Kembang Semangkuk – What can I serve with?

A lot of stores no longer like to serve kembang semangkuk in their drinks or in ice-kacang. People are getting modern and they simply don’t have time for these traditional food which not only taste unique, it is cheap and original. Many stalls selling drinks now opt for chemical produced, fake flavoured drinks with weird colourings.

Long time ago, those stalls selling drinks usually sell kembang semangkuk which are boiled with longan and brown sugar. They also put kembang semangkuk into ais-kacang because the texture is interesting and it adds colour to the ice concoction.

kembang semangkuk

I recently got hold of some kembang semangkuk sold by the Indian spice shop. This is the first time I see kembang semangkuk in its dried form. It is like tiny, dried olives.

kembang semangkuk

I put the dried kembang semangkuk into a cup of water and it plumps up many times it dried form size.

I am not sure how I am going to serve these kembang semangkuk with. Maybe I will make some longan and loh han kua drinks and put some? Any other ideas?

I forgot to mention that in Hokkien, it is call ‘phong tai hai’. My mom used to call me when I was angry. She said, “Nay, look at her face, like phong tai hai.” Meaning, it is black and puffed up.

15 Replies to “Kembang Semangkuk – What can I serve with?”

  1. I only know how to use ‘pong tai hai’ in thong sui. Like you mentioned, just boil the lohhan quo and dried longan. Add some honey dates (bit choe). Then add the pong tai hai and pandan leaves. Simple and taste so refreshing, hot or cold.

    I also like to add biji selaseh ( frog’s eggs).Can also add white fungus.

    If serving cold, add ice cubes and some canned longans and the syrup from the can.Add some agar agar jelly strips too if you so happen to have them.

    Can keep a few days in the fridge and still taste good.

  2. My grandma used to make the “luk mei” during the CNY with this “phong tai hai”, dried persimmon, dried longan, “pak hap”, green beans and white fungus. Eh, that’s seven ingredients already ._.”

    I don’t really like the texture and taste of this “phong tai hai”, kinda rubbery taste to me, like eating rubber bands @_@

  3. wah i totally have no idea what this is!! at first glance i thought it was ‘kee chi’. lol
    must show us what you did with the ‘phong tai hai’ ya. 🙂

  4. My friend said phong tai hai sounds like swollen CB so she said she gets very phai seh whenever she has to buy the stuff from the Chinese pharmacist LOL…

  5. I normally get my kembang semangkuk from the chinese medical hall. I used them mainly in thong sui also. If you want it to be easy, open a can of longan and put that kembang semangkuk in. In cantonese, we called it ‘tai hoi lum’.

  6. Phong Tai Hai!!!
    Our family will have that served in thong sui on the 1st day of CNY!!!It’s kinda like our tradition/staple food for CNY.
    My mum will cook the thong sui with longan, lotus seed, gingko & lotus bulb(pak hap), then served it with Phong Tai Hai & Selaseh.
    The kembang semangkuk can be eaten straight away after soaking. =)

  7. Lil, I missed eating kembang semangkuk. Very refreshing. Love if you can up the recipe for this one & I’ll be copy-it down for sure. I wonder where can get the dried ones around KL…..& all the other ingredients.

    Do u think Chinese herb shop would sell it?

  8. Hanz, I always buy it at Giant. It’s sold prepacked (100gms or so) and it’s called buah semangkuk. Do ask the sales personnel for help. It’s sold alongside dried ingredients like biji selasih,green beans, barley.lentils etc..

    You should be able to get all the other ingredients for tong sui at Giant too… well, at least for sure at the one in Penang Bayan Baru .

  9. I think the cantonese word is TAI HOI LARM… and my mama says not to eat it.. make your hair fall out wor.

    So, we never eat although I have lots of hair..Sigh.

  10. According to the Chinese herbalist, it is a ‘cold’ stuff and not suitable for daily consumption.

    Throw away the seed, it is poisonous when consumed.

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