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About Bicolano's Lubi-Lubi
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by: Marketman

This vegetable, no, actually it is apparently an HERB, fascinated me from the moment I spotted a bunch of leaves in the Legazpi market. They reminded me of rigid hearts of romaine lettuce and the local name, lubi-lubi (Ficus pseudopalma) was rather memorable. So throughout the three-day stay around Legazpi I kept asking to see examples of the plant, and photographed it, and what you have here is probably the most comprehensive set of photos of lubi-lubi on the net… A very common herb that grows throughout the Philippines, the new leaves are edible, as are the fruit or seeds. Click on this link, for more comprehensive scientific descriptions of the plant as well as other common names in the Philippines and elsewhere in the globe and the nutritional value of its edible parts. The first photo above is a picture of the plant from overhead… it looks like some typical garden ornamental, if you ask me…

The mature leaves are kinda hard and thick, and I would never have guessed it would be classified as an herb (banana trees are humongous herbs, as well).

The fruit are kinda knobbly, gnarly balls, somewhat reminiscent of small coconuts, also known as lubi. So I am guessing that the name in Bicol or parts of the Visayas, lubi-lubi, is a reference to the teeny tiny coconut looking fruit.

It is the new sprouts or leaves that are tender enough to cook in a similar manner to other leafy greens, spinach, pechay, etc. They have a wonderful color and the patterns on the leaves are simply striking…

A common dish in and around Legazpi would be lubi-lubi sliced up, with bataw, malunggay and coconut milk, a vegetable stew of sorts… Geez, talk about nutritious and vitamin packed dishes!

Here cooked with dried fish and coconut milk with some siling labuyo. It tasted interesting, but after all these photos and attention, actually, I wasn’t too fond of it. Kinda tough and leafy. Maybe it’s an acquired taste and I need a few more exposures to this Bicolano staple…

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September 23, 2017

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