the Philippines


Manila, Luzon




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Vegetables in a tropical country 



Vegetables and their specific qualities

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Kamoting Kahoy


Kamoting Kahoy or Cassava is a very well known plant in the tropics all over the world. The plant grows very tall.  It can reach sometimes to 15 feet. The tuber (root)  grows up to 2 ft long or even longer. There is cassava in two varieties; a sweet and a bitter variety. The difference between the two is the absence or presence of toxic levels of cyanide in the root! Therefore, it is not recommended to eat cassava uncooked! The sweet Cassava is almost free of  the acid. The cassava is eaten boiled, steamed or roasted.  It is consumed especially in the rural areas.  It is partially a substitute for rice in the diets. Both cassava varieties may be used to produce a kind of flour. It is also prepared as a sweet snack, after it is mixed  with coconut, coconut milk and sugar. The bitter cassava needs special preparation through pressure and heating to make it safe to eat.




Kangkong is a spinach. There are two common types. One type is growing on land and one type grows near waterways and ponds. You can distinguish the two types by their leaves. The land-grown type has long, narrow leaves with pointed ends. The water- grown Kangkong has  broader (blunt) leaves. 

The shoot tips and leaves are eaten fresh or lightly cooked.   Usually the vegetable is used as an ingredient in stews, sometimes as a  dish on its own. 

Kangkong has  known qualities for your health

Kangkong is recommended to strengthen the body's resistance to cancer. Nutrients in kangkong are Vitamins A and C. Moreover, it is also rich in minerals, especially iron. Because of its high iron content, the vegetable is recommended  to patients suffering from anemia.




Labong are bamboo shoots. Bamboo shoots are young, new canes. They are harvested before they are two weeks old. In length, they are at maximum one foot tall. The young shoots of bamboo  are common vegetables in  the whole region of Pacific Asia. Bamboo shoots are added to salads, soup and vegetable dish. Take care! Raw bamboo shoots are bitter tasting if not peeled and boiled for 20 minutes. They should be boiled leaving the pan uncovered, in that way the bitterness  can escape into the air.

Bamboo shoots have healthy qualities.

Vegetable fiber derived from Bamboo  has very few calories, is tasteless and is white in color. Bamboo fiber helps keeping cholesterol levels in check and should help in preventing colon cancer, they help moreover to maintain blood pressure and a steady heart beat. 



Kangkong (left): The state of Victoria, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, 2002

Images: Kamoting Kahoy: Hiroyuki&Kunchan

Images: Bamboo shoots 1, 2 & 3: Daphne Lewis , Bamboo shoots image 4:


 Building material

House of bamboo

 Questions about bamboo

 Bamboo shoots

Bamboo, click on the thumbnails for more  information!

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