12 Best Spots For Thunder Tea Rice/Lei Cha in Singapore

Before Instagram-worthy grain bowls and rice bowls came along, the OG rice bowl in Singapore was thunder tea rice, or lei cha. Our local food is known for being absolutely drool-worthy, but it’s not always the healthiest. Lei cha however is packed full of nutrients and made from grinded herbs like Thai basil, mugwort, mint and coriander. In fact, it was created during the warring Three Kingdoms period and said to have helped a general and his troops beat back the plague! In recent years, the dish has seen a resurgence in popularity due to the increasing number of people looking to incorporate more greens into their diet. If you’re looking to have yourself a hearty bowl of lei cha, look no further. Here are our favourite spots for lei cha in Singapore!

#1 Hakka Thunder Tea Rice

This beloved stall was previously located at Tanglin Halt Food Centre and continues to draw a perpetual queue at its new home in Margaret Drive Food Centre. You have the option of having your lei cha with white or brown rice. Priced affordably, every bowl is generously topped with ingredients like chai poh, ikan bilis, cabbage and long bean. The thunder tea soup is also nutty, fragrant and thicc! You can also add on yong tau foo ingredients for an extra filling meal.

Address: 38A Margaret Dr, #02-34, Singapore 142038
Opening Hours: 10:30 AM–3 PM Tues to Fri & Sun. 9 AM–3 PM Sat

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#2 Tian Tian Chi Su

Previously known as Thunder Tree, Tian Tian Chi Su uses mainly organic ingredients and absolutely no MSG or preservatives in their lei cha. Portions are generous and the soup isn’t too bitter or herbaceous, making it an excellent option for those who prefer a lighter flavour. For something different, try their Lei Cha Kolo Mee which is extra yummy with their special homemade dry chilli paste!

Address: Blk 155 Bukit Batok Street 11, Singapore 650155.⁣
Opening Hours: 7:30 AM–3 PM Wed to Mon. Closed on Tues

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#3 Ah Lock & Co

If you’re a thunder tea rice newbie, why not start off with a more modern rendition of the dish? Nestled in the basement of Guoco Tower, Ah Lock & Co does a grain bowl combining elements of thunder tea rice and Hakka yong tau foo. The result? A yummy bowl of goodness with handmade meatballs, stuffed tofu, fluffy rice and the quintessential thunder tea soup.

Address: 7 Wallich St, #B2-22/23/24, Singapore 078884⁣
Opening Hours: 10 AM–8 PM Mon to Fri, 10 AM–6 PM Sat, 10 AM–6:30 PM Sun

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#4 Sunny Choice

Run by five sisters, Sunny Choice is a vegan and vegetarian-friendly joint. Apart from nasi lemak and bibimbap, another popular item here is their thunder tea rice. While it is one of the most expensive lei cha around, it also has more premium ingredients. For example, fried enoki mushrooms replace ikan bilis, cashew nuts replace usual peanuts, and the thunder tea soup is made with ten ingredients instead of the usual five to seven!

Address: Multiple outlets

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#5 Lin Da Ma Lei Cha

Want something affordable, quick, healthy and delicious? Turn to the thunder tea rice at Lin Da Ma Lei Cha, which has outlets at Holland Drive, Amoy Street and ABC Brickworks. It even has a cold noodle variation that is simply delightful on extra hot days! For variety, the stall also sells housemade minced meat tofu and meatballs that you can add to your lei cha.

Address: Multiple outlets

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#6 Traditional Hakka Rice

A family-run business that’s been around for over a decade, the lei cha at Traditional Hakka Rice comes topped with a delightful mix of tofu, preserved radish, cabbage, green beans and toasted peanuts for an added crunchy texture. The broth, made with toasted sesame seeds and peanuts with basil, mugwort and sawtooth leaf is what makes it really stand out with its nutty, aromatic, refreshing and balanced flavour.

Address: 6 Tanjong Pagar Plz, #02-21, Singapore 081006
Opening Hours: 9:30 AM–3 PM Mon to Sat. Closed on Sun

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#7 Living Wholesome Vegetarian

The bowls at Living Wholesome come with brown rice and organic produce that includes a couple of unique toppings, such as tofu puffs and Azuki red beans. If you’re on a low carb diet, the stall also has a ‘kosong’ option that comes with less rice. And if you prefer noodles, you can even have the lei cha with bee hoon! If you can’t get enough, you can even purchase the paste as well. Simply mix with water to create your own version at home!

Address: Multiple outlets

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#8 Thunder Tea Rice

A simply named stall with hefty bowls filled with vegetables like choy sum, long beans, cabbage as well as tau kwa and anchovies, along with the addition of chicken floss for some extra umami. While the tea brew is a bit thinner, it is well-balanced and flavourful. You can also get it with chickpeas instead of rice, and for those who can’t leave their meat behind, there are options with fish fillet, ngoh hiang, or chicken patty!

Address: Multiple outlets

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#9 Thunderbolt Tea

Thunderbolt Tea uses a family recipe that’s over 100 years old and up to this day is still made with no preservatives and no MSG. Helmed by the son of the popular Boon Lay Traditional Hakka Lui Cha, here you’ll get a bowl piled with leeks, white cabbage, long beans, sweet leaf, firm tofu, pickled radish and dried shrimps on your choice of white or brown rice. You can also top up with some Hakka fried pork, where chunks of pork shoulder are marinated in a fermented beancurd sauce.

Address: 129 Geylang East Ave 2, #01-100, Singapore, 380129
Opening Hours: 9 AM–2 PM daily

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#10 Hakka Fun HamCha & Yong Tou Fu

Run by a husband-wife duo who gave up their office jobs to become hawkers, this stall at Chinatown Complex serves up Hakka lei cha and yong tau foo based on family recipes. The rice dish comes loaded with 10 ingredients in the bowl, and also includes puffed rice which imparts a crisp toasty texture. The tea broth is made with a greater proportion of leaves and herbs than the other ingredients which gives it a darker green hue, as well as a stronger bitter flavour, If you prefer much stronger flavours, this is definitely for you! To make it an extra hearty meal, you can also order some Hakka Style Yong Tou Fu that’s stuffed with meat and fish paste.

Address: Blk 335 Smith St, #02-123, Singapore 050335
Opening Hours: 11 AM–6 PM daily

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#11 Pine Tree Cafe

Apart from your favourite local dishes made vegetarian, indulge in a lei cha that comes with large portions of brown rice, green beans, choy sum, fried beancurd, peanuts and chye poh at Pine Tree Cafe. The accompanying soup is flavourful and slightly savoury, and it is not just great for mixing into the rice, those who like drinking it will be glad to know that it comes in a big bowl! 

Address: 190 Middle Rd, #02-09/13, 188979
Opening Hours: 10 am–7 pm Tues to Sun. Closed on Mon

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#12 Traditional Hakka Lui Cha

Made with less oil, less salt and no MSG, Traditional Hakka Lui Cha at Jurong West prioritises health without compromising on flavour. Chye sim, cabbage, green beans, tofu and chye poh come together to meet the nuttiness of sesame and peanuts plus a hint of herbs from the tea broth. Take your pick of white or brown rice and expect a crowd during lunch hours!

Address: 505 Jurong West Street 52, Singapore 640505
Opening Hours: 6 AM–2:30 PM Tues to Sun. Closed on Mon

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