You would have seen this dish hundreds of times before in my blog as it is one of the regular vegetable dishes that we would order when eating out…and for one thing, my girl loves it a lot and would request for it.

If you have been following my blog for sometime, you probably would have seen this photograph of the plants…

Cangkuk manis plant
*Archive photo*

I can well understand why it is called manis as the leaves are indeed sweet but I don’t know why it is called cangkuk which means grafted…and some people call itย cangkul, meaning hoe. It is actually very easy to plant – you just save the stalks after removing the leaves to cook…

Cangkuk manis leaves

…and stick them into the ground. I’ve tried too but of course, I failed – I do not have green fingers and everything I planted never survived. Sobsss!!!!

For some reason or other, other than mani cai, a name probably derived from the mispronunciation of the word manis, the locals here also call it lakia cai, Dayak vegetable. Maybe it is native to this region and thrives really well here or perhaps in the early days, people would buy it from the ethnic Dayak ladies at the market but of course, nowadays, it is widely grown and if you drop by the market, you would see it being sold all over. I know there is a stunted/miniature version of the same from Sabah that they call sayur manis – we loved that very much, along with all the other vegetables from Kundasang until word went round about the excessive use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers but frankly, I think it is more or less the same, never mind where your vegetables come from…unless you plant your own at home.

I’ve blogged about cooking it before…but I did add some chili then which would be something not commonly found in Foochow cooking, especially in the past when they would be put off by anything even a little bit spicy and Foochow cooking is basically very plain and simple. For this vegetable dish to taste nice, you would have to tear the leaves…


…like how tapioca leaves would have to be pounded before cooking so as to bring out the taste and the sweetness and other than that, this would make it easier to chew, especially if the leaves are a tad too old and rather hard.

You do not need a lot of ingredients if you want to cook it the original or authentic Foochow style, just some garlic, finely chopped…


…that you fry in a ย little bit of oil till golden brown followed by the vegetables before adding in the eggs…


…beaten well. Lastly, just add seasoning – a little bit of salt and msg, that is, and the dish is ready…

Foochow style fried cangkuk manis with egg

It is nice enough as it is but it is perfectly all right to add other ingredients that you may like to bring the dish to a whole new level. I would add a handful of ikan bilis (dried anchovies) perhaps but if you add some prawns or sotong (squid), that would be very nice too and at the Malay stalls, you may get to see it in their sayur masak lemak or cooked with pumpkin while at some places here, they even serve it with braised pork leg

Cangkuk manis with pork leg
*Archive photo*

Whichever way you may choose to cook it, there is just one thing that you must make remember not to forget – that the leaves must be torn!


Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

22 thoughts on “Torn…”

  1. There are so many different types of green vegetables in this region. There are even cooking classes here in KL that help you distinguish between them all.

    Indeed. Farmed and wild. If you drop by our ethnic jungle produce section at our central market here, you will see so many more that you wouldn’t have seen before.

  2. as soon as i read your first sentence, i knew the answer: Cangkuk! i had never heard of cangkuk before reading your blog, but thanks to you, it’s ingrained in my brain, heheh ๐Ÿ˜€

    I’m sure many would have seen it or even eaten it if they are fans of hand-made pan mien. It’s one of the toppings alongside the fried ikan bilis and whatever else, just that maybe, most would just eat and never bother to find out the name.

  3. Next time u try to plant them again, make sure u water them a lot the first few days. After that they should grow rather quickly and they’re pretty hardy as well.

    Another reason is probably I did not dig up the soil in my garden. It has become too hard over the years. Perhaps I can try growing some in a pot. May be able to grow a bit for what they call the Hing Hua style fried bihun – no need for a lot…and no point buying one whole bundle from the market when one would need just a bit.

  4. Definitely the leaves must be torn to bits & pieces. Mani cai cook with the braised pork leg looks great but I have never tried cooking that way, usually fried with egg or pumpkin. I wonder it tastes good or not using canned stew pork.

    Personally, I prefer it on its own and stewed pork leg on its own as well, not together like this. Not bad but I do not see the point in serving the two together since each is nice enough on its own. But fried with pumpkin and sambal brings the taste to a whole new level, different and very nice – I wouldn’t mind that.

    I’ve seen the veg at Malay stalls, cooked but not torn. Definitely not the way I would like it.

  5. Oh yes, I can recognize this vege, cangkuk manis, or cakur manis some place calls it.. Fried with egg, some with pumpkin, yes, I remember! Here, I only eat with my pan mee soup.

    Try cooking it in other ways other than in your pan mee, you’ll love it. It is very popular at all the eateries here.

  6. I’m torn you didn’t invite me to eat this fab dish!! l love veggies especially this ! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Come on over! You can help tear – that can be quite a chore…and then I will cook for you. ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. They can be easily grown right? I still like it with pan mee and fish balls ๐Ÿ™‚

    Yes, very easy – just stick the cuttings into the ground…but mine never did survive!!! *face palm* Sobssss!!!!

  8. Cangkuk manis with fried egg, Mee hoon cangkuk, Cangkuk with pumpkin… all were my favourite dishes. ๐Ÿ˜†

    Yes, all nice. My girl’s favourite, cangkuk manis with pumpkin cooked with sambal udang kering.

  9. I know this vegetable as cekur manis. Very nice to put in soups. I have also eaten the one stir fried with egg. It is available at the supermarket. I must buy and then try to plant in my garden.

    Seems like that is the standard name for this veg there – cekur manis or sayur cekur or pucuk manis. I wonder what cekur means – I know cukur means shave, but I don’t think this has anything to do with it. Here, it’s cangkuk though some say cangkul.

    Available at the supermarket? I wonder why I do not see anyone eating them at the chu-char places, never seen anyone blogging about it – not like here. It’s everywhere, all over town…a very popular choice when it comes to vegetables. Not often seen in soup though – the sweetness would go into the water rendering the leaves quite tasteless, not so nice anymore.

  10. I love garlic, I put it in salads, meat, whatever. And I love garlic bread, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I think it is the basic ingredient in Chinese stir-fried vegetables and other dishes such as fried noodles as well.

  11. I love it with pan mee…

    That’s one thing I am not really a fan off, pan mee…even though I love things in clear soup, dunno why.

  12. All this while I thought cangkuk manis is indigenous to your area. You mean it’s similar to the ones in pan mee (although many places have replaced this with yin choy). I thought those in pan mee are called “kau kei choy” (wolfberry leaves)? I’ve only eaten this vegetable cooked in soups with egg. So, cangkuk manis = cekur manis = pucuk manis = sayur manis = manicai = kau kei choy = all the same?

    Yes, all the above except the kau kei choy. I dunno if that is the same thing – I’ve seen the flowers and the berries, very small like peppercorn, nothing like wolfberries…and you can add lakia chai to the list – in Foochow, lakiang chai with the dialect’s unique intonation. I am not a fan of pan mee but yes, here, they all use this veg – obviously because it is very easily available.

  13. I always mix up this vege with the vege people put into pan mee. I like to eat this vege very much but only those tender leaves but we don’t get this vege here at all I think.

    Here, the veg they put in the pan mee is the one and the same, not too sure over where you all are. Don’t think I ever had pan mee there.

  14. This mani cai is something similar to what I called “Kau Kei” over here, only that they are grown on thorny stems… nowadays not easy to find them anymore… normally cook in soup and then beat in an egg… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Nope, the stems are not thorny. Smooth and thin…and perfect for disciplining kids in the old days, child abuse. Muahahahahaha!!!!

    1. Claire, people here call this ” Sabah Shu Zai Choi”, “kau kei” different.

      Ya, you would know. The Sabah ones there, are there very small, the same as ours but very much smaller?

  15. My favorite!! I asked my mum brought over the stalks for me to plant this round, let me see is it successful or not. hahaha

    Good luck! Should be very easy to plant…unless you are like me, no green fingers. LOL!!!

  16. I remember the first picture, have seen it few times. I like the one cook with eggs or plain cangkul without adding anything.

    You eat this? Nice and sweet eh? Don’t see anyone ordering this when eating out over at your side, not as popular, I guess.

  17. Oh dear … you post cangkuk manis again!!! That’s my fav dish and now, Yong Peng is miles away!

    Can get this in Yong Peng – don’t tell me it is really a Foochow thing! Over at your side, very nice multi-lane highways…not like the miserable inter-town trunk road in our state, no problem driving over to enjoy this and all the Foochow delights there.

    1. but gotta drive almost an hour to YP…. sigh …

      Not far. In KL, you may have to drive even longer to go from one place to another to eat, especially during peak hours. Once, my friend picked me at around 6, Bukit Bintang…and took me to Damansara Uptown – we only managed to get there to have our dinner at around 8. So so so very hungry!!!

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