If you have always wondered what makes "cincau" or "leong fan" (Cantonese) or grass jelly, this post will definitely enlighten you. It's from a plant called the Mesona with shiny leaves.
Unlike "gwai ling kou" which I have associated with tortoises and their carapaces, grass jelly is less scary.
The grass jelly drink is very common in Malaysia. It consists of black chewy jelly-like bits in syrupy sweet water which also gets its dark tinge from the grass jelly. Usually served cold with ice, this drink is a thirst quencher on hot days. It also helps 'cool' the body especially if one gets too heaty.
Although it is a typically Chinese drink, many other races in Malaysia drink this too. For instance, Malays mix cincau with soya bean milk to make a sweet thirst quencher when they break fast during the fasting month. In fact, Yeo's usually sell their soya bean drink (1 liter tetrapack) with a can of cincau drink so you can mix them up at home!
Of course, over-indulging in cool drinks like cincau is not good. Moderation is the key. But at least,
now I know where my cincau comes from!