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Water Morning Glory Or “Kangkong”: What Is It?

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  October 21, 2022

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Kangkong or Ipomoea aquatica is a semiaquatic, tropical plant grown as a vegetable for its tender shoots and leaves.

It is found throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world, although it is not known where it originated.

This plant is known in English as water spinach, river spinach, water morning glory, water convolvulus, or by the more ambiguous names Chinese spinach, Chinese Watercress, Chinese convolvulus, swamp cabbage or kangkong in Southeast Asia.

What is water morning glory kangkong

Occasionally, it has also been mistakenly called “kale” in English, although kale is a strain of mustard belonging to the species Brassica oleracea and is completely unrelated to water spinach, which is a species of morning glory.

It is known as phak bung in Thai, ong choy in Chinese, rau muống in Vietnamese, kangkong in Tagalog, trokuon in Khmer, kolmou xak in Assamese, kalmi shak in Bengali, kangkung in Indonesian, Malay and Sinhalese and hayoyo in Ghana.

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What does Kangkong taste like?

Kangkong stems are a bit harder than the leaves and crunchy while the leaves are tender. Cooked it has a mild and sweet flavor. Some say it tastes like spinach, while others find the taste to be more similar to cabbage.

How to cook Kangkong

Kangkong is a popular vegetable in many Asian countries and it can be cooked in many different ways. One of the most popular methods is to stir-fry it with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. Another easy way to cook it is to boil it or steam it.

How long should you cook kangkong?

It only takes a few minutes to cook kangkong. If you are stir-frying it, you should only need to cook it for 2-3 minutes. If you are boiling or steaming it, you should only need to cook it for 3-5 minutes.

How do you clean kangkong leaves?

To clean kangkong leaves, you should rinse them well in clean water. You can also blanch them in boiling water for a few seconds and shock in ice-cold water before eating if you intend to use them in a cold salad.

What part of the kangkong do we eat?

The leaves and stems of kangkong are both edible. The leaves are tender while the stems are a bit harder and crunchy. You can cook them both in the same way.

How do you know if kangkong is fresh?

Recently harvested kangkong is best. You can recognize fresh kangkong by its fresh and pert leaves. Avoid any that are wilted. You can also tell by the stems where they are cut. They should look crisp and not dried out.

What’s the difference between Kangkong and spinach?

Kangkong and spinach are both leafy green vegetables. They are both low in calories and a good source of vitamins and minerals.

The main difference between them is in the shape of their leaves. Spinach has rounder-shaped leaves while kangkong has leaves that look like arrows. Another difference is that kangkong is a popular vegetable in many Asian countries while spinach is more popular in Western countries.

What’s the difference between Kangkong and morning glory?

Kankong and morning glory are the same vegetable. But to be more precise, kankong is the Filipino name for water morning glory, an edible type of the morning glory family of plants.

Kangkong is often stir-fried with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. Other popular seasonings and sauces include oyster sauce, fish sauce, chili sauce, and sweet and sour sauce.

How to store kangkong

You can store kangkong in the fridge for 1-2 days. If you want to store it for longer, you can blanch it in boiling water for a few seconds and then shock in ice-cold water. Put it in a airtight container and it will last in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Can you freeze kangkong?

Yes, you can freeze kangkong. First, blanch it in boiling water for a few seconds and then shock in ice-cold water. Put it in a airtight container and it will last in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Is Kangkong healthy?

Yes, kangkong is healthy. It is low in calories and a good source of vitamins and minerals. It also contains antioxidants that can help protect against diseases.

Conclusion

Kangkong is a delicious and healthy leafy green vegetable that can be cooked in many different ways. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals and low in calories.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.