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a glass and a jug of winter melon tea
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Winter Melon Tea

Winter Melon Tea (Tra bi dao) is a tasty drink which is said to have cooling and detox effects in Vietnam. Learn the easy way to make this tea at home.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: tra bi dao, winter melon tea
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 49kcal
Author: Sophie


  • 2.5 lbs winter melon, washed and pat dry
  • 1 oz dried longan, rinsed (about ¼ cup)
  • 3 tablespoons rock sugar (or more, to taste)
  • 6 cups water


  • Cut off the very top and bottom parts. Quarter it lengthwise and discard the white spongy part with seeds in the center. Then cut into 1-1½ inch wide and 3-4 inch long pieces.
  • Heat a grill pan (or a cast iron pan) over medium heat until it is very hot. Add the winter melon slices in a single layer skin side down. Grill for about 8-10 minutes until the skin is lightly charred. Increase the heat up to medium-high if needed. Rotate the winter melon slices to grill all the other sides until they are lightly charred and look a little dried out. Remove from the grill pan.
  • Place the dried longan, rock sugar and charred winter melon slices in a medium pot. Add water and then place the pan over medium heat. Once the water starts to boil, reduce to low heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for 90-120 minutes.
  • Strain the tea and let it cool before storing in an air-tight bottle in the refrigerator. It can be enjoyed either warm or chilled (with or without ice).


You can store the tea in the refrigerator for about 3 days. Since this tea has a cooling effect, it is best not to drink it too frequently. Also, I don't recommend drinking it late in the evening. Nothing serious to worry about, just enjoy it in moderation like with any other food :).
I recommend using mature winter melon since the young/immature one can impart a sour taste to the drink.
With the amount of rock sugar suggested in the recipe, the tea is barely sweet which is great for me. Please feel free to add more sugar to your liking.


Calories: 49kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 15mg | Potassium: 177mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 1mg