It was my fourth visit to this scrap wood store. My company were busy selecting good scraps while I was sitting near the rear exit. It was the only time I noticed the reddish vine with big shiny leaves.
I am familiar with the vine but I cannot remember its name clearly. I asked the warehouse keeper about it. She is also familiar with the vine but cannot remember the name for a while. She finally recalled it was alugbati after a quarter of an hour. Her memory is obviously sharper than mine.
I came out of the rear door and saw about three meters wide network of alugbati plant on trellis. It seemed inviting me to get one and bring home.
Why is alugbati there? She planted a single alugbati stalk and it grow well in just short time frame. It grows fast that regular trimming is necessary.
How to cook it? Get young stems and leaves and mix it with favorite vegetable dish. She was preparing cut stems and whole leaves while I was talking to her. It was intended for ginisang sardinas.
I asked for a stem and she gave me one gladly. I planned to plant it as soon as I got home.
The leaves can be eaten raw. It has a very faint spicy odor, mildly bitter taste clinging to mouth for about 15 minutes and an oily smooth texture similar to gumamela leaves and okra mucilage. The succulent stem has the same properties with a fibrous outer portion. I think it should be cooked before consuming.