Asamboi, Malay for sour plum, or “suan mei” in Chinese, is a favourite snack in Malaysian culture. The dry, preserved, salty and sour plum is a snack originally created in China. Liquorice and sometimes other spices such as aniseed, cloves or cinnamon are added for scent and flavour.
We eat it to help indigestion, use it to make preserved fruits, add it into bitter Chinese medicine like Hor Yan Hor tea, eat it with cut fruits like pineapple or guava, cook with it and now, use it as a flavour in cocktails.
Asam boi is an imported product. They are packaged and distributed here in bulk. We have so far found none produced here in Malaysia. However, they are easily found in dry snack shops in shopping malls, spices and condiments aisles in supermarkets, fruit stalls such as MBG, and come in full fruit or powder format. Different types are used in the recipes below depending on the flavours of the product. Please refer to * in the recipe for where the bartenders sourced their asamboi.
Astor Bar, St. Regis Hotel
Assam Boi Bloody Mary – Andrew Loke
60ml tomato & vegetable juice
45ml asamboi infused vodka
15ml kalamansi juice
1 bar spoon paprika
1 no. asamboi fruit
1 no. chili padi
1 dash Tabasco sauce
Sprinkle of Sarawak pepper
Asamboi powder to rim the glass
*Asamboi powder from Tesco supermarket
1. Put asamboi and chili padi into shaker tin. Muddle.
2. Add tomato & vegetable juice, infused vodka, paprika and ice. Shake.
3. Pour content into tall glass and add Tabasco sauce to taste.
4. Garnish with celery stick, kalamansi and cherry tomato
Note: Muddle chili padi too hard and it will make the drink a mouth burner, so be gentle.
Asamboi Julep – Demitria Dana Paramita
30ml Makers Mark bourbon
20ml Don Julio Reposado Tequila
15ml lime juice
15ml simple syrup
3 dashes homemade spiced bitter
1/2 bar spoon asamboi powder
10 nos. mint leaf
*Asamboi powder from Jusco
1. Chill the julep with ice cubes
2. Put all of the ingredients into a shaker
3. Put ice into the shaker
4. Give it a good hard shake.
5. Strain out the melted ice cubes water from the chilled Julep cup
6. Double strain the cocktail into the Julep cup
7. Top up with crushed ice
8. Put the straw and mint sprig for garnish and pinch of asamboi powder on top.
Note: Mint leaves don’t need to be muddled or slapped before putting into the shaker as the shaking will break the leaves and release the oils. Muddle and shake will create bitterness from the mint.
Asamboi Margarita - Angel Ng
Asamboi Infused Tequila
- For every 750ml tequila blanco/plata, infuse 5 asamboi for at least 96 hours
500g of asamboi powder
450g of caster brown sugar
700ml of boiling water
10g-20g of sea salt
*Recommended supermarket asamboi powder is KitzBitz.
1. Bring the water to boil and add the powder into water
2. Bring the temperature to simmer for 15-20 minutes
3. Add the caster brown sugar inside and slowly stir, make sure the fire is on low heat.
4. Do not leave it unattended as the heat will cause the mixture to foam up
5. Add the sea salt if the mixture isn't salty enough. Varies from different asamboi powder
6. Once the sugar has melted, which takes about 10 minutes, take the saucepan off to cool
7. Strain it with traditional coffee sock
45ml asamboi infused Tequila
5ml asamboi Syrup
20ml calamansi Juice
20ml Joseph Cartron Triple Sec
1. Pour all the ingredients into the tin shaker.
2. Add ice to 3/4 full.
3. Shake as if your life depends on it. (^_^)
4. Rim a chilled coupe glass with asamboi powder
5. Double strain into glass
6. Garnish one asamboi fruit and serve.
"Do Bats Eat Cats?" - Zachary Luther
60ml fresh green apple juice.
40ml No. 3 Gin,
25ml asam boi infused syrup
10ml Fernet Branca
*Asamboi full fruit from any supermarket
Shake and strain into chilled highball and top with soda.
Omakase + Appreciate
30ml Sailor Jerry
30ml pineapple juice
10ml palm sugar syrup
10ml pandan syrup
15ml lime juice
1 nos. asamboi
*Asamboi fruit from dry candy store at Midvalley
1. Put asamboi into shaker with 15ml hot water.
2. Add rest of the ingredients.
3. Shake and strain into tulip glass.
4. Garnish with edible flower.