Tag Archive | Thunder Tea Rice

What others say…

Color code: Black=my write; green=respondents write; claret=response to respondents

I’ve spammed quite a few friends (perhaps even enemies) about the existence of this foodblog. And as the number of my visitors show, some do visit but not often enough. Guess they have other preoccupations.

Even fewer have added their two cents’ (or three cents after adjusting for inflation to echo my friend who goes by the nik of Wonderfulbee) worth online and into the blog.

Perhaps my food experience(s) are not controversial or interesting enough. Still, thanks to HSM who bothered to write at all…here and here

Of cos, some have been courteous enough to acknowledge my “invite” with comments (somewhat non-committal and could be interpreted any which way) such as “wow, I’m impressed” or “very impressive indeed”.

I’m grateful they wrote at all but more grateful still am I to those two gentlemen and one lady who not only visited this blog but bothered to share their own experiences as well.

One, a World Bank retiree, wrote from KL: Just passing by to let you know I enjoyed your foodblog.  Of course the “cheap” food in Chai Chee and Woodlands is not meant to lure the denizens of Orchard or even Bkt Timah road to slum it in those far-off places, but would be worth trying if one happens to be in the vicinity. 

“I’m lucky in Bangsar where my favourite lunchtime place is a scruffy coffeeshop (which doesn’t offer coffee anymore) where every day the husband-and-wife team puts out 20-25 nyonya-style home-done dishes covering pork in various guises, tofu, veggies, wild boar rendang, varieties of fish fried, steamed, sauteed, curried, and all at much less than what you’d pay at a more “posh” eatery.

“And it’s just 5 minutes’ brisk walk from my place!  Next time you’re here (KL), I promise to take you there!

“Do you know in S’pore that delicious Chiew Chow noodle tossed in minced pork and black vinegar?  Or the Hakka “thunder tea” rice in a fresh herb (note: not herbal) soup? 

“Tell me where you (or your blog-fellows) think you can get the best of the above, and I will take you to sample the Chiew Chow noodle or Hakka “thunder” on my next sortie to S’pore.

“The Hakka stuff can be found in certain food courts in KL, but not the Chiew Chow noodle; at least not to my knowledge as KL has practically no Chiew Chow community.”

Lo n behold, to prove that those I “spam” aren’t wholly ignoring me, a friend, whom I wld describe as a travelling car sales magnate emailed me to pinpoint where ex-World Banker can find his “Chiew Chow” noodles.

He wrote: “Reply to your friend from KL looking for Teochew Bak Chor Mee (he calles them chiuchow noodles with black vinegar).
“Best place I know is Mee Sek Food Court at the junction of Upper Serangoon Road and Florence Close.
“It is right in the heart of Teochew territory, held for years by a Teochew Opposition Politician. The Speak Mandarin Campaign died here.
“Closest parking lot is at Simon Road. Don’t try to park on the roadside as you will surely (and deservedly) get a summons for causing congestion.

“Take it from me, a five-generation Hougang Teochew (yes, my great-grandmother was born in this particular area) that this is the best and most authentic Teochew minced pork noodle stall in town


The other who wrote to tell me is an independently wealthy individual with homes in Singapore and abroad. Actually, he won’t like me to repeat what he shared, for fear of being fingered but hey, I don’t think he’s that famous. I also found what he said informative and hopefully visitors here would find it informative too… so here goes:

“Your foodlog is an interesting read, well done. (Auntie Lucia says:”I can’t keep this secret can I?”) Ever tried Ember at Kiong Siak Street the black miso cod is a to die for dish ..If you like desserts Ember does some of the best in town (rare for a Chef to be good at desserts too but he now has 4 assistants)

“Before you shudder from the address it has become a gourmet food place with Jonathans (fine dining degustation only menu) whom I think is overrated cost me $160 per head with lousy red wine (Chilean at $125 per bottle when you can get an equivalent Aust red for $7).

“The chef is Sebastian Choo (formerly dy head chef in the Fullerton Hotel’s french restuarant), and I think he won the regional top young chef of the year awards in 2006/7.   My definition of a good rest and chef is that you must dream about his signature dishes at night after tasting it

“There are just too many restuarants in Singapore these days, spoilt for choice but my business sense tells me that a lot will fail but not yet as they are are well patronized, esp weekends, you can’t even get into Jonathans without a booking and at $150 per head av spend, lots of yuppies…

And here is what my lady friend from London said:The blog on food, is it started by you?  Very good, most informative.  Yes, I might like the wonderful dishes at this dinner in Jurong, but noise will disturb my old sensitive ears. 

“We were out yesterday, we were shown a table quite near a table full of kids so we moved. Then shown to another table, now next to a small Wedding table of ten or so, thought it will be okay! 

“Unfortunately there were two youngish girls in their twenties and when they opened their mouth they were as bad as the children if not worse.  They really were loud with high pitch voices

“It spoiled the meal for me. It must be old age perhaps!!!!!”


Sophie’s new green pasture

Talk about making money hand over fist. That’s what Sophie’s “New Green Pasture Cafe” on the 4th floor of Fortune Centre seems to be doing.

It’s a tiny little place with a wall of shelves, a counter behind which Sophie n helpers do the cooking and about three tables. The room is smaller than a HDB one-roomer. A doorway opens into a 2nd room which has more tables. A few more tables line the perimeter of the cafe and those who eat there are eating in the common corridors of passers by and what have you.

I’ve been visiting this cafe since around 1995 when I began going back to the Waterloo Street Kwan Yin temple during a strange health crisis in my life. However, at that time, it was more like a shop than a cafe n the 2nd room (ie the next shop space) wasn’t in existence.

Don’t remember eating there back then but went there on the recommendation of Richard Seah’s The Good Life (a now defunct health and food lifestyle magazine) to buy some expensive but tasty sesame oil.

More recently, a friend who moved her office to the building introduced me to Sophie’s cooking. And while I’m not entirely enamoured by the food, it’s good and cheap enough and the environment while nowhere near Ritz Carlton is pleasant enough.  

Indeed, one of the tastiest morsels is about Sophie: my friend whispers what a great business woman she is; how she had let the place out to some other party and then took it back to run the business herself. This includes dine-in, take away, retail of ingredients/food stuffs that run the gamut from vegetarian to macrobiotic, and even cookery classes, at $50 a pop, for a minimum 4 lessons. She’s never looked back since and expanded to the shop next door.  

Not sure how much of this info is true but the redoubtable Sophie, always wearing a perky tho incongruously out of place cap, is there dishing out the food with a few dour faced helpers whose ages range early 30s to perhaps late 70s.

 The cafe is never actually packed but any time I’ve eaten there, there’s always been a steady stream of customers coming in in ones, two, threes or more. They are of all nationalities, with many kweh-los and Indians to boot.

This isn’t bad considering that it is tucked away on the fourth floor and there are other “vegetarian” cafes of all persuasions from the 1st floor, up to the 2nd and 3rd floors.

Perhaps it’s popular precisely because it’s away from the maelstrom of human traffic that sweeps thru the 1st floor of Fortune Centre, at the corner of Middle Road and Waterloo Street where the Kwan Yin Temple and a well-known Hindu temple sit a few minutes’ walk away. 

I don’t know when the no-name cafe became Green Pasture Cafe and when I looked last week, it’s become New Green Pasture Cafe.

The food is passably tasty: brown rice, salads, vegetarian sushi, and other vegetarian concoctions. If you don’t take Sophie’s set which comes with a watery soup, you have to pay $1 (donated to the Singapore Vegetarian Society) for the same watery soup which you have to serve yrself from a large pot. It’s also self-service for the napkins, cutlery and the extra bowl or plate.

If truth be told, I can’t tell one dish from another; even the “liu char fan” (whch is Thunder Tea Rice supposedly famous among the Hakkas and is the Wednesday set as a regular once told me) is strictly distinguishable by the fact that the set comes with an emerald green soup, made from heaven knows what.