"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

KNB: Tropical Plants - Pandan, Banana, Bamboo

I have been wanting to be able to find a place to get pandan, because McCormick pandan flavoring and the canned extract could not really compare to freshly boiled young pandan leaves. I searched the internet until I came upon a forum that led me to ebay. I got pandan from Thailand! I also got some banana plants, not knowing which ones will give me familiar flavors that come closer to those in the Philippines, but I do want to have nice big leaves. I got a hardy bamboo from a different US-based vendor hoping it will be hardy enough to survive our winter here (quite expensive!), and hopefully in about 2-3 years I will be able to harvest shoots and cook them (part of controlling growth in case it gets too invasive). And though it is not real food, I got jasmine as food for my soul. I have been brave to get these tropical plants (except for bamboo, which I am kinda doing a trial-and-error thing with) because my husband has started working on our sunroom (he just finished the decking for our newly installed pool). Last night, after receiving 3 pandan plants in great condition from as far as Thailand, I got excited to order some more tropicals (Ylang-ylang, malunggay, guava, kalamansi plant because mine is not flowering/fruiting, and have placed a bid on sampaguita). I am crossing my fingers that these will all thrive even during winter, and I will try my best to learn how to prune so the trees won't grow taller than 11 feet.

Hopefully, I will have my tropical paradise in the winter.


  1. Congrats on the pandan plants. They are expensive to get. I love the challenge of planting them here too so I asked my future mother in law to sneak some back for me from Vietnam. She got me a couples but only a two or so surviving now. I just got them for a couple days. Hope they'll grow bigger and survive the winter. Got to bring every tropicals in during the winter and keep the temperature above 50 F. Can't water them too much in the winter. Hope we both will do great on the tropicals.

  2. Hi ch3rri,
    Actually I am not so sure if they will remain alive with me. I have had calamansi/calamondin plant that I grew from seed and it has not flowered up to now after one year! I do not really know much about the soil/potting mix type or the fertilizers that I need to use. I gleaned some ideas from your site, and I hope to change my potting mix as soon as I can, and will look for the right fertilizer.
    I do hope we both do good with them.


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