IT’S A JUN­GLE OUT THERE

Time Out Singapore - - A Cycling Route Aroud... -

As we trek deeper into the jun­gle, we find more peper­o­mia, and this time, with­out the marks that sug­gest a ca­nine in the vicin­ity. So we pluck a few shrubs to bring back to the res­tau­rant. How­ever, there are still no cu­cum­bers in sight, although we do stum­ble across a swarm of bees build­ing a hive. Per­haps peo­ple could for­age honey straight from the source, but we de­cide it’s best to leave the in­sects alone and stick to store­bought jars. One semi-deathde­fy­ing mo­ment is enough for me.

As small bushes make way for taller trees, we en­counter a ba­nana plant and the largest ba­nana flower this city girl has ever seen.

Be­side the plant lies a cas­sava shrub, whose starchy tuber­ous roots are used to make tapi­oca pow­der, as well as a bud­ding co­conut fruit that Rid­der de­cides to re-plant in his gar­den. But, like buried trea­sure, the cu­cum­bers seem the stuff of myth.

While we walk back to the church, drip­ping in sweat and de­feat, Rid­der no­tices a deep well that’s been over­grown with weeds, and im­me­di­ately sur­veys the area. Lo and be­hold, he spots it – a lone baby cu­cum­ber barely a cen­time­tre in length. ‘In Europe, a kilo of this would sell for hun­dreds; it’s ex­tremely rare there,’ he tells me. And here, too, it seems, if our for­ag­ing jour­ney is any­thing to go by. I ask if he wants to bring it back to The Sum­mer­house and he, sur­pris­ingly, flat- out re­fuses. ‘ This might be the last of the Dempsey cu­cum­bers,’ Rid­der says. ‘I’m not go­ing to mess with na­ture like that.’

The Sum­mer­house Din­ing Room is at 3 Park Ln (6262 1063, the­sum­mer­house.sg). Sengkang. Wed-Fri 6-10pm; Sat & Sun noon-3pm, 6-10pm.

Lo and be­hold, he spots a lone baby cu­cum­ber barely a cen­time­tre in length

Ba­nana plant

Sam­pling sweet leaf (no, not that herb)

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