I first time tried this chinese dessert when I was about 15 years old in HongKong. It was like a habit back then and there, there were almost always this kind of herbal shops at every single turns and corners. Different brands, some taste really good, some normal. I ate almost at every corner too!!! And since then, I have this little fondness of this kind of herbal jelly.
It is said that it was taken from the turtle‘s shells. It was the powder formed from scraping the shell, and the turtle has to be about minimal 20-30 years old. I saw a hundred years old turtle there in HongKong back then, and I felt so amazing to have the chance to eat the 100-year-old turtle’s shell powder. Together with some other chinese herbs, then this jelly was made. Nowadays, there are packs (the instant ready made ones) sold in supermarkets and provision shops in Singapore, Hongkong and some other south east asia countries. Most mothers nowadays find it so much easier and common healthy food for the whole family (I treated it as a luxury back then… ).
It is said to have a lot of goodness in it. It can promotes balanced digestive system (well, those who often faced with constipation, this is really good I can tell you! ), and dispel heatiness. To me, the most miraculous of all is that it can promotes smoother skin, softer and clearer skintone. It can also help to cure some of the skin problems like eczema and some rashes friends. To tell you the truth, I started to like this jelly, one of the reasons was this, besides the taste of course!
The taste of this jelly is almost like “lo han kuo“, just this is more of the bitter version of it. I tried some of the really good ones so far was the ones with softer bitterness (normally, most people eat it with liquid simple sugar, or honey. I remembered liking it with the honey, but then I forgot since when I started eating it “naked” as in without the additional sweetness and liking it. I feel like I can taste the real goodness in it!) with abit of soft tangerine minty flavor at the ending. Some of this jelly was spring-ier than the others. I remembered my mom bought the instant powder and making it at home, and it was almost like a bitter pudding (soft but no elasticity in it) without anything else. Some also more bitter (I guess this one is due to the extra chinese herbs some of the shops add in) than the others. My dad, who loves this herbal jelly too, has been exploring around south east asia too to get hold of the best ones (so we can eat it not just when we are going to HongKong) since in Indo, although many many restaurants made it (there a rave about this back at the 1990s in Jakarta), nothing compared to the ones we always have in Hongkong. And he found this in Malaysia, KL. He always buys this everytime he got the chance to go there. It tastes really good. Soft elasticity, and almost like melting in your mouth. It also has this tangerine minty endings to it which made it special and reminds me to the ones I used to have in Hongkong.