September 16, 2009

Exotic Wild Passion Fruit Stir Fry

Three blooms of the exotic miniature wild passion flowers in Luak Bay.

A single bloom with a little fruit already forming at the back.

A well formed fruit so well protected by its "natural netting".

More "protected" fruits.

Here the fruits are removed from the vines and the protective nets and ready for washing and cooking. Always check if there are ants in the fruits.

This is the stir fry...garnished with my favourite bunga kentang. Ingredients are usual garlic and ikan bilis with as much belacan as you wish.

The wild miniature passion fruit that grows all over Sarawak is a jungle vegetable particularly liked by the Ibans and Kedayans in the Limbang region. The Ibans call this fruit "buah le top" and the Foochows call it "pop pop chi" or seeds which pop. When we were kids we used to eat the very ripe yellowish and orange coloured fruits. Although the longhouse community often have this dish as part of their farm house fare many Sarawakian town folks also occasionally cook the vegetables whenever they can pluck some in and around their temuda or little farm land. Sometimes when we picnic by a river we might even collect enough for a good meal!

This morning as I walked with my friends along the coastal road I managed to harvest quite a bit of the wild passion fruits. Enough to have a plate of it for dinner tonight. My friends were delighted to learn from about the passion fruit and the legend surrounding it.

A little legend surrounds the flower of this passion fruit - whether it is the real passion fruit or the wild one the flowers are exactly the same as you can see from my photos.

The Roman Catholic priests found the flowers in Latin America and named them Passiflora because they thought the parts of the flower represented Christ's "passion".

The ten large petals represent Christ's ten most faithful apostles. The fringe above the petals represent the crown of thorns placed on Christ's head. The five anthers are for the five wounds in Christ's body and the three stigmas are for the nails that were placed in his hands and feet when nailed to the cross.

When we look at this flower, we not only see a very beautiful and interesting flower, but we also are reminded of the suffering that Christ endured to save us all.

Sources : (a) Linda Manthay 2000.
(b) wikipedia.

I am dedicating this post to all Sarawakians who enjoy this dish and this fruit (whether it is the wild miniature fruit or the bigger commercialised one.)


Js said...

Hi sarawakiana, i enjoy reading your blog very much. I have a small dream to produce an animation project on Borneo but i need a storyline. I'm seeking the assitance of someone who has a good knowledge of old sarawak, its ecology, its people and its culture. Someone who is friendly, open minded and a good storyteller. I wonder if you can help or advice. Pls email me sakatsu at hotmail

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Nice of you to write. Sure I will email you.

Ann said...


If I comment your every post, it looks like I am stalking you.
POK POK JI or POK POK GOU. my grand dad used to live in upper lanang road, we used to eat the yellow POK POK GOU. (Cantonese)
I didn't know you could cook them.
Another flower we ate was the black fruit of the Singapore rhododenrum. Then our teeth get black, and give our game away. Mum would scream at us and say we get poisoned.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ann
I never thought about stalking...I would think that we have something to chat about...
I have some photos of Singapore rhododenrum...but I still haven't found a "victim" to blacken his /her teeth and then take a photo....yes we used to terrify our aunts and elders that way...I think this kind of photo would make a lot of people smile. Must do it soon.....
My Malay friends said that rhododenrum is good for diarrhea and kampong folks do eat them.
Pop pop gou is nice (also do you know that passion fruit has properties which can help with insomnia?)

Anonymous said...

this is the first time I think anyone post on is a food we are so familiar with in the longhouse!
I like the legend very much. Thank you.
P/s I don't have a blog yet but I will now use anonymous/Tony. terima kasih.

Bengbeng said...

i had some in my garden i probably still have remnants trying to survive. i thought it was a weed.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Bengbeng
It is a weed but many people consider a jungle vegetable.
Do you like its bigger version - passion fruit? Passion fruit juice is a delicacy. And it is truly a great juice served in the higher end hotels etc. Passion fruit in cakes also taste wonderful.
But this so called weed can be used to feed the hungry. So I hope pollution would not kill this delectable free jungle food!
Thanks for your interest.

Ah Ngao said...

waa,..i lives in the town most of my life - now i realised so many edible fruits just a stone throw away.i think there's a smaller version like this but its actually a flower,with no fruit inside.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ah Ngao
You have to wait for the flower to turn into the seed...

When the seed grows older it is very orange in colour...and it is very nice tasting...sourish but nice...

Yesterday some one told me that the fresh young leaves can make a nice stir fry too...

thanks for visiting!

David said...

Hello - I visited a friends longhouse in the upper Baram in November a brought back some seeds and am raising some plants in my greenhouse in Seattle. Do you know the scientific name of this passionfruit?



向日葵啊伯 said...

I visited your blog a while ago and read "Sungei Bidut". Of course I was searching for "Sungei Bidut" online and got there. I thought you stopped writing long time ago. My my my...I really enjoy reading this one. Pok Pok Ji...say our daily desert when we were young in Sungei Bidut. Of course that fruit blacken your teeth. We call it "Xue-liu-yang" in Foochow. The branches of this fruit make good "la-stick cha-cha" and handy "jia-fa" for mother to give us a "Ma-hong-gan cha nick".

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