To Each His Own

Top One Food Court - Lui Cha

Hi. My name is the Tummy and I am a cartoon addict. I’ve watched all sorts of cartoons throughout my life. From the classics of Woody Woodpecker to the violent and obscene animes like High School of the Dead, I’ve watched them all. I still watch the occasional Disney cartoons like Duck Tales and Goofy on Youtube. I’ve even caught myself watching Spongebob and Pokemon.

So when one day a friend of mine sheepishly admitted that he, a grown man, was watching a My Little Pony cartoon I was intrigued. For those of you not in the know, My Little Pony is a toy franchise cartoon from the 80s, targeting young girls, basically a large advertisement to sell the toys ala Transformers but for girls.  And now they have a new series out called My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (MLP:FIM), targeting both the young daughters and the mothers who grew up with My Little Pony.

What intrigued me was that how could a cartoon targeted at girls suddenly jump the gender barrier. Not only did it jump but it there is a significant amount of followers that they chose to call themselves Bronies (a portmanteau of Bros and ponies)! And my friend was one of them! I’ve heard of fan boys for a lot of things but a girls cartoon? This was a first even for me.

And mind you, they really are fan boys in the truest sense. There are fan art, fan fiction, they collect the toys too (Hasbro must be very happy) and last but not least, they have their own convention the BroNYCon!  I’m pretty sure they face their fair share of social stigmas and self righteous people telling them what they should be watching, like any other people with alternative tastes. But hey, I say haters will be haters so just enjoy what you are doing so long as you don’t hurt nobody.

So I decided to take the plunge and went on Youtube to watch the pilot episode of the cartoon. I watched the first two episodes (hey it was a two parter) and while the animation was good (the producer worked on Powderpuff Girls before and the style stayed in the same vein), the story was a bit too saccharin to me.  I still wanted to give it a chance, so I watched another 2 episodes but alas I really couldn’t get into it. I wasn’t hooked. I won’t be a Brony. But at least it is better than the Care Bears and I am sure I’d watched it with my niece, after all she is in the target demographic.

While watching MLP, I did think that I should also expand my horizons in my culinary adventure. Of course, there are hard limits for me. I never have and never will eat taugeh. But I did make a mental note to myself to search out something different that I’ve never tried. It did not take long to find it either, enter the Hakka dish lui cha.

Lui Cha is a Hakka dish, consisting of various vegetables mince, mixed with rice and served with a very bitter herbal tea soup/broth. You are supposed to mix the soup, vegetable and rice to form a gruel of sorts.

After looking high and low for a place that serves lui cha, I ended up at a familiar place, the Top One Food Court near Ang Cheng Ho road. After resisting the temptation to eat laksa instead, I ordered the lui cha.

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I guess I can summarize what happens next with the following six words. It came. I ate. It conquered. I tried my best but this dish is beyond my palate. There were some nice bits in the dish. The ‘chai poh’ taste was nice and was about the only thing that kept me going. The vegetables had too much of the “green” taste for me. And the soup.  What can I say. I do take bitter stuff, like bittergourd and I do drink copious amounts of bitter herbal tea. But somehow, the lui cha soup was turning me off the dish.

On the plus side, I do think this is one hell of a healthy dish and one of the rare stall food that can truly be classified as a health food. And like My Little Ponies, I couldn’t really get into it. Maybe next time, I’ll have a second go at lui cha. Anyone know of a good one?

PS. Sorry for not posting last week. Other parts of my life interfered.


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