Care to Identify This?! :)


Following the incredible euphoria of finding local wild strawberries and tasting bangkiling for the first time, our guests, bearers of all things organic from the Kanlaon foothills, pulled this out of their delivery crates… Yowks! “What in the world was that,” I wondered. “Yutukon” was the answer. Of course I took notes phonetically, so it could also be yotukon, utukon, yotucon, and several other names, I suppose. Our guests didn’t seem to know much about the alien (to me) food specimen, but one of them knew how to get to the edible parts. I have become far more adventurous foodwise in the past five years, but imagine a muddy, slimy, somewhat decaying large unopened bud/bloom, and THAT is what we were staring at with a bit of trepidation… Amoebiasis, e coli, or even just “muddy muck” crossed my mind for a split second before we tasted it…


You reach in and search for what I suspect is part of the “flower” and peel that open to find a sort of vertical caviar looking bunch of seeds. It was a bit mucousy but I figured what the heck, there’s always a first time…


It was a little tart/sour with hints of sweet, nutty because of the “seeds” I suppose, with hints of passion fruit and perhaps langka or jackfruit flavors. Not something I would seek out but if I were running through the jungles and had nothing to eat, and I stumbled upon a patch of these rather unattractive blooms, at least I now know they are edible… I would be thrilled if some of you know what this is called and have any further information. If you are a botanist, any ideas what the scientific name is? Thanks.

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45 Responses

  1. It looked like a charred puso ng saging when I first saw the topmost photo. Sorry I can’t help with the fruit’s identity.

  2. i’ve eaten these before when i was a kid, but for the life of me, I can’t recall the name. @sigh@

  3. it looks like puso ng saging at was dropped in the mud and stayed there for how many days :-)

  4. @Jelo

    Exactly! That was the one I was thinking of. The mutant corn things who expand to almost 6X the size of normal corn kernels.

  5. It doesn’t seem like huitlacoche…aren’t those deep purple/blue (almost black) in color? we used them in my cuisines of americas class. seems interesting though…

  6. My best shot based on photos and narrative you provided is a variety of berry enrobe in a papery husk. Oh the mighty power of camera lens! If they are indeed berries I would imagine they are a good smoke and mirrors effect on fresh fruit tarts. They would look nice siting on pastry cream side by side with their estranged cousins strawberries, blueberries and passion fruits. Though never have had the opportunity meeting them and my introduction is through your educational and informative blog.

  7. i also thought “charred banana blossom”—–strange edibles from kanlaon…you’re beginning to be like Andrew Zimmern, of Bizzare Foods…..

  8. I think it is similar to “tugis”, a bush which grows in the jungle of Silay. It has the same seeds and is edible, yes it is tarty and sweet although the tugis seed is enclosed in very small roundish and brittle skin. I have heard of yotukon but did not remember seeing or eating it.

  9. sir, i thought it was a charred ear of corn (judging from the outer leaves) and when you peeled those back, the ‘fruit’ looked like a gherkin … by the way, is that the fruit’s natural color?

    boy, you are adventurous! i don’t think i can dare try that fruit.

    thanks for sharing yet another discovery!

  10. also thought of huitlacoche (Ustilago maydis), which according to the book 1001 Foods you Must Try Before You Die, has a mushroom-like flavour hints of corn and liquorice. It is usually sauteed with garlic and onion and used to flavour traditional Mexican dishes…….

  11. whoa, thats some alien looking fruit, interesting. thought it was charred puso ng saging in the first pic as well

  12. I assisted an amateur british botanist/biologist who lives in General Luna, Siargao in identifying this last year. This is a very specific type of ginger from the zanziber species line. I will try to locate my old mails and se if I can get you the exact species name.

    A wonderful thing I discovered through this is that the Philippines has nearly 100 different species in 7 different genera of of gingers.

  13. Brandon, BINGO! I suspected it was ginger when i first saw it, as it looks similar to ginger blooms or the stuff that comes out of galanggal, etc. But it certainly didn’t taste anything like ginger… I hope you find your notes, I am thrilled to bits. Thanks!

  14. I am from Bacolod, and I’ve seen this weird looking thing already, but i didn’t know the name…:(

  15. I think it is called “pino-on or fairy fruit”.
    Fairy fruit because before the children dig the ground to get the fruit, they ask permission from the fairy and say..”knock knock can we please have some fruit”
    You can find a lot of this plant in the forrest of Surigao.
    The plant/shrub has a banana look a like leaves.
    The fruit which looks like an artichoke grows underground that is why it looks muddy and dirty.
    The slimy flesh taste sour and a tiny bit sweet.
    The seeds are black, crunchy and a bit bitter in taste.

  16. Wow! what an interesting find! Would you know if the locals use them in cooking?! And I thought I knew all the fruits in the Philippines.

  17. this is in the ginger family?!?! amazing! :) like most of you observed, I also thought it was a cross between corn and puso ng saging…thanks for sharing.

  18. mm, i remember that when i was growing up, my mom used to buy a fruit called sapote. i think that the color is dark inside out. do they still sell those and what month are they in season?
    i would like to try those again, because it would bring back some childhood memories….

  19. Gosh, does this fruit still exist we used to eat it when we were kids, it looks like an acorn, i could still remember the tartness of the fruit and it really taste good messy to eat but what the heck, i was just talking about it recently to my niece about things to eat when we go home to Bacolod next month. And bangkiling as well. ( very sour, have you tried eba too)

    Thanks MM

  20. MM, did u get this in Bacolod? I’m going home in a couple of weeks and I’ll try show this pic to the older ones to see if they can identify this. I’m going crazy not knowing the name of this fruit in Ilonggo.

  21. Yutokon! Its from the wild. I use to eat lots of them when I was growing up in Victorias — then they disappeared. Would like to try them again. The texture is slimy, sweet and tangy

  22. Hi, mktmn, enjoying your posts as I love to cook too but still learning the ropes. Congratulations! ;-) I have seen the same fruit in the net and I think this is what Brandon is referring to, here’s the link:
    Pano-on – a forest epiphyte that has pods of very sweet little fruit, like a pomegranate. Much favoured by local children.
    I am from Iloilo and have seen it hereabouts. I have definitely eaten that too but could just recall the look of the fruit but not the name or the flavor. The reason that I cannot recall is probably because the taste is not that striking but more like a novelty. Carry on.

  23. wow, this site is really cool..i love your site MM… sorry ha, pero feeling ko hindi ko sya kayang kainin talaga…hanggang tingin na lg siguro…. :) na-alala nyo yung Passion fruit? we used to eat those nung bata, pero ngayon parang wala na yata akong nakita na ganun….cguro etong “yutokon” and “passion fruit” sumikat nung early 80’s….:)

  24. mabuti pa cguro, lets try eating this fruit together….:) cguro it tastes like KIWI…..:)

  25. I have seen and tasted myself this fruit you called “yotucon” The tree is like ginger with an abaca leaf and height at approximate 3meters and stands like in single file,,fruits can be found together with its roots and sometimes in bunch of 6 pieces or less. they simply called it in ilocano “BANAY” and mostly found on the grassy land or near ponds. not many people knows about this fruit and only those who has curiousity taste may eat it..its a not so pleasant fruit to eat anyway as its seeds taste like a tangy-bitter sour, only that ozzing grease-like coat is sweet and pleasant to eat…By the way! This is really a wild fruit indeed! most of people lived near it dont even know its existence! kids makes the discoveries…I though im the only one who knows it, now i proved that im wrong….

  26. my helper had long been telling me about this fruit that is common where she comes from, which is the mountains of davao del sur. she belongs to the “ka-ulo” tribe, and she says they call this “panon”. i could never imagine the fruit based on her decriptions alone.

    when i saw this post, i thought this could be it, and when i showed her the photos and asked if she recognized them, she said, “that’s it, that’s the one i’ve been telling you about!” she promises to bring me back some when she goes home next month.

  27. MM – I just love your blog! Unlike run-of-the-mill ‘recipe’ blogs, there’s a lot of info and ‘personality’ in this blog. I too immediately through of puso ng saging with your photo and although I can’t contribute to what it is… I’m having a blast seeing the other comments/discussion on this :)

  28. i had this fruit when my mother’s boarder from infanta brought some home to give us a taste of it. its covered by several layers of husk and to get to the edible part, you peel a thin film before eating the tart seeds. forgot the name but have been looking for it. some tastes you just dont forget and trigger happy memories. we had fun eating those though they were messy!

  29. this is just great! “yutukon” yes.Hec, that is exactly the same pics you have. the fruit taste tangy but on the sweeter side and the soft part that protects the seeds reminds you of strawberry or mangosteen. Yes, and the smell, borders that of basil & lemongrass, you just got to love this fruit. i used to eat this when i was small, grew up in victorias too “Alemrac”.

  30. The fruits in the picture comes from the ginger genus Hornstedtia but without flowers I cannot identify the species.

    Hornstedtia is well known to have edible and delicious fruits: Borneo harbours more than 10 species many of which are known to have edible fruits or other interesting uses.

    I have also tried eating fruits of H. scottiana in New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Australia where they are one of the preferred bush fruits of the indigenous peoples.
    There are some high resolution images of H. scottiana at
    Sorry, the pages are in Danish. Note that this species does not occur in Philippines which harbours at least 5 other species Hornstedtia.

  31. My wife told me it is pino-on, We talk about this so we did a little search in google for an image and we have seen this… And also Fairy Fruit is an english name for this also since the kids will ask permission to the fairies before the get the fruit. ^_^

  32. hi, i know this fruit. this is called pano-on here in siargao island. it is abundant in the mountains. when i was a kid i loved to eat a lot of these but now, i seldom see this being sold in our town. do you have information as how to culture this? or any botanical information?

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