Bunga Kantan is the soul of many Nyonya dishes—Assam Laksa, Nyonya fish stew and curry dishes such as perut ikan and gulai tumis. Bunga kantan is another Nyonya ingredient that I can’t find here in the United States.
Bunga kantan, or in English, ginger flower or torch ginger bud is the bud of red ginger plant. (There are a few types of ginger: yellow, blue, and red.) Pinkish in color, they look very pretty and smell great, and they are usually halved lengthwise and used in curries and stews. When cooked, bungan kantan imparts an impossibly floral fragrance and exotic aroma into the dishes. For Assam Laksa, the bud is sliced finely as part of the toppings that complements the sour fish broth and laksa noodles…
Bunga kantan is also widely used in Malay cuisine; in fact, a lot of Nyonya dishes are variations and adaptations of local Malay dishes, due to the inter-marriages between the early Chinese immigrants and the local Malays.
If you have ever seen this in the US, please let me know. I am very keen to source this ingredient.