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 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: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Barley and Candied Winter Melon Drink


  • 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**


Rinse and soak barley for 30 minutes. Drain.

Place barley, candied winter melon, water, and pandan leaves in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for an hour.

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)