Bahay Kubo, Kahit Munti, ang Halaman Doon…

Bahay Kubo, Kahit Munti, ang Halaman Doon…

(On Some Philippine Vegetables and Their Local Names)

Vegetables are another common staple food in the Philippines, aside from rice, fish, and bread. Seldom that they are absent as major ingredients in many Filipino dishes, primarily because vegetables abound in tropical countries and, more significantly, because vegetables are more affordable than meat in an economically challenged country such as the Philippines. Examples of dominantly vegetable dishes are pinakbet, lumpiang sariwa, and chop suey.

Here is a list of some vegetables common in the Philippines and their corresponding names in English. Although legumes and other root crops are botanically not vegetables, I have included some of them because they may also be classified as such in a culinary sense.

ampalaya – bitter gourd
bawang – garlic
gabi – taro
kalabasa – squash/pumpkin
kamatis – tomato
kamote – sweet potato
kangkong – swamp cabbage
labanos – radish
litsugas – lettuce
luya – ginger
munggo – beans
mustasa – mustard
okra – lady’s finger
patatas – potato
pechay –snow cabbage
repolyo – cabbage
sibuyas – onion
sili – chilli/pepper
singkamas – turnip
sitaw – string beans
talong – eggplant
toge – bean sprout
ube – purple yam
upo – bottle gourd

The Last Leaf
Although they are common also in generally rich countries like Canada, where they are usually made into salads, vegetables may be seen more often being used as major ingredients of main courses in economically challenged countries such as the Philippines.