19 September 2011

[cross-post] Upo, green papaya, and sayote alternatives in Japan

NOTE: This is a cross-post from the RONJ-BLOG where I wondered what upo is in English.

I'm talking about the vegetable, the one which we usually sauté (yung kadalasang ginigisa natin) or that we can use as substitute for green papaya or sayote in a tinola dish.

You will never believe this.

You will never, ever, ever believe this.

It is...


Seriously! Check out the Wikipedia article. But yeah, apparently it's known by many other names such as bottle gourd, opo squash or long melon.

I became really, really curious because we've been cooking tinola in Japan, and well, green papaya is obviously unavailable here, just as much as papaya is. So we've resorted to using white cucumber and more recently, winter melon. White cucumber doesn't taste at all nearly like green papaya. But winter melon - yum. Winter melon though has a squash/pumpkin-like skin that you really need to take off first.

So I searched for the translation of upo. Google Translate, the robot, says it's "sit." We can't argue with robots now, can we? Anyways, I then tried Google Search, and I get a ton of different answers: white squash, bottle gourd, gourd, fuzzy gourd, "Lagenaria siceraria," and... calabash.

Now that last one was a new word. I googled it again, and landed at Wikipedia. Calabash it is.

And, apparently, upo comes from a Chinese word that sounds like opo.

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