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There Are At Least Three Kinds of Spinach in the Philippines

RT Cunningham | July 18, 2020 (UTC) | Food and Drink

spinachThere are at least three kinds of spinach in the Philippines that I know of. Only one of them is actually called spinach. There are three varieties of that one and I don’t know which variety is sold here.

Regardless of which one I decide to eat, I don’t like it cooked in any way. I like raw, green, leafy vegetables in salads. I don’t know why, but I don’t like the taste of cooked leafy vegetables.

Spinach

Again, I don’t know which variety is sold here. I’ve seen it sold at the SM grocery store inside the SM City Olongapo mall. As far as I know, there isn’t a Tagalog (Filipino) word for it. My relatives call it spinach, in English, because they don’t know a Tagalog word for it either. Google Translate doesn’t have any translations for it either.

This is the vegetable that made Popeye strong.

Kangkong - Water Spinach

Kangkong is called different things in other languages. This is what it’s called in Tagalog. It’s classified as a weed in the United States.

Although it can be called water spinach or river spinach in English, it doesn’t taste like spinach.

Alugbati - Vine Spinach

There are two varieties of Alugbati. I can’t tell you which one I’ve eaten except that it has purple or violet stems.

Although it can be called Malabar spinach, vine spinach or Ceylon spinach, it doesn’t taste like spinach either.

Kulitis or Kolitis

A Disqus user with the username of “Kerberos Daemon” posted a comment about this plant where I originally posted the article. While kolitas translates from Cebuano to “spinach”, the only similarity to spinach is that it’s a leafy plant. See the reference on kulitis and then read the Wikipedia page on amaranthus spinosus.

I suppose you could call just about any green leafy vegetable spinach if it doesn’t have common name.

Salads with Spinach, Kangkong or Alugbati

I haven’t had a salad with spinach in it since I’ve lived in the Philippines. I’ve had salads with iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, alugbati and kangkong in them. Not only the leafy, green vegetables, of course.

I’ve changed my daily diet so many times, I don’t remember what it was 10 years ago. I’ve added these leafy, green vegetables to my diet over time because I have circulation problems.

Spinach Alone isn’t Enough

It’s impossible for me to eat all the things I need to eat to stay healthy. My stomach simply can’t hold that much food. I eat “roughage” and high fiber foods, so I won’t suffer from constipation.

I’m taking nutritional supplements to get the vitamins and minerals I can’t get any other way. The pills are huge. If I could be more active, I could eat my way to good health. Unfortunately, I can’t be more active and it isn’t because I don’t want to be more active. Old injuries won’t allow it.

Photo Attribution: kevisorus from Pixabay
Edited and updated. Originally published at one of my other websites in April 2018.

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