Winter Melon and Dried Longan Drink | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

Winter Melon and Dried Longan Drink

Winter Melon Drink with Dried Longan

Call this a Chinese folk medicine might be a bit exaggerated. Unlike most medicinal herbal teas, it neither looks cloudy nor tastes bitter. I even make it look fancier here but the way it is served will not degrade its cooling property for curbing the summer heat in our bodies (in Chinese term, 消暑).

Yes, this is a healing drink but is both tangy and sweet.

However, it does not necessarily need to be chilled in order to achieve the cooling property. The key thing I know is that we have to boil the winter melon with its green skin for maximizing the heat-eliminating effect.

Winter Melon and Dried Longan in Pot

And this is a drink that depicts the concept of balancing in Chinese food therapy. Winter melon is a member of gourd and also a cooling food. The dried longan, being a heaty food, not only adds tangy flavor to the drink, but also makes the cooling somewhat moderate. Simply put, we need air-conditioning, still, we need to put our clothes on – this is a simple interpretation by myself than by a qualified herbalist, please note.

But I could tell you more about this gourd, which is widely available in summer, and why it is called winter melon. Check this out.

Get one larger cut of winter melon, a handful of dried longan and several cups of water, you can whip this up almost effortlessly. To sweeten the drink, slab sugar is my first choice; if not, consider substituting it with brown sugar. Job’s tears is also an ingredient with cooling property, the drink will still be tasty with or without its presence. I like its adding of subtle nutty flavor.

Dried Longan
Winter Melon for a Drink
Slab Sugar for Winter Melon Drink

  • Ingredients
  • ~700g winter melon
  • ~20 pcs dried longan
  • 1 tbsp job’s tears aka coix sees, optional
  • 60g slab sugar, or to taste
  • 2 liters of water


Brush the skin of winter melon and wash it clean. Remove its seeds and pith. Cut into 2 to 3 cm slices.

Soak dried longan with water for about 10 minutes. Discard water and drain dry.

Rinse and soak job’s tears (if using), about an hour. As long as it is washed clean enough, you may retain the soaking water for boiling as well.

In a pot, bring all ingredients and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Then lower to moderate level and keep boiling for another 30 to 40 minutes or till the winter melon turns fully translucent and the job’s tears are softened.

Add sugar and boil until dissolved. It is also nice to drink this without sugar, so sample taste before you add any.

Serve hot or chilled (let cool and store in fridge for up to a week). You may choose to eat or not to eat the boiled melon flesh, dried longan and job’s tears along with the drink. Enjoy your way!

More about dried longan

In H.K., dried longan is available in shops selling Chinese herbs, in some groceries stores and in some places where you find dried seafoods.

In Chinese, it is written as
– 龍眼 lungan (literally means dragon eyes) in Cantonese, or
– 桂圓 guiyuan in Mandarin

Dried longan is a heaty food, so do eat a moderate amount each time. One herbalist’s advice is six per day, any second opinion?

Dried Longan in Bottle

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  1. tigerfish

    I enjoy winter melon soup a lot! Going to have more winter melon this summer. I wonder if I can do this drink with dried figs (cos I do not have dried longans ready right now).

  2. TasteHongKong

    With dried figs, I will boil them with pears than winter melon. My bias perhaps.

  3. claypotclub

    Sounds like a nice cooling drink. I’ve been eating too much greasy, fried food lately. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Jeannie

    Ahh…this looks like a familiar drink when I was young…don’t boil it these days, no idea why I have forgotten this refreshing and cooling drink!

  5. penny aka jeroxie

    The dried longan here is not very nice. So I seldom cook with it.

  6. mycookinghut

    Love cooling drink like this one..!!

  7. kristy

    What a chilling sounded drink! I love it chilled. Btw, I’ve some awards for you. Please feel free to hop over to collect them. Have a nice day.
    Blessings, Kristy

  8. TasteHongKong

    Thanks for passing me the awards, too kind of you!

  9. Life for Beginners | Kenny Mah

    I love this drink, especially during the hot weather. Never knew dried longan was supposed to be “heaty” though. That’s interesting. 🙂

  10. Little Inbox

    Almost all gourds or melons are cooling, like bitter gourd, winter melon, water melon, cucumber,…
    This drinks is delicious. Good to have on hot days, like now in Malaysia.

  11. Lori

    This makes me want to be back in Hong Kong with all those herb shops. I knew little about what they contained, but you are teaching me with every post! This looks delicious and refreshing!

  12. TasteHongKong

    Welcome back!
    With your overwhelmingly kind comment, I’m flushed.

  13. xiaochi dot taiwan » Post Topic » Winter Melon and Dried Longan Drink

    […] TasteHongKong for Taste Hong Kong, 2011. | Permalink | 12 comments | Add to […]

  14. Jaime

    I came across your site after searching on onion in red wine, and now I am enjoying every single recipe you posted here. These make me very tempting to try out cooking, even though I am truly a lousy cook. Thank you for sharing all these wonderful and yummy recipes.

  15. TasteHongKong

    If you enjoy the recipes here, that means you have already possessed the passion for cooking. If you identify yourself a lousy cook, you must be humble enough for making greater improvements. Don’t be shy, if we think can, we can, agree?!
    Thank you for your kind words and sharing your thoughts. Have fun cooking!

  16. John M

    Is the first time i saw these recipes, very interesting and will definitely try to make this refreshing drink

  17. TasteHongKong

    @John M,
    It is easy to prepare even for the first time, enjoy!

  18. Lun

    Thanks for yours recipes. When was young I enjoying the foods and drinks in authentic style, but nowday in Indonesia especially in Jakarta is dificult to fine chinesse home recipes in healthy, good . By now I can not consume hot food, so your recipes very very helpull. Thanks

  19. TasteHongKong

    You are welcome!
    See if these few recipes are also of interests to you (they are healthy and some of them are also cooling):
    Beancurd Skin Sweet Soup with Ginkgo Nuts and Job’s Tears
    A Dish Made of Colors – Vegetarian Stir-Fried Corn
    Chawan Mushi aka Japanese Savoury Egg Custard
    Coriander Soup with Century Egg and Fish Fillet – for Curing Sore Throat?
    Or, you may also click on the yearly archive on the right to view the summary of each year.

  20. Jennifer

    Thanks for the the drink recipe I love it, oops I acidently pour the soaked dry longan withwater into the wintermelon pot I hope its ok to drink it hehe

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