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Mini Gourd

Gourd / 葫芦 / Hu Lu

If you still recall, I have a thing for mini foods–vegetable, tartlets, or anything small and cutesy.

When I was home last month, I stumbled upon this curvy mini gourd in the market. Called Hu Lu, or 葫芦 in Mandarin, this fruit usually shows up in the market during Chinese New Year. As one of the essential items during the festive season, Hu Lu is usually wrapped around in a red-color paper ribbon that signifies luck and prosperity. Hu Lu is mostly used as a ceremonial offering to the god…

Gourd / 葫芦 / Hu Lu

I sliced it up but did not eat it. In fact, I am not even sure if it’s for consumption.

Have you tried it before? Is it edible?

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22 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. sc

    RM, the same question i asked when i saw it the first time a few years back! hehe. my mum insisted that it’s not edible and none of us dared to try anyways :P

  2. Claude-Olivier

    Hello, what a cool vegetable or fruit…never seen that ;-) But you could make some music instrument with this guy ;-) the woody like structure in the back is beautiful !!! Nice pictures


  3. Precious Pea

    Seems like after removing the seed and the white loofah thingy, nothing left except the skin. Maybe can be used as a bowl to serve a dish??

  4. Tummythoz

    So far have only seen those big as well as mini ones used as decor or offerings in Chinese prayers. Not met nor heard of eating it yet. I am curious too.

  5. cooknengr

    I have never seen 葫芦 on the menu but from 武俠小說, 葫芦 is dried up and used as wine bottle,the bomoh would capture the evil spirit “葫芦收妖”. Also, it’s halfed and used as a ladle.

  6. Lin

    My parents sell vegetables back in Singapore. Once my mom brought this hu-lu gourd back home, it is definitely edible although I can’t recall how my mom cooked it. If it isn’t edible, I figured my parents wouldn’t be selling those in the market :)

    • Amy

      Hey, I am actually looking for this vegetable urgently and do you so happen to know where I can get this? Do your parents still plant them? I do hope a reply from you soon because I need it urgently. Thanks!

  7. elmomonster

    It looks like maracas — the musical instrument. Sorry. I have nothing to add, but I am also curious on what this is.

  8. tigerfish

    All along I thought it’s edible. In 武侠片, they are used to contain wine right? Anyway, looks too cute to eat. Can use as serving bowl for some soup or stir-frys. Also can use as part of table settings…put some flowers/leaves for table centerpiece…hee hee!
    (Finally, uploaded the assam dish today!)

  9. Rasa Malaysia

    SC – The thing is nothing seem edible inside the hulu…LOL.

    Claude – yes, it should make a good instrument…I believe I have seen it made into a music instrument…from Borneo if I am not mistaken!

    Precious Pea – actually, a nice serving bowl, probably for my Or Nee. Muahahaha.

    Tummythoz – correct…I am sure it’s not edible because my aunt or mother never cooked them…LOL. If it’s edible, I am sure I have had it…even the cempedak seeds also I hentam. :P

    Cooknengr – LOL. 葫芦收妖, that’s toooooo funny. Now I have to read the books you read. ;P

    Kenny Mah – exactly, nature’s design…so curvy…LOL.

    Aria – yes, it’s indeed a beautiful. It was small in real size so it was very very cute! :)

    Lin – please ask your parents how they cook it…I think the only possibility is making soup…hehe. :)

    Elmo – Maracas that is…I just need two so I can play samba. LOL. Too funny.

    Tiga – I think you are right, probably it’s used by beggars in the Wu Xia books…hahahahahaha.

    Simcooks – too creative…Er Hoo, you are correct. :)

    • Amy

      Hi! I am actually looking for this vegetable urgently and wondering if you have any idea where I can get this vegetable from. I do wish to hear a reply from you soon as this is urgent. Thanks!

  10. Anonymous

    I planted it in my front yard last year. Man the plant was huge, crawled over everything. And at the end, only 1 “hulu” became fruit :) It looks lovely hanging there, but pretty much useless. Eventually cut it up and tried to eat it raw, but it was tasteless.


  11. Lrong

    Got here from Unkaleong’s blog… I planted this gourd last year and managed to harvest four of them… not very productive… the Japanese call them ‘omocha hyoutan’ or ‘toy gourd’… didn’t eat them… I had them all dried up, and will later put them up as decor…

  12. malaykid

    must be the week coz i burnt my finger while frying kuih keria.
    i love baked scallops. urs look so yummy.

  13. Libitina

    I found this entry while researching Roman cooking. See, I have this cookbook of Apicius that has a whole section on a vegetable that in Latin is called cucurbitas. That’s the genus name for squash, but squash wouldn’t have been in Italy at the time. So another site claimed that this gourd was what was being called for. Now that I have seen your pictures of it cut open, I am dubious about the substitution of zucchini for the gourd in the recipes.

    So – you were asking how to cook it. These recipes primarily call for boiling it (whole?) and then straining it (scooping it out and then separating the pulp from the seeds). And then he’d mix it with a sauce and sometimes add cornstarch to thicken.

  14. Nick

    A friend of mine who is Chinese gave me one the other day. She said they are edible you cut it in half remove the seeds and scoop out the pulp and cook it but beyond that I’m lost not sure if it is like a squash or not? She also said in China folk use them to care water in also use them as a scoop or large spoon/ladle. So yeah you can eat it but only the pulp inside not sure how to cook yet or if it might be used in a soup or something else.

    Ill try to find out more and post it.

  15. Adriane

    Yes these gourds are edible, if picked young enough. (The one pictured is too old, the seeds are hard and the flesh is withered.) The young flesh has a decided “cucumbery” smell when cut. Their flavor is pretty bland, so they take to stronger flavored sauces well. In my opinion they taste more like loofah (cee gwa) than zucchini. There are many different types of gourd. Some are better for eating than others.The one you have there is called bottle gourd. I am growing the giant form of these, also a variety called long handled dipper which I will not eat, and finally a variety known as opo or upo which is especially improved for food with an excellent flavor and it’s extremely high yielding. Here in hot sunny north Texas they are producing like crazy. There is no way we could possibly eat them all.I have a link to a good article for info on the edible bottle gourd:

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