food 4 tots

Water chestnut and bamboo cane drink


This is another body cooling and thirst quenching drink I love to boil for my family on hot and heaty days.  The method of preparation is as simple as that for the barley drink recipe which I posted earlier.


I first learnt about this method from a neighbour. The drink is her family’s all-time favourite. A kid whom she babysat many years ago loved it so much that he even requested her to make extra portions for his family too.  That testimonial inspired me to try it out immediately. As it turned out, the drink was really delicious and equally loved by my family too.


The ingredients are cheap and easily available in the wet market. Because of that, I usually make extras and chilled some in the fridge. Either served warm or chilled, it tase equally good. However, both my hubby and son prefer the chilled version as they find it more refreshing. My son claimed the chilled drink is as good as lemonade.


I am strongly against giving sugar packed soft gaseous drinks to toddlers. Similarly, for the commercially packed juices and herbal drinks that contaih high level of sugar, artificial coloring and preservative. It will be a great if we parents  can train our kids to love this simple homemade thirst quencher as the healthier choice. This goes for adults too! Do you agree?



10 water chestnuts 马蹄
4 sticks of fresh bamboo canes 竹蔗
2500 ml water
Rock sugar to taste (I used yellow crystal rock sugar 黄晶冰糖)


  1. Wash, scrub and rinse water chestnuts. Remove skins and soak in the water to avoid discoloration. Use the side of a chopper to slightly pat the water chestnuts.
  2. Wash, scrub and rinse bamboo canes. Cut into shorter lengths (about 12cm). Use the side of a chopper or anything hard eg. rolling pin or hand grinder to slightly break the bamboo canes.
  3. Bring water to boil. Add in water chestnuts and bamboo canes and bring the water to boil again. Simmer for 1-1½ hours.
  4. Discard bamboo canes. Retain water chestnuts for eating as they are crunchy and have natural sweetness.
  5. Add rock sugar to taste. Served warm or chilled.
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  1. Sounds very refreshing! I have to try this during our hot weather.

  2. Little Inbox says:

    Yea, this is cooling. It’s suitable to take during the hot weather, and tastes good too.

  3. Alice says:

    Yes LK, I agreed as home made drinks are always better than canned juices! Will try this out soon as the weather is getting hotter! 🙂

  4. candy says:

    which bamboo to buy? the green one or the brown colour one? thanks.

  5. ck lam says:

    This is one favorite drink of mine…chook jih mah taih always recommeded as a cooling drink.

  6. Selba says:

    Never mixed between water chestnuts and bamboo canes, interesting! I would love to try it.

    Btw, yes, I totally agreed with you 🙂

  7. gertrude says:

    My mom used to make this drink for us using the sugar cane from our backyard 🙂

  8. noobcook says:

    I love this refreshing cooling drink, so perfect for the warm weather now!

  9. skinnymum says:

    not tried this before, but i desperately need more cooling drink/soup recipes. my younger girl falls sick very easily in current warmer than normal weather conditions.

  10. Dora says:

    Too bad, i can’t drink this cos too “cooling” for me.

  11. mycookinghut says:

    I think this drink is good for me.. serve it chilled should be really nice!!

  12. Ching says:

    Very refreshing indeed. But I don’t think I can buy the fresh ingredients here.

  13. Your waterchestnut water come just in time. In such a hot and bad weather here, I wish that I can just grab the one in your blog and drink it. Nice photos too.

  14. Christine says:

    Oh, very refreshing drink. I like it very much. When I was small, my mother used to cook this for us in summers. Now I can’t find any fresh bamboo canes or water chestnuts in AU. Too bad!

  15. tigerfish says:

    I know this is a nice refreshing drink but it is too troublesome to make leh! Still have to peel the chestnuts :O

  16. kongkay says:

    wish i can find those nice water chestnuts here. always covered in mud or dried out.

    will do green beans with barley on slow pot tonight.

  17. food-4tots says:

    Kongkay: The ones I bought are also covered in mud. Haven’t tried green beans with barley. Sounds interesting! 😉

  18. peanutts says:

    Hi, I live in Kelantan in malaysia and always love visiting the huge wet market there and often wondered about how to get my very reluctant hubby to taste new things. Will definitely give this one a go.

    • food-4tots says:

      Peanutts: I am from Msia too! My advice is be creative. It is just a matter of time to convince and “confuse” your hubby to try new things. Never give up 😉

  19. Michael says:

    Hi, I am just curious why should the chestnut be scrubbed and rinse before peeling off the skin? Should the scrubbing and rinsing be after peeling. Sorry, I am a guy who has never cook before, want to boil it for my wife because she is running a fever.

    • food-4tots says:

      Michael: Some of the water chestnut sold in the market are very muddy. Hence, we need to scrub and rinse away the mud before peeling. Otherwise, the mud will stick to the water chestnut during peeling. Your wife is so lucky to have such a caring hubby like you. As this drink is not a remedy to cure fever, it would be better to bring her to see the doctor as soon as possible. Hope she has a speedy recovery! 😉

  20. Imelda says:

    How many is 4 bamboo canes?

    Do i need to peel off the skin of the bamboo cane?

    Does it make a difference if i dont peel the water chestnut (in taste) but just smash it with a big knife and throw it inside the pot?

    • food-4tots says:

      Imelda: It means four sticks. You don’t have to peel off the skin. Just wash, scrub and rinse them thoroughly. Yes you can. Make sure you wash, scrub and rinse them thoroughly. It’s better to cut off the top and bottom part of the water chestnut. If you do this, it will be difficult to eat them later on. 😉

  21. Eve says:

    Hi.. just wondering is it OK to drink this once a week? Is it too cooling to drink weekly?

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