment.

Such is kampung hospitality, not uncommon but always treasured and deeply felt. We were total strangers appearing out of the blue but all left with warm happy memories. I hope we left good memories for them too.

We will definitely be back - to visit friends and to enjoy a home cooked lei cha.

Recommended for you 👍 Kulai people's favourite lei cha. Fresh homestyle meal in a homely kampung ambiance.

Johor Kaki list of Best Lei Cha in Johor 👈 click



Restaurant name: Volcano 火山 Coffee House
Address: Jalan Sri Paya, Kampung Sri Paya, Kelapa Sawit, Kulaijaya, Johor
GPS: 1.673064,103.529438


WAZE: Volcano Coffee House Lei-Cha
Hours: 05:00am to 2:00pm (Closed on Sunday)

Non Halal

Date visited: 30 Jul 2013, 14 Feb 2020

JB Johor Best Food
👆 Click to return to JB Best 100 page


4 comments:

I share hoping that everyone will have a good time but your experience may differ from mine. I love to know how you enjoyed yourself or if you didn't. All comments with genuine identities are published.