their stall is really simple: a boxy stainless steel cart with the stall's name - cheah kin kee herbal tea - painted on the front, several small stacks of clean bowls on one side next to which the aunty places the packets of herbal tea. the powders are kept in nondescript plastic containers, the bitter tea is poured out from a large kettle. it's a straightforward, efficient set-up. customers stand around the stall, gulping down their brewed liquid of choice. you can drive up onto the pavement and park your car there. in a matter of minutes, you'll be off again, making way for other customers.
the stall did brisk business during the five or so minutes we were there; the turnaround is, after all, really quick. customers walk up to the stall, place their order (bitter or sweet), the uncle serves it up in one of those typical, traditional china bowls with chicken motifs on the side, and most people just down it in one gulp. "stir the powder before drinking," he'll say. "yes it's being prepared, just need some time to get this ready you know," we heard him say to an impatient customer. meanwhile, aunty prepares plastic bags of tea for takeaway orders. a third person helps them clear and wash the bowls.
the powder wasn't altogether bitter, it was more 'golden' as we would say in chinese - that tarty, slightly bitter with a hint of cool. the elderly couple basically sells just two types of tea: bitter and sweet. for the former, he will mix in a combination of three types of medicinal powders that are supposed to ease heatiness, soothe coughs and colds. you don't have to tell him what you want, he stirs in a portion size that he sees fit - apparently according to your size/height/gender? the sweet tea is quite delightful, rich in natural herbal flavours and perfect to wash away that 'golden' aftertaste of the bitter tea.
cheah kin kee herbal tea kerbside, jalan pasar, pudu, kl