10 Sep2015


A few weeks after we returned from our South African Safari mid-2014, I was speaking with Gejo Jimenez of Malipayon Farms when he dropped by to make a delivery of greens, and I mentioned that I had noticed so many pea shoots used as a garnish on snazzy dishes in Cape Town. I asked why we didn’t have it as it must be pretty easy to grow, and he promised to look into it. Tom Yao are another stage of pea sprouts as well, but much “younger” and they are on offer in several groceries, so a few days older version couldn’t be so complicated…


…so fast forward a few months and Gejo dropped by the house again, this time bearing some of his first few pea tendrils, lovingly grown from very expensive peas. They were fantastic, redolent with the flavor of peas, just a bit stronger than those grown in cooler climates. I was amazed and just tickled pink to have them just fresh off the farm. I immediately asked him if I could write about them, but he asked that I defer until he had a steady crop, so he might have a headstart on competitors and be the first to offer it to his restaurant clients. I agreed, then promptly forgot to ever do the post.

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But if you had sharp eyes, you might have caught the pea tenrils on this appetizer plate I put out last Christmas, with bone marrow, tripe and oxtail marmalade. A guest or two commented on the pea tendril salad, and I just smiled and said I had a “special source”… so competitive, these dinners. I am KIDDING. I had made Gejo promise to supply me with pea tendrils for the holiday dinners, in exchange for raising the idea with him. But I paid for this order.

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The next day, for a chef’s nibble (SANDWICH) I put lots of leftover crabmeat with mayo onto a section of french bread and topped it generously with the pea tendrils. It was delicious. But what was really amazing is that an idea just months before, taken up and run with by Gejo, had yielded a bit more choice in the local produce scene. I have since spotted the tendrils in various restaurants in Manila and send Mrs. MM knowing looks about the likely source… Thanks Gejo for growing this stuff, and if I find anything else that is of interest, I will let you know!

This kind of collaboration is something that makes maintaining this blog so incredibly rewarding. And it is not necessarily “commercial free”. Gejo sells this stuff now, but I was pleased to help bring the idea to market in my little way, without any gain intended. And it’s my pleasure to inadvertently make the blog a venue for restaurateurs to discover the produce so he can grow more and sell more. You cannot imagine how many purchasers for restaurants, hotels, airlines, etc. contact me per month with the most (often) ridiculous requests, I now ignore most of the idiotic ones, but help others when I can. Several chefs have also mentioned they find new stuff on the “pages” of this blog, so I am happy to be medium…

The more I see what different folks “in the know” put on their blogs, or more recently, instagram accounts, which I discovered late, the more I realize so many recommendations or “mentions” are tainted with a commercial aspect that is possibly unsavory. No one mentions if they were paid to mention an item, or if it was given or eaten for free, etc. As a good discerning friend said to us lately about a peer, “have you seen xxxxx’s blog/instagram account, has he/she sold out or what? It’s so blatantly filled with xxxxx…” Once you sell out, it’s almost impossible to back pedal. Impossible. :(



  1. Betchay says:

    All the reasons I love your blog!

    Sep 10, 2015 | 8:46 pm


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  3. Nina says:

    It is my favorite chinese vegetable dish (just simply sauteed) and the most expensive in the oriental store here in the East Coast. For whatever reason, the one that we had in Beijing (again, simply sauteed), as a side dish for Peking duck, was so much better and tastier than what I can get here.

    Sep 10, 2015 | 10:51 pm

  4. EJ says:

    Thoroughly agree with Betchay. Great work, MM!

    Sep 11, 2015 | 1:16 am

  5. La Emperor says:

    MM, believe it or not we use it to “load” our oat meal breakfast. Sometimes we also use arugula or kale…cheers. :)

    Sep 11, 2015 | 2:13 am

  6. ami says:

    I was too busy salivating over the bone marrow to notice the pea tendrils in the pic!
    That is the reason why traveling is so rewarding. It really opens up your mind (and palate) to new things.
    Ah yes, so many blogs have transformed to the internet version of infomercials.

    Sep 11, 2015 | 9:25 am

  7. siopao says:

    I heard a popular celebrity was “approached” by a PR firm. The deal was for 2 Million pesos for just 10 instagram or twitter posts about a presidential candidate. The celebrity was said to have refused when he was told who the candidate was

    Sep 11, 2015 | 1:58 pm

  8. Grace says:

    Sauteed pea sprout with lots of garlic is a popular menu at Chinatown restaurants in Los Angeles. This is my favorite vegetable dish at Mayflower Restaurant in Chinatown LA.

    Sep 12, 2015 | 3:31 am

  9. cherryoyvr says:

    What Grace said…

    Been popular here at Chinese restaurants for years… they even serve it at dimsum.

    I bet you’d like it too.

    Sep 12, 2015 | 9:45 am

  10. Footloose says:

    Have always wondered whether sweet pea planted for their flowers is edible. Lot’s of gardeners I know say they are poisonous outright but others say not really. As my reading on the subject turned out, they do contain toxins that take effect only if you make a steady diet out of them for extended periods such as during famines. It’s peculiar symptom is fundamental, it causes the muscles of the bum to waste away and I say that would be a terrible thing to waste.

    Sep 13, 2015 | 5:26 pm

  11. millet says:

    footloose, you come up with the most outrageous “facts”…but, seriously, could scientists tweak it a little bit so the effect is on the fat around the gut, and on other areas of choice? heheheh

    Sep 14, 2015 | 7:38 am

  12. Ley says:

    Footloose, I always look forward to your comment as much as I look forward to every post.:) Am I the only one who thinks Footloose is Apicio?

    Sep 14, 2015 | 11:22 am

  13. Gej says:

    I’ve tasted the white flowers of these pea plants. They taste like the peas too, perhaps a bit on the sweet side in fact. They’re quite pretty as well.

    As soon as I read your comment, Footloose (wittily and elegantly written, as usual!) , I googled sweet pea flowers and saw that the flowers were multi-colored. Is it possible that these colored flowers are the ones that can be toxic (my bum hasn’t wasted away)?

    Sep 14, 2015 | 7:56 pm

  14. Kasseopeia says:

    Pea tendrils! With nothing but garlic, a bit of chicken broth and wok hei…

    Ley: may tama ka!

    Sep 16, 2015 | 1:53 pm

  15. jdawgg says:

    I just add it to my guinisang monggo instead spinach or bok choy…

    Sep 19, 2015 | 11:40 am

  16. Miguelito Meer says:

    is it possible for me to order ubod? Here in Mississippi

    Sep 19, 2015 | 12:51 pm

  17. Fresh field says:

    hi MM. You want pea tendrils ? I can have them for you.

    Oct 3, 2015 | 11:35 am


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