Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dragon Fruit Cereus Flower Soup

Dragon fruit cereus / ba-wòhng-fâ / 霸王花

I found these nice flowers (not yet opened) at one vegetable and fruit seller in Mongkok. As I had never seen them before I asked the seller for the name of this plant and how to cook it.  

He only gave me its Chinese namewhich is in Cantonese Ba wòhng fâ.  When I arrived home I immediately googled Ba wòhng fâ (I did not know how to write it in Chinese) and did not find anything like the flowers I bought.
Today I asked my Mandarin teacher how to write  Ba wòhng fâ.  Then I googled again in Chinese 霸王花 and found that these flowers were from the cactus family and had several common names:

 - Night blooming cereusas the name indicates the blooms appear at night and close as soon as the day starts;
- Dragon fruit cereus - Pitaya – Dragon fruit - Strawberry Pear:  these are all names of the same fruit and come from the Dragon fruit cereus.

The Night blooming cereus is widely grown in the tropical regions.  Its scientific name is: Hylocereus undatus

Here is the recipe of the soup (for 3-4 persons) given by the seller:

Dragon fruit cereus soup

  • 3-4 (about 1lb) dragon fruit cereus flowers - Ba wòhng fâ
  • ½ catty (300gr) lean pork
  • 3 honey dates maht jóu
  • 10gr sweet and bitter kernels nàamh-bâk-hahng

  1. Soak the flowers at least 1hour and wash clean. { It is quite slimy} Rinse well.
  2. Wash and drain the kernels and honey dates.
  3. Wash and blanch the pork for a few minutes, and rinse.
  4. Boil 6 rice bowls of water in a large saucepan. Put all the ingredients in. Cover. Bring to the boil.
  5. Lower the heat and cooked for about 2 hours.

I found Ba wòhng fâ quite bland. Its flavour is similar to an asparagus and it has a slimy texture. The combination with the meat, the sweet dates and the kernels is perfect.  I like it! And I will definitely make it again!

The stall where I bought the ba-wòhng-fa

Dragon fruit or pitaya / fó-lùhng-gwó


  1. Still one of my favorites!
    Still only hk$10 at any dried food market store!

  2. Add water to a non-stainless steel pot, covered to leave a small gap of pot cover and bring it to boil. Lower fire to the smallest and silmmer to for 30 mins. Add some rock sugar to taste. Good for cough.