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What is the cold Korean fruit bowl called ‘hwachae’ everyone is eating on TikTok?

When late-night food cravings, temporary bouts of insomnia or dehydration hit, influencer Amy Flamy (@amyflamy1) shared how a hwachae, a traditional Korean chilled fruit-and-milk dish, can hit the spot.

Flamy was one of the first influencers to show off the dish to her followers in a TikTok that quickly went viral, amassing 10.2 million views and sparking the “cold Korean fruit bowl” trend.

Flamy explained that she had woke up at 3 a.m. “severely dehydrated,” so she ordered the dish.

“So pretty. So cold,” added Flamy in between loud slurps of her dish.

What is hwachae?

According to Kimchimari, a Korean food blog, the full name for the dish is subak hwachae, which roughly translates into “watermelon flower edible plant.”

The blog explains that hwachae was a traditional Korean punch that uses Omija syrup as the base of the drink, with other edible flowers or fruits cut in pretty shapes added to the top. The dish has also evolved over the years to include many variations of different fruits.

Flamy’s hwachae, for instance, featured strawberries and watermelon in strawberry milk mixed with coconut jelly. Kimchimari adds that the Korean dish was traditionally served in the summer as a refreshing drink, and a basic adaption of the recipe can be made by mixing Sprite, cubed or balled watermelon, milk and sugar, all chilled.

The dish has sparked a TikTok, trend with other influencers also playfully imitating Flamy’s dehydration claims and exaggerating their hwachae bowls with piles of ice cubes and oversized spoons.

“Not with that spoon,” laughed @lyshahagenbeek.

“If I hear it’s 3 am I woke up severely dehydrated one more time I’m going to lose my mind,” quipped @j4sminenotaladdin.

Spoof or not, commenters admit they can’t resist the refreshing allure of the fruit bowl.

“I JUST MADE IT AND I ACTUALLY LIKE IT,” wrote @ttvfaze_1 on Sassy & Nick’s (@sassyandnick) TikTok.

“I’m eating it rn it soo good,” agreed @jules16270 on the same video.

How to make hwachae

The key to a good hwachae bowl, Kimchimari claims, is to chill all the ingredients thoroughly before assembling and to add Sprite or another fizzy component last, so many influencers have taken to improvising by adding ice to their bowls to up the chill ante.

“The Sprite threw me off a little bit but I won’t knock it before I try it!” admitted @everydaynegroes on Kyra Orianaa’s (@orianaasmr) video.

TikToker Duchess Marie (@duchessofthedolls) also shared a more realistic-sized version of the Korean cold fruit bowl, along with the recipe that she used, which included “half a mini can Sprite Zero, 3/4 cup of Nesquik Strawberry milk, 1/2 a banana, 10 green grapes, 7 watermelon chunks cut up, 7 pineapple chunks cut up, half a dragon fruit, and 8 cubes of ice.”

“Its so refreshing!!” Marie captioned her video.

Others shared different variations that can be used in the fruit bowl, such as coconut milk, dragonfruit or canned coconut jelly, as Flamy had used. Marie pointed out that the dish is similar to other types of fruit-and-milk desert dishes in other cultures, like the fresas con crema (strawberries and cream) in Hispanic cultures or a traditional Filipino fruit salad.

“It’s so fkn good!!! Some people put peach’s and strawberries too!! Ima make it again tomorrow, very refreshing!!! Reminds me kinda of fresas con crema,” she noted.

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