02 Dec2007

Marketmanila’s recent poll about vegetables yielded an interesting list of favorites. Surprisingly, ampalaya (bitter gourd) ranked second in overall mentions/votes and I was thrilled, as I have really grown to love this vegetable in recent years. I hated it as a kid, but now I look for that bitter bite, whether in a good pinakbet, sauteed with eggs, or in an interesting uncooked salad with vinegar. And I like the tendrils (talbos) as well. So while I am away from my desk, here are some links to previous posts in the archives which may be of interest to all of you ampalaya lovers…

Ampalaya, the vegetable
Ampalaya with Egg a la Marketman
Ampalaya Salad with Fried Tilapia
Pinakbet, Tagalog style…
Tiny Ampalayas with Ground Beef and Oyster Sauce
Table Centerpiece with Ampalaya
Sinampalukang Manok with Talbos (Tendrils of) ng Ampalaya
Ginisang Mungo with Talbos ng Ampalaya
Talbos ng Ampalaya



  1. ykmd says:

    Hi MM! I haven’t had time to comment or vote lately, but I would agree… ampalaya is one of my favorite veggies as well. Ampalaya salad with ginger, onions and tomatoes together with fried fish is one of my favorite combinations! Just can’t eat too much of it or I’ll feel dizzy afterwards (I think from its hypoglycemic effect).

    Dec 2, 2007 | 2:23 am


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  3. allen says:

    The bitter truth!

    Dec 2, 2007 | 3:17 am

  4. Maria Clara says:

    It’s a love or hate affair with ampalaya. Usually at our tender age, there is so much rejection of the bitter taste that associated with it. But as we grow up and metamorphose into adulthood we develop fondness to it. Now everyone is so conscious with their antioxidant intake and nutritional food value that boosts much of its popularity. Even Mang Kepweng – the barangay quack doctor recommends its virile prowess to diabetic people that is supposed to help bring down the blood sugar level to what it is supposed to be.
    Tomato plays a major role in the life of ampalaya. I love ampalaya and its young leaves in my sautéed mongo. The ampalaya con carne they have at Presidente Chinese Restaurant in Ongpin is to die for. They know how to make it so well. The doneness of ampalaya is al dente and it is the only dish I know that does not have tomato in it but turns so awesome.

    Dec 2, 2007 | 6:18 am

  5. cathy b says:

    I forgot if I have voted but well, Im an ampalaya lover. And honestly, when I was a kid (like all typical kids), I tried to stay away from this veg as far as I can. But I guess when you grow old – just as you said – the veggie just grows into you. And I hate the “desensitized” (for lack of better word, I can’t think of any to describe an ampalaya whose bitterness was washed off) ampalaya – I just have to have the bitter bite :P

    Dec 2, 2007 | 9:45 am

  6. john paul sarabia says:

    hi mm, am back. i just get my items this sat.

    Dec 2, 2007 | 12:21 pm

  7. elaine says:

    I loved ampalaya as a YOUNG kid…and I love it now more than ever. With so many health benefits particularly in diabetes, it heightened my obsession with this vegetable and I do cook any recipe that calls for ampalaya.

    Dec 2, 2007 | 10:16 pm

  8. bagito says:

    I love, love, love ampalaya. I don’t remember voting but I’d have voted it #1. My husband used to hate it but has now developed an appreciation for it kaya lang I still have to soak it in salted water to take away the “edge”. If it were just me, I won’t bother since I like it bitter but my husband’s appreciation is too new to challenge so compromise na lang muna. :)

    Dec 3, 2007 | 12:51 am

  9. mrs m says:

    i try to cook ampalaya at least once a week if they are in abundance here in the markets of vancouver. the sotanghon soup with palaka con ampalaya is awesome.

    Dec 3, 2007 | 1:12 am

  10. sonny sj says:

    one of my favortie veggies as well. i like it best sauteed with shrimps and egg or when added to paksiw na bangus. please pass on the rice!

    Dec 3, 2007 | 10:58 am

  11. lee says:

    I never liked ampalaya as a kid but I developed an appreciation for it as I grew older. But honestly it was the small slices of pork in ginisang ampalaya that I look forward to. The ratio of pork to ampalaya in my ginisa is a little like 60/40…. Pork yeah!

    Dec 3, 2007 | 11:23 am

  12. betty q. says:

    Yup, grew up eating ampalaya as a kid so it wasn’t that hard for me to eat it whenever my mother-in-law made it when we lived with her…endeared me to her heart as they say!…even better if anyone cares to try is ACHARANG AMPALAYA…make it with lots of ginger, sliced garlic, shallots, julienned red and yellow peppers and the secret ingredient (?)..lots of julienned firm sweet mangoes!…yummy!

    Dec 3, 2007 | 1:14 pm

  13. edel says:

    my mom used to make ampalaya salad..

    ampalaya (thinly sliced)
    tomatoes (thinly sliced)
    onion (native/sliced)
    rock salt

    Dec 4, 2007 | 12:57 am

  14. Sandy says:

    Oh yes, whether it be the talbos or the fruit itself, I love ampalaya–anyway it is prepared.

    Dec 4, 2007 | 1:56 am

  15. Ebba Myra says:

    Honeslty as a kid, I cannot recall disliking it, but now as an adult, I love its bitterness taste, in fact I prefer that cooks do not try to take out its known unique bitterness by soaking in water or rubbing bountiful amount of salt. Although I do not cook it often, I always look for ampalaya in Pinakbet dish when eating out. I once planted this vegetable in our backyard here in Houston, (just one plant) and it grew real big, an older Filipina always asks for the tendrils and she adds to to her mungo (which she then shares to me), and she advice me that I cut the plant just in one area and leave the other vines intact (for that is where the vegetable will be). My first ampalaya was so huge (as big as my thigh hahaha), I shrieked when I saw it. The older lady told me to leave it be to ripened, and to get the seeds (for planting) after.

    Dec 4, 2007 | 3:04 am

  16. lee says:

    Ampaliar: Someone who lies about liking ampalaya.

    usage: You are such an ampaliar! You could have told me that you hate my ginisang ampalaya!

    Dec 4, 2007 | 6:21 pm

  17. lee says:

    Munggout: self explanatory…

    Dec 4, 2007 | 6:22 pm

  18. lee says:

    munggout: an excruciating pain in the joints resulting from a bean binge.

    Dec 5, 2007 | 7:53 am

  19. Joey says:

    I’m an avid reader of your blog and it’s my first time to comment as ampalaya is one of my favorite gulay. My late mother used to cook for us “rellenong ampalaya” which has pork and shrimp stuffing inside and it’s great. She used to prepare it for our Sunday dinners so that dad would have some ‘baon’ for his lunch the next day. Dad had to spend weekends only with us as he worked in the then-Clark Air Base and he usually left the house in the early hours of Monday. Anyway, my mom ussually used only the big- sized ampalaya, cut them in half, get rid of its seeds using spoon, and then stuffed them with sauteed ground pork (and sometimes when she had enough money) ground shrimp and egg (to hold the stuffing). Then, she sauteed garlic and onion and pour tomato sauce to cook the ampalaya. It was always a feast for me when my mother served this for dinner and I miss it now. Anyway, I just thought I’d share this with you. By the way, your blogs are always an interesting read and hope you keep it up. Thanks a lot.

    Dec 5, 2007 | 3:47 pm

  20. goodtimer says:

    We cook our ginisang monggo soupy, ginisa with pork and shrimps and served super hot off the boil. The ampalaya leaves are served raw on the side. We dip the fresh leaves in patis with chopped sili and dunk it in the hot soup. Yummy and comforting to eat during rainy days. Like you MM, I like to eat this with adobo.

    Dec 5, 2007 | 10:56 pm

  21. Ed Asentista says:

    pls email me regarding cultural practices of ampalaya farming as well as common pests and diseases, coz i’m planning to open 1 ha. ampalaya production in north cotabato area.


    May 13, 2008 | 11:13 am


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