“ Phak Lieng” is known as the “Queen of Southern Vegetables”, and is one of the main sources of livelihood vis-à-vis agricultural product amongst locals. Mostly, Phak Lieng is grown in the south of Thailand, including Ranong and Pang-nga provinces
Phak Lieng is a member of the Gnetaceae family and has the scientific name of Gnetum gnemon Linn.ver.ltenerum Markgr. It is a perennial plant, which has shrub features, growing to between one and two meters in height. It can grow well in the shade, especially fertile on rubber plantations. The shape of the leaf is elliptical. New leaves are reddish purple in color whilst adult leaves are green in color
Within five or six years, the plant will sprout bunches of cones, which have the appearance of flowers . These are reproduced on the outside part of the bark . The fruit, which looks like a small egg, must be eaten while it is still young .
The plant can be grown easily . Insects do not eat this type of vegetable due to its natural repellant feature . Indigenous folks pick the young leaves for cooking or sell them for additional family income .
Phak Lieng has been a popular dish for families and is regularly served in restaurants . It is popular because of its high vitamin contents, containing especially high doses of Vitamin A and Beta Carotene .
Phak Lieng can be cooked in various ways . There are many recipes and commercial products that use this leaf, e . g . soup, stir fry with eggs and vermicelli, or cracker snacks .
Aside from cooking, Phak Lieng can be used for other purposes . For example, fine papers can be produced out of its adult leaves . Extracts are also produced for the purpose of keeping worms away from dried fish .
Health benefits aside, Phak Lieng gives local people a sense of pride and has been used as a tool for comparative philosophical thought . Important instances and events in life are compared to the leaf’s physical and developmental properties