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.
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.
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.