Chinese Morning Glory (Ong Choi)
This plant is known in English also as 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. 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 Cantonese, kongxincai in Mandarin Chinese, rau mung 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.
Most commonly grown in East, South and Southeast Asia. It flourishes naturally in waterways and requires little, if any, care. It is used extensively in Burmese, Thai, Lao, Cambodian, Malay, Vietnamese, Filipino, and Chinese cuisine, especially in rural or kampung (village) areas. The vegetable is also extremely popular in Taiwan, where it grows well. During the Japanese occupation of Singapore in World War II, the vegetable grew remarkably easily in many areas, and became a popular wartime crop. In the Philippines, a variety of kangkong is grown in canals dug during the American occupation after the Spanish–American War, while another variety growing on land is called Chinese kangkong.
In Thailand, where it is called phak bung (Thai: ผักบุ้ง), it is eaten raw, often along with green papaya salad or nam phrik, in stir-fries and in curries such as kaeng som.