Ipoh, besides boasting of its white, fatty beansprouts and smooth, soft Hor fun/Kway Teow used to be famous for its 'Leong Char' aka 'Cooling Tea'. Actually, not so much the 'leong char', but for the 'leong char mui' meaning 'cooling tea maiden'.
Back in the late '60's and early '70's there were many of these stalls set up by the roadside at night and they were manned by those pretty maidens, well you can say 'pretty maidens in a row'. There was a great variety of cooling tea to choose from, 'loh hon kor', winter melon, sugar cane, chrysanthemum, not forgetting the very bitter, black as coffee, king of 'leong char', 'Wong Low Kat' , just to name a few. They were cheap, those days, ranging from 20 to 50 sen per glass.
I remember that my mum used to make this concotion of 'Wong Low Kat' at least once a month and more frequently if the weather was unduly hot and dry. Then me and my siblings were each 'served' with a rice bowl of this black stuff and a small tiny packet of sweet plum, 'Chan Pei Mui' as a sweetener. My mum would then be hovering behind our backs with a cane in her hand.
We had a choice though, either we gulp down the black stuff all at one go and quickly toss the sweet plum into our mouths or slowly sip the black stuff and 'enjoy' the bitter taste........... delay tactics, and bite the sweet plum at intervals. Whatever it is, she made doubly sure that every drop is consumed.
Today, made this 'Kook Far Leong Char' aka 'Chrysanthemum cooling tea', a refreshingly delicious, soothing drink, which can be taken at all times, throughout the year.
70 gm dried Chrysanthemum
10 gm Yeong Sum Soo
4 pieces Kam Choe/Liquorice
90 gm Rock Sugar
2.75 litre water
Wash and rinse chrysanthemum a couple of times
to rid of dirt and grime thoroughly, then set aside
Bring to the boil the 2.75 litre of water
and once boiling, add in the
yeong sum soo
kam choe and
Cover the pot and let it simmer under low heat
for half an hour
when cooled, strain and