A Cooling Red Sugar Cane, Water Chestnut & Barley Drink To Counter Body Heatiness


A delicious, cooling drink


Ingredients (clockwise from top left) – 15 water chestnuts, 4 cups of Chinese mixed barley, some rock sugar, 2 bundles of red sugar cane

Hello there, dear friends 😀

The boiled sugar cane drink is one of the most popular cooling drinks or herbal teas (known as “leong char” in Cantonese) that can be easily purchased from herbal/cooling tea stalls or coffee shops. Children love it for its pleasant taste and this is one of the cooling “teas” that I can get my kids to drink with a smile, instead of a grimace (when they are asked to drink bitter teas 🙄 )

I would boil a giant pot of this and store it in a few jugs to be kept in the refrigerator, to be drank over a few days. It is especially refreshing when served in a tall glass with ice cubes and drank on a really hot day! 😀

There are 2 main types of sugar canes used for its cooling properties – the red or the bamboo variety. I prefer the red sugar cane because it also has medicinal benefits and is known to be especially good for people who suffer from migraines (which I had a few years ago). If I want this drink to be more “cooling,” then I would add 2 cups of dried bamboo leaves.

Water chestnuts are also cooling in nature and the barley acts as a diuretic and helps the body system to get rid of heatiness through the elimination process.

To prepare the ingredients – just scrub clean with a brush the sugar cane and water chestnuts. Cut the cane into shorter lengths to fit your pot. Smash the sugar cane and water chestnuts with a heavy knife/chopper or a pestle.

Put all the ingredients into a large stock pot, add in about 7 litres of water and bring to a boil. Reduce fire to small and simmer for 4 hours.

There you have it….a wonderful, refreshing and cooling drink for a heaty body or for a hot day. It is also good to have this drink go with your meals that contained heaty foods (that are fried, roasted, baked, or grilled) to balance things together. 😉


4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    tess said,

    I have been trying to find a place to purchase the Red Sugar Cane and can’t seem to locate one. Where to you purchase it from? This drink sounds great but I need it for anemia. A simple drink of simmered Ginger and Red Sugar Cane.


    • 2

      Hi there, dear tess 😀

      Red Sugar Cane can be quite hard to find – where are you from? In Kuala Lumpur, the Red Sugar Cane can be found at night markets and in wet markets. They are sold in bundles and you can identify them by the reddish skin.

      Recently, I am testing out taking “Spirulina” for good health for my family. Spirulina is a very good source of iron and vitamin Bs for anemia. My eldest son is having low red blood cell counts and low iron and I found out that spirulina would help him a lot. While looking into spirulina – I found that it is good for many things…being a natural multi-vitamin, good for hair and nails and complexion, etc. 💡

      However, spirulina can be very expensive in Malaysia and I get them from iherb (use Coupon Code MLL655 to get US$10 off purchases exceeding US$40)


      Hope you are able to find the Red Cane Sugar!

      With best wishes,

      choesf 😀


    • 4

      Steven Wong said,

      Hi tess, where do you stay? I was told by my brother the good properties of red sugar cane especially for migraine. He gave me some to plant. I have some land and started planting it. Now it’s ready for harvesting. We boil it and drink. It’s very refreshing and nice to drink even without adding any rock sugar.


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