No Upo

From Weez, a comfort recipe: tinolang manok, or chicken-ginger soup. Not having had that for a while, I thought of cooking some up with the chicken in my freezer, but the recipe lacks one ingredient which I’ve always had in my tinola since childhood: upo, or bottle gourd — which is fairly hard to find around DC. I’ve looked in Giant, Whole Foods, Eastern Market, and the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market, without success. Probably a good thing, too; even a small upo would have difficulty fitting in my tiny refrigerator.

Can anyone suggest a suitable squash or gourd alternative? Note that I don’t like chayote.

(The chicken became a pot of adobo instead.)


  1. Phisch says:

    I’ve had tinola with green papaya instead of upo. In fact, I think that’s what my lola made it with normally. But those might be even more impossible to find than upo.

  2. JMom says:

    Try using chayote squash. They are now commonly found in most grocery stores. If you can’t find this, try using spinach either frozen of fresh, it works pretty well in a pinch. I’m surprised you can’t find upo in DC. The local Harris Teeter and Kroger here in NC carry them quite regularly now.

    Don’t be afraid to experiment. Put in any vegetable you have available next time. You may be surprised to find you like it.