Monday, September 08, 2008

Bumpy Bittermelons at U.N. Plaza Farmers Market

I can't tell if the vegetable above is unusually beautiful or if they remind me of rats. Eeek! They're actually bittermelons sold at the farmers' market at the United Nations Plaza on Sunday. And it wasn't just sold at one stand, several farmers were selling these bumpy bittermelons. Bittermelons are pretty popular in Chinese cuisine. My mom used to love stuffing them with fish cake and pan-frying them. I, however, am not my mom so I'm not a big fan of the bittermelon. But they are definitely oddly interesting looking. The farmers market near San Francisco's Civic Center is actually filled with several Asian farmers, so you can find a lot of Asian vegetables for cheap, cheap prices. But no matter how cheap, I can't cut into these bumpy melons.

5 comments:

Veronica said...

My mom used to make a filipino dish called pinakbet with it. I've never been a fan of it. I would always pick the pieces out. Bleh...

KirkK said...

Hi Ben - Those are the Indian species of Bittermelon. you'll find them in various Indian Markets. The oddest variety I've seen look like they belong on the end of a chain to be used as a weapon.

http://www.evergreenseeds.com/bimehyinba.html

wella said...

My dad makes pinakbet, the Filipino dish mentioned above, all the time. It's delicious, but I also pick out the bitter melon. In fact I've called it 'crocodile skin' since I was a kid.

I've seen this extra bumpy bitter melon at the farmers' market in my neighborhood, too. Why does it look different?

My dad told me the other day he saw it at Ranch 99, but didn't buy it. I told him even if he did, I'd still eat around it in his pinakbet.

foodhoe said...

Chef Ben, those are some odd looking melons, I like KirkK's comment about them looking like weapons!

Chef Ben said...

What is this dish Pinakbet? Sounds interesting! Kirkk, thanks for letting us know that it's an Indian version. Sure is unusual, huh?