Water Spinach Stir Fry with Chinchalok

Water Spinach (Ong Choy in Cantonese) is a very common vegetable in Southeast Asia. It grows wildly in waterways. I remembered when I was young, I used to collect water spinach near small streams.


Water Spinach is called Kung Xin Chai in Mandarin because it has a hollow stem. Literally, it is translated to vegetable without heart.


Kangkung Belacan is a very popular dish in Malaysia but I made a simpler Water Spinach with Chinchalok which is a shrimp sauce with chili, onions and lime. You can get Chinchalok from Chinese groceries store like T&T.


  • a big bunch of water spinach (you will end up with not much after removing the stems and it shrinks down a lot after cooking)
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • a handful of dried shrimps
  • 2 tablespoons of store bought Chinchalok
  • soy sauce and sugar to taste


Click on the link below for the instructions.


cinchalot-water-spinach03-300x200Fry the shallots and dried shrimp until fragrant.
cinchalot-water-spinach04-300x200Add the Chinchalok and stir fry for 30 seconds. You might need a splatter guard at this point.
cinchalot-water-spinach05-300x200Add in the water spinach and fry until they start to wilt. Season with soy sauce and sugar to taste. This is a relatively spicy dish and best served with steamed rice.

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  1. Oh wow, I’ve never heard of chinchalok! I guess it would be similar to bagoong?

    We all love kangkong here — in fact, we had that for dinner tonight! We do it ADOBO, of course. ;D

  2. ms._____

    My mum loves eating Water Spinach, she always makes them for dinner for the last couple of weeks…

  3. Stephanie in Vcr

    Is this also called on-choy? I bought some the other day from T&T and it was delicious. I’ll definitely try your recipe! Just found your site. I’m a non-asian from Vancouver and love asian cooking- love finding good family-type recipes! Thanks!

  4. anna

    My family calls this Tong Choi, this vegetable is so versatile to cook. You can do Fu Yue (spicy tofu in a jar), Ha jeung (fermented shrimp paste),Dao Jeung (preserved soya bean) and much much more… one of my favourite veggies.

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