February 20, 2010

Hakka's Thunder Tea (Lui Char) on 7th Day of Chinese New Year

Olivia -my Hakka friend- invited me for Lui Char today as it is customary for her to prepare this dish onthe 7th day of the Chinese New Year. Lui Char is one of my favourite Hakka dishes and indeed I can eat it every day.

Olivia's Lui Char is very rich and I reckon that it is 50 times better than what you get in a commercial lui char outlet. And she is very particular about this special dish. Almost all the herbs she uses are from her mother's garden at the back.

The soup is made up of blended peanuts and peppermint(poh hor) with lots of basil and the bitter Ku Ley Sim. Besides she also uses "nya" another Chinese herb.

All the side dishes are arranged neatly at the table like a buffet and the guests fill their bowls with rice and all the side dishes . The peanuts with give the rice crunchiness and the salted radish will give it the sweet and salty taste.

The milky and greenish soup looks unappetising but it is better than Campbell's mushroom soup.

Olivia is the first lady on the left. In the middle is her sister who is newly married to Lee (a Foochow from Sarikei now working in Singapore). Very polite Lee is extremely well brought up and a treasure to any family. Lee is a vegetarian and loves Lui Char. Now I have company - a fellow Foochow who loves this Hakka dish.

This is the fried shrimp (the photo is a little over exposed). It gives the mixed rice a more savoury taste. Those who are not vegetarian will add this side dish.

Coriander or Chinese Parsley.

Stir fried four angle bean (or Kacang botol).

Sweet potato leaves.

Chinese greens

Fried preserved radish or lobak.

Fried long beans.

Small cubes of fried bean curd.

Rice (over exposed by accident)

Plain roasted peanuts)

Group photo. Today is like a family day with only relatives and next door neighbour coming for the Lui Char. So it is very warm and friendly.

Everyone having a bowl of Lui Char..choose your own combination. The new son-in-law is acting like the director....Smile. Olivia's mother is busy with her relatives in the living room.
The body language - be appreciative of  the food /lui char you are provided with. Pretty girls in their new dresses. Children learn about family values and kindred-ship when visiting relatives. Mothers are around teaching their children what to say and how to behave. This is passing on good education from one generation to another.


Bengbeng said...

i am so outdated or out of the 'circle' i am hakka n this is the first time i have seen this dish

Sarawakiana@2 said...


Lui Char is as Hakka as mee sua is Foochow! May be you are not Hor Poh? May be there is a difference...click on the links I found...

thanks for visiting. If you come to Miri I will "chia" you lui char in New Cafe.....

Let me know. God bless.

Yan said...

CY, this is my favourite in Kuching!

Ah Ngao said...

if you take lui char for lunch,you gets hungry very fast.it's a very healthy dish indeed

Ann said...

My Mum is a Hakka, but they don't have Lui Cha,
My eldest sis is married to the Kuching kind of Hakka, they have Lui Cha.
My husband is anothe rkind of Hakka, they very rarely have Lui Cha.

I am a lousy Hakka wife, I don't fancy Lui Cha, may be because I am allergic to peanuts. that's another story.

But my sis E who is married to a Kelabit, she makes good Lui Cha. You the same?

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Yan
Hope you had a great time in Sibu and had at the same a good rest. Lui Char of Kuching must be good. So many Hakkas there.

Very healthy. And as long as it is not too salty.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Ah Ngao
Many of my friends can eat three big bowls throughout the afternoon!! Yeah you do get hungry fast because it is all vegetables...

I love the crunchiness from the shrimps and preserved radishes.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Ann

so there are lots of different Hakkas. Those who have LC and those who don't...and some don't even like LC.

I must meet up with Elisabeth and learn from her..or collect her recipe...and also there are so many different kinds of recipe for the soup.

We should have a huge competition for Lui Char making..like Wushu style!!!LOL

My whole family loves Lui Char and son has "cravings" for it ...for me the moment I see basil I think of lui char.

Anonymous said...

this is a good dish for my father and grandmother.

In fact in New Cafe of Miri you meet one Iban lady who speaks Hakka when she serves the customers.

We usually eat our Lui Char there.

Nice to know it is served on the 7th Day of CNY


Free Bird said...

It took me awhile to get used to the taste when i was younger.
Now that its difficult to find lui char, i actually enjoy this dish whenever I can find a stall here in KL.

Its so refreshing.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Free Bird
Like many people have said Lui Char is an acquired taste. Vegetables are all the same to the the diner but the soup is a completely different thing. It also depends on the cook too. This is the first time I tasted Olivia's peanut based soup.

So those who are allergic to peanuts have to ask before they try Lui Char. Peanuts is found either in the soup or as part of the vegetables ensemble.

How many lui char stalls have you found in KL?

Thanks for visiting.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Yes I agree that this dish is good especially for us more senior people.

I visit New Cafe very often and have gotten to know all the ladies. Isn't it lovely to find a coffee shop completely run by women?

Is this the beginning of new times?

Yeah I have met the Hakka speaking Iban lady.

Thanks for visiting.

Bengbeng said...

Tentatively we bloggers are going to the resort on 7th March thereabouts after the previous cancellations. But i doubt we will b in Miri. Perhaps u can rustle up a camera n join us there :)

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Bengbeng
Which resort..Rainforest?

Steve and Philip have my phone number...I can bring William Ting too...He has a good camera...I will have my Sony...still dreaming about my Canon X20...may be...may be...I will be travelling on 10th though...


Superman said...

Sometimes simple dinner and small crowds are better. Warm and close. Not too much echoes. Can have a better conversation.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Yes Superman. You are absolutely right. I enjoy having dinner parties that are quiet...just eight sitting at a table...simple food which can be eaten even when it is cold.

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