How to "eat" kapok flowers in Guangzhou

BY : Dong Han

UPDATED :March 19, 2019


Share this with



Thanks to its location in a subtropical zone, Guangzhou has warm winters and long summers, with lush evergreen trees and grass, and flowers in all seasons. It is, therefore, known as the "city of flowers".

Beyond planting and appreciating flowers, Guangzhou natives also have a long history of eating flowers—and in a variety of ways. In spring, residents often collect fallen kapok flowers and leave them to dry in the sun, then cook different dishes by using dried, clean kapok flowers. The dried flower head is said to be effective in cleaning away inner heat and dampness from human bodies and improving immunity, according to traditional Chinese medicine.




Here are three kapok recipes.

Three-flower beverage木棉三花饮

15 g dried kapok flowers

10 g dried honeysuckle flowers

10 g dried feverfew (a plant in the daisy family.)

Wash these dried flowers. Then boil water in a pot and add the flowers. After natural cooling, you can drink it. The beverage will be refreshing during Guangzhou's long summertime.



Kapok and orange peel porridge木棉陈皮粥

30 g dried kapok flowers

10 g dried orange peel

100 g rice

A little honey

Boil water in a pot and add dried kapok flowers and dried orange peel. Bring to a boil and then remove flower dregs. Next, put the washed rice into the boiling water and allow it to simmer gently for about half an hour. A bowl of kapok and orange peel porridge is completed. Add a few drops of honey if you have a sweet tooth.




Soup of Kapok flower, black chicken, and ginseng 木棉党参乌鸡汤

1 black chicken

10 g dried kapok flowers

20 g ginseng

15 g green onion

10 g ginger

A pinch of salt and pepper

The black chicken actually is silky chicken, a beautiful bird with pure white feathers, black skin, and even black bones. Chinese cooks like using it for soups because it is a lean-muscled bird with little subcutaneous fat.



Wash the black chicken inside and out. Cut off the tail and trim the fat, especially inside the cavity and around the neck. Drain and keep whole. Heat boiling water in a clay pot and add the chicken, dried kapok flowers, ginseng, green onion, and ginger. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer for two hours. Season lightly salt and pepper.


1. Kapok soups are thought to be unhealthy for pregnant women and infirm old men.

2. If they are not cleaned, roadside kapok flowers may cause food poisoning. For safety reasons, please purchase clean dried kapok flowers in drugstores.


Source: WeChat(丝路云帆)