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HOME >SOUTHERN TAIWAN >KAOHSIUNG&PINGTUNG> DINING >

TAINAN DINING FEATURE

FYI SOUTH Magazine, January 2003. VOL.3 ISSUE 1

"Lei Cha House"

142 Chengkung Road, Meinung Township, Kaohsiung County
(07) 681-8475
10am - 8pm; Mon- Fri

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"Lei Cha"
.....it's not your ordinary cup of Chinese tea!

By Karen Schmitt

         Folks in Taiwan eagerly enjoy the "Tea Time Ritual," a mid-day break of tea and snacks served at hotels and restaurants. But if you're bored with this routine, "Lei Cha" ("pounded tea") will get your attention. It's an interactive, revitalizing Hakka brew that's served according to custom in Meinung.

        Hakka families from the mainland settled Meinung over 300 years ago. The place was auspicious, meeting fengshui requirements and the promise of a prosperous future. Picturesque farms, colorful temples and groves of stately betel palms rest in an area called "Lung Dou" ("Dragon's Belly") that beckon tourists today. Curing houses dot the landscape here and there in witness to a once thriving tobacco industry.

        "Tobacco Leaf Rice" (NT$350), rice with pork in brown sauce and dried mustard cabbage, is the staple of Lei Cha House. It's delivered to the table in quaint wicker baskets, however pounded tea is the real showstopper. Visitors make it themselves in a pottery mortar using a well-worn guava tree branch for a pestle. First, sesame seeds, red beans and freshly hulled peanuts are ground to a fragrant paste. Powdered green tea and boiling water are added to make a thick brew, and popped rice is sprinkled on top for good measure. The cost is NT$120/person (NT$100/groups of four or more).

        "Lei Cha" fortified Hakka farmers before returning to the fields. After one sip, you will be sufficiently energized to take in all the sites of historic Meinung.

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