Barley and Candied Winter Melon Drink

Finally the sultry days of summer are upon us, complete with high temperatures and humidity. The mercury is expected to climb to the nineties later this week. To combat the heat, this sweet Barley and Candied Winter Melon Drink is the perfect antidote. Both barley and winter melon are considered to have a cooling influence by the Chinese.

Growing up in Malaysia, I had many, many cups of this cool and refreshing drink. While it may be served warm, I much prefer it chilled. Mom often made a huge pot of it and kept it chilled in jugs or bottles in the refrigerator. Fragrant pandan leaves, a Southeast Asian enhancement to the Chinese original, were included to give the drink added flavor. For people who prefer the drink without the barley grains and strips of winter melon, these may be strained out.

Barley and Candied Winter Melon Drink
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6 servings
  • ½ cup (100g) hulled or pearl barley
  • 1 cup (120g) candied winter melon
  • 8 cups (2 liters) water
  • 2 pandan leaves, rinse and knotted
  • Sugar to taste**
  1. Rinse and soak barley for 30 minutes. Drain.
  2. Place barley, candied winter melon, water, and pandan leaves in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for an hour.
  3. Remove and allow to cool. Serve warm or chilled.
**If you prefer a sweeter drink, add a little sugar but candied winter melon itself is sufficiently sweet.

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 8)

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  1. says

    This looks like gorgeous drink . I love pearl barley ans use it profusely and this drink looks perfect for me.

    The winter melon candy looks like the Indian Petha , is it so ?

    • Biren says

      I did a check on the internet and from the description it sounds similar. I think you should be able to use it. :)

  2. says

    I love reading your posts. every time I learn something new. Never heard about candied melon before but your drink sounds refreshing, perfect for a hot summer day
    Thanks for sharing Biren

  3. says

    Love making this drink too. Whenever I make these, it reminds me of my younger days where mum used to prepare this for my family :)

    Thks for bringing back the old charm!

  4. says

    Biren, I love this barley and candied winter melon。We called 糖冬瓜意米水 in Cantonese but most of the time we only finished the barley water and candied winter melon…not to waste the cooked barley I will throw it into agar agar with egg drop as a sweet dessert.

    • Biren says

      Thta is so true Angie. Humid afternoons make one sleepy and a nice refreshing drink and nap sounds good. :)

  5. says

    This is very unique. I love barley but can’t quite imagine what this drink would taste like. It does look refreshing though and perfect for our hot summer day here. I’ve got an award for you on my blog today.

    • Biren says

      This drink is sweet and most refreshing when chilled.

      Thank you so much for thinking of me. I will check out the award soon. :)

  6. says

    Hi Biren! I can imagine drinking this in hot and humid weather and cool off… I need to check this candied winter melon in the Asian store that I go to. The picture will really help! It’s so cold here today and I really wish I live in your area. It’s hard to believe we live in a same country… One place is like summer one place is like fall/winter weather…

  7. says

    We are still experiencing showers here in CA! I hope to get some sun here soon!

    Long time since I have drank barley with candied winter melon in it.

  8. says

    I love munching those winter melon sweets. I never knew that they can be made into drinks. You are so lucky to have summery weather. The sun comes and goes where we are. Sad.

  9. says

    Wow, this sounds so refreshing and good! I wonder how it’d be with candied ginger in place of the winter melon, since it’s hard to get candied winter melon where I am…

  10. says

    How interesting this recipe of barley and winter melon…never thought is using the sugary winter melon to make a drink…it sure looks very refreshing. Hope you are having a great week Biren :-)

  11. says

    Wow you are already reaching the 90s? I think you are warmer than we are 😀

    This drink is new to me. I love finding out new and interesting things from you…I just wish I could grab it off the screen and try it!

    • Biren says

      The temperature hit 100 degress today! Spring was so cool and then all of a sudden it is so HOT! Big swing in temps as it is suppose to cool down to the 60’s this weekend.

  12. says

    Living in Phoenix, I am always game for a cool-you-off kind of drink. This one looks like nothing I’ve had before…in a good way :) Definitely will be giving it a shot this summer…thank you!


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