One day about 20 years ago, I was walking on a street in Melbourne with Liana, my sister in law, and my daughter who was very young then. In front of a greengrocer, a vegetable caught my eyes. ‘Hairy Melon? That’s a unique name for a vegetable. Is it hairy?’ Liana touched it and said, ‘Oh! It is hairy.’ Then my young daughter also touched it and said, ‘Feels like Granny’s leg.’ Liana and I burst into laughter. Since then, the vegetable called Hairy Melon has become well known among my family members. It is suitable for stews and soups.


4 to 5 Servings


1 Hairy Melon *about 1kg
300g thinly sliced Pork Belly *cut into bite-size pieces
Salt & White Pepper
2 tablespoons Potato Starch *mixed with 2 tablespoons Water
Finely chopped Spring Onion

2 cups Chicken Stock *OR 2 cups Water & 2 teaspoons Asian Chicken Bouillon Powder
1 small piece Ginger *cut into fine strips OR grated
2 tablespoons Sake (Rice Wine)
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Oyster Sauce *OR extra Soy Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Sesame Oil *optional

  1. Cut off the ends of Hairy Melon, cut into 2cm thick rounds, then remove tough skin, and cut each round into quarters.
  2. *Note: If you prefer, you can peel the skin first and cut into bite-size pieces, but it might be difficult to do so as the skin is hard and thick.
  3. Place all the Soup ingredients in a large saucepan OR deep frying pan, add Hairy Melon pieces, cover with a lid, and bring to the Boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add Pork pieces, cover with the lid, and bring back to the boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes OR until Hairy Melon is soft.
  5. Add Salt and White Pepper as required. Stir the Potato Starch mixture, and gradually add it to the soup as you stir until the desired thickness is achieved. You don’t need to add all of it.
  6. Sprinkle with some finely chopped Spring Onion, and serve hot.