Help the Small Businesses: Purple Cane Tea House

Pictures by Gisele Soo

Purple Cane Tea House

 

SeeFoon loves Par-Tea-ing

Hew Choi Foong (manager)

At Purple Cane Tea House, everything is about tea. The manager of Purple Cane, Hew Choi Foong, is a walking encyclopedia on tea and there is nothing about tea that she cannot explain.

And when I was invited by retired veterinarian cum artist, Dr. Goh Hue Lang, for a meal at Purple Cane, I was surprised to discover that they are celebrating their 10th anniversary of operations this year. 

I was under the impression that it was purely a tea shop specialised in selling teas and that food was a secondary consideration. 

Was I ever wrong!

Not only is the food served here painstakingly curated, but the dishes on offer here are wholesome, with a clean taste and delicious! More vegetarian than meaty, using only free range chicken and some fish, there are dishes to suit all palates. 

And all of them contain TEA. Tea in all its myriad varieties, from Black, Green, Scented, Red both fermented and non, and semi. Each one lending its inimitable characteristics to the dish being presented. Tea is a topic which will be covered in another article but suffice to say that in general, the benefits claimed for tea are as follows: 

Tea contains antioxidants; Tea has less caffeine than coffee; Tea may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke; Tea may help with weight loss…Tea may help protect your bones. And the list goes on and avid tea drinkers can most likely add to the list.

We had a very mellow Puer Tea, a fully fermented tea which is suitable for drinking daily. 

Our first course was naturally the iconic Loong Jing Lei Cha, “Lei” meaning to grind or pound in a pottery mortar with grooves. This is what is done to the green Long Jing tea, mixed with other herbs into a paste, water added and boiled to make a soup. This soup is served with a variety of crunchy and chewy vegetables (pumpkin, sweet potato leaves, carrots, kailan), nuts, grains or rice and tofu, all making a healthy meal. RM 17.80 for the set.

Long Jing lei cha rice set

The burdock root with Oolong tea and chicken soup was umami without the oolong tea being overpowering. Burdock had been used in TCM for centuries, chock full of antioxidants and touted to remove toxins as well as inhibit certain types of cancer. A clear, clean, healthy soup without MSG or other additives. RM8.80 per serving.

Burdock chicken oolong tea soup

The curry chicken with black tea, made without coconut milk and thickened with ground cashew at RM15.80 was superb. The curry mixed vegetable soup with lychee black tea was equally umami and thickened, delicious and a good deal at RM13.80. I could just eat the gravy like a soup, velvety smooth, with no MSG. I was transported. This can be paired with their handmade noodles (RM3.20) to create a curry mee. And slurp up the soup at the end. Also eaten with the steamed bun made with ground tea leaves is another perfect match, RM16.80.

Curry chicken with black tea and handmade noodles
Curry mixed vegetable soup with black tea
Steamed bun

I loved the Oolong mushroom ginger ball, made from mushroom stalks, ginger and moulded into balls with glutinous rice flour; these balls were fragrant, chewy and irresistible, RM11.80.

Oolong mushroom ginger ball

This was followed by fried pumpkin with salted egg yolk and ground tea, delectable morsels, crispy on the outside, the pumpkin soft and squishy inside, RM11.80.

And the dishes kept coming, Dr. Goh wanting me to taste almost the whole menu! The abalone mushroom in tea and lime sauce was lovely, the mushrooms fried to a crispy finish with vegetarian ham and curry leaves and the lime/tea sauce, with the right degree of tartness lifting up the whole dish, RM13.80. Similarly their Dory fish, in black tea, lightly fried, the batter coating crispy at RM15.80. A good accompaniment for these is the green tea rice at RM2.50.

Abalone mushroom in tea and lime sauce
Green tea glutinous rice balls

Sweet potato balls with green tea dipping sauce (RM8.80) and green tea glutinous rice balls with black sesame paste inside and coated with ground peanuts at RM8.80 were some of the desserts we tried. What I enjoyed most were their velvety smooth Tea House Four Seasons Dessert (set of 4 at RM20.80). With Green tea pudding (Summer), Oolong jelly (Autumn ), Jasmine jelly (Winter ) and Rose romance pudding (Spring), different teas matched with the seasons and with very low sugar content.

Tea House Four Seasons Dessert

The lunch was an incredible feast and I vowed to return. Next time, for a detailed discussion on the merits of different teas with Choi Foong and enjoy a tea ceremony with her in the tea shop next to the restaurant. Meanwhile my readers may like to know that they have two Tatami private rooms where they can take their time in tasting the various varieties of tea and titillate their taste buds with items from the menu.

One of the tatami rooms

Purple Cane Tea House is Pork-free.

*Purple Cane Tea House is expecting to update their menu soon. Any relevant changes will be added to this post when we receive the information.

 

Address:
No.2, Jalan Dato Tahwil Azar (Osborne Street), 30300 Ipoh, Perak.

Business hours:
11am-10pm, no breaks
Takeaway available
BYO available

For reservations and inquiries:
012-668 3090 or 05-2533090

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