Meinong Lei Cha 美濃擂茶

from left to right, Taiwanese, Swedish, Japanese and Chinese DIY Lei Cha
Lei Cha history goes back to the 3 Kingdom. During the warring states, General Zhang Fei of Liu Bei forces noticed his troops was very weary and asked his practitioner to prescribe some medication. The practitioner came up with a powdery mixed of ginger, rice and tea with hot water which was later given to Zhangfeis' troops. Immediately his troops was vitalised. There were many versions to Lei Cha history. It could be dated back to the Shang or Zhou Dynasty 4000 years ago, thus it makes Lei Cha as the most traditional medicinal tea. More importantly the tea mixed does come with certain remedy for illness or for vitality. 

Over the Millennium Lei Cha had many different versions and currently the Hakka people treasured this heritage more than anyone else. Around the world, Hakka people makes Lei Cha in many different form.  Some would add shallots, greens and other stuff. Others would add Lei Cha over a bowl of rice for morning breakfast.  

History said Hakka people of Zhou Dynasty had used this Lei Cha mixed to survive while fleeing from Chin Shih Wang who was trying to annihilate them. My guess is Hakka people was too literate for the First Emperor of China. He had burnt almost all the literature and killed many scholars. As for the fleeing Hakka people, Lei Cha was easy to carry and prepare, all the Lei Cha mixed were dried stuff, by boiling some hot water and quickly the meal was ready. 

Today in Meniong Lei Cha shop, Fu Mei who is the owner is trying to keep this heritage alive by passing down the knowledge to anyone who has interest. Her one storey bamboo shop has just a few tables and sandwich in between two modern buildings. Her version of Lei Cha is a balance of Yin and Yang. Simply by drinking tea alone will help digestive system which is Yin however by adding other ingredient such as sesame seeds, red beans and peanuts all grounded in a mortar will provide the Yang. Her Lei Cha has been premixed with ginger, some herbs and grounded in to a green powdery form which is later added with the mortar mixed. The powdery mixture is then poured in a bowl and top up with hot water, hydrated rice is later added. She further mentioned that there are poor man and rich man Lei Cha. Rich man will have a sweeter Lei Cha and poor man including all females of the Hakka people had a salty Lei Cha.  

A private session at Meinong Lei Cha Shop will cost NT130 per person and you will also get a historical and cultural lessons of the Hakka people however in will be in Mandarin. I had asked Fu Mei a simple question why Hakka always burn their writings and she went on endlessly for half an hour telling me about history, health and balance of life of the Hakka people. Her information given to me was too much for me to digest so I will be heading back her direction one day to know more details.

I did not have a session of DIY Lei Cha as I was tour guiding this group of international tourist. 

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No. 142號, Chénggōng Road, Meinong District
Kaohsiung City, 843
Open daily from 10:00am to 08:30pm

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