In Singapore, we have a type of cucumber that we are very familiar with. However, till this day, I am still not quite sure what is the category it belongs to! I have seen some seed catalogs putting it as a type of ‘Oriental’ cucumber.
The fruits of this cucumber are usually straight and the flesh is crispy and not bitter. The rind is smooth and does not have any prominent spines.
The younger, green fruits of this cucumber variety we have here features itself most commonly as slices which form an indispensable part of a local dish, Hainanese chicken rice. Another local dish which we can see it being used is in the Malay roasted meat skewers, called satay. In the latter, this cucumber are cut into cubes rather than slices.
Older fruits of this cucumbers, which many people may not be aware, are the ‘old cucumbers’ that the Chinese here use to boil soup. The older fruits have a brown rind and are much larger and many people thought it could have been another type of cucumber.
Cucumbers are easy to grow and they grow at a quite fast pace in Singapore. However, they are susceptible to a multitude of pests and diseases, notably, downy mildew and aphids, are two most common problems that we face here. Unless action is taken, vines succumb very quickly and they die off rather rapidly. Viral diseases will also be prevalent if there is an existing sucking insect infestation too.
The younger fruits that are green skinned are used like a slicing cucumber.
The rind of older fruits of this cucumber turn into a brownish colour and are used in soups.