Patola (Luffa cylindrica) one of the edible vegetables found in the Philippines which is a well known ingredient when cooking Misua, a kind of noodles sauteed mostly with Patola and Garlic, Onions, ground pork, or dried shrimps (Hibe). (Please see related article on Luffa).
Patola is known in English as Sponge Gourd, Silk Gourd, Towel Gourd, Chinese Okra , Ridged or Angled Luffa. It is a crawling plant, it grows in vines and it is supported by a trellis when planted. It is used and grown for culinary purposes and for this purpose the fruits must be harvested while they are young and tender.
Below are pictures of Patola vine supported by trellies with Patola fruits with smooth skin. We saw this Patola plantation when we roamed around University of the Philippines in Los Banos, Laguna some years back. My step-daugter was so amused.
There are two kinds of Patola is known in English as Sponge Gourd, Silk Gourd, Towel Gourd, Chinese Okra, Ridged or Angled Luffa. one has smooth skin, the other one has ridges.
In Malayalam, the language of Kerala, a southern state of India, Ridged Gourd is called Peechinga
The vine (plant) is also most commonly grown for the fibrous interior of the fruits, which when dried, can be used as a sponge (Luffa) or as a scrub to remove or scrub off dead skins.
While visiting a big Asian shop in Houston, Texas, I also encountered Patola, it is called Thai Okra and in Vietnamese its name is written as Muop Huong. Below is the picture.