It is getting more and more difficult to find food done in the traditional way in Singapore. My lunch for today is one of the rare ones that you can still find at Tanjong Pagar Market and Food Center.
This stall only sells the Traditonal Hakka Rice called 擂茶饭 which when directly translated, means Grind Tea Rice.
The ingredients for the rice are freshly prepared. Business must be pretty good judging from the pre-packed soup based.
This is a very healthy traditional dish from the Hakka Dialect Group. There are loads of ingredients in it which is all stated in the poster at the stall.In the tea/soup, there is chinese tea leaf, basil leaf, peppermint leaf, grind peanuts and sesame which is then mixed with boiling water. For the rice, there are beancurd, green vegetables, long bean, leek, peanut, ikan bilis ,preserved radish/dried shrimp and cabbagge. You can have the option of brown rice or white rice. I opted for white rice as I do not like the taste of the brown rice although it is healthier.
My Lunch – Traditional Hakka Grain Tea Rice, $3. It is really cheap considering the amount of hard work that goes into preparing this dish as all the vegetables have to be finely cut up and individually stir-fried before combining together to form a dish. In my rice, there are long beans, vegetables, peanuts, beancurd, dried shrimps and cabbage in it.
Close up of the tea/soup. You will notice that it is not a homogeneous solution as the ingredients for tea/soup are grinded by hand to form a paste and then mixed with boiling water. The tea, drank on its own, may take some getting use to if you are drinking it for the first time as it is a little bland with a subtle taste of mint and basil. It feels very healthy and cleansing though I wish the taste of mint can be stronger.
There are many ways of eating the rice. You can either drink the soup and eat the rice separately or eat it like I do, that is, to pour the tea/soup into the rice and eat it as if you are eating porridge. The vegetables was a tad salty when tasted on its own but with the tea/soup poured in, the flavours blends in nicely. Every mouthful is full of texture and flavour. Yumz.
Ladies looking to maintain their figure would definitely love this dish but men may not find it sufficient as there are no meat except for the dried shrimps in it. I would recommend that you try it while it is available as the youngster are not picking up the art of preparing this dish as it is far too labour intensive.
Traditional Hakka Rice 阿婆客家擂茶饭
Blk 6 Tanjong Pagar Plaza
#02-22 Tanjong Pagar Plaza Market and Food Centre
Photo taken with Iphone4S