Sweet Dessert: Air Mata Kucing （罗汉果冬瓜龙眼水）
If you're not a Malaysian, don't bother to ask what does 'Air Mata Kucing' mean. The direct translation of these 3 Malay words to English would be 'Cat Eye Drink'. Doesn't make sense to you? No worries. It's just a name. As long as you know what does it represent, good enough.
Air Mata Kucing (AMK) is a beverage made popular by a vendor stall located at Petaling Street, or more commonly known as 'the Chinatown' at Kuala Lumpur. [Sidetrack: actually calling Petaling Street the 'Chinatown' of M'sia is sort of an insult, as this place resembles nothing too oriental but heaven of imitated products, sigh] If you're curious to know how does the AMK stall looks like? Look no further. See below...
Air Mata Kucing at Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo source from here.
Ice cold AMK is always a great beverage to quench your thirst, especially when you're in a hot and humid country like Malaysia. That's why it is such a best-seller in Petaling Street. Actually, it is not tough to make AMK out of your kitchen yourself. It only requires 5 main ingredients, which are Buddha's fruit (loh hon guo, 罗汉果), dried longan, winter melon (can be fresh one, but I always go for dried winter melon strips, easier), brown sugar (or rock sugar), and water.
Some of the main ingredients: dried longan (upper left), Buddha's fruit (lower left), and dried winter melon strips (right).
The method to make this beverage is simple. Bring a pot of water to boil, then add in the Buddha's fruit first. Half a buddha's fruit is sufficient for 2 litre of water. Let the water simmer for a while before adding in the melon strips and dried longan. After boiling (over low heat) for around 15 minutes, you may add in brown/rock sugar to taste. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, they're good to go. Serve hot or icy cold.
A bowl of Air Mata Kucing from my kitchen, to your PC. See the melon strips and longan? The beverage is brownish-black in colour due to the Buddha's fruit.
If you have a blender, you may make it as an ice-blended drink too! *cooling*
Always a great summer drink!