July 6, 2012

Nang Chong stories : Okinawa Spinach

Have you ever reflected on the wisdom of your elders? When we were young we took everything for granted. Knowledge was gained in school. Home was where we lived and worked. Our elders were older people who had never been to school. Most of them were willing to learn for their children.  But I must say we children have a lot to learn from them orally.

We can learn a lot of medical uses of our local vegetables if we pay attention to what our older generation plant and collect in the jungle.

One of such precious vegetables which my mother and aunts had grown in our gardens and formerly in Nang Chong is Lang Ging Hern or Okinawa Spinach.

This is not a common vegetable in Miri where the Foochows only arrived in the 1970's. But it is a common market vegetable in Sibu and around Sibu.

In the past the Foochows loved this vegetable as part of their daily food. When fried with hoong ngang or the thick rice vermicelli this vegetable turned the rice vermicelli to a lovely pink colour. As children we liked to only drink the soup which in those days seemed to be very savoury and  tasty.

In most households in Nang Chong there would always be a row of this pretty vegetable. Sometimes if there was a surplus  or a sudden flood which submerged the vegetable plots my mother would pick them quickly and chop them up for the pigs she was rearing. She did not know then that this vegetable was actually very healthy and organic food for her pigs (rich in iron). No wonder they grew so fat and huge. Mum used to say that they were tired of this vegetable so they would share with the animals and ducks which seemed to like it too.

I used to be on the look out for this vegetable in Miri. But it is quite hard to find.

It can be used as a salad vegetable, with cheese, tomotoes and a bit of lime juices and fish sauce.

When a new mother is lactating, she can eat a lot of this vegetable too. It will help her build up more iron. The Foochows believe that red vegetables help increase red blood cells.




..........................................................................................................................................

(There is a very good article in great detail in Chinese in a book published by the See Hua Daily News entitled "In Search of  Treasures amongst Grasses and Weeds in Sarawak" compiled from articles written by Miss Yang Yi Fang of Sibu. This book was complimentary for subscribers of the See Hua Daily Newspapers last year. )

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

This vegetable is simply known as herng chai, right?

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi..I am afraid not..herng chai is another species...it is lang ging hern...a distant cousin.

Anonymous said...

I grow them in Melbourne.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi...that's nice to hear!! Grow more and some people would like to also follow your footsteps...thanks.