I use to sell Round Rock Honey at the farmer’s market and met a lot of cool vendors, mostly farmers. One of them is this couple with two kids who loves farming hence the name Two Happy Children Farm. The wife is Vietnamese so they grow a lot of Asian vegetables and herbs. I was happy to find one day that they had Opo Squash.
I make a soup out of it by peeling off the skin, cutting it into cubes and then sauteing it with ground pork, shrimp, and garlic. Next, I add the chicken broth, some water, some fish sauce, a little sugar, and then pepper, all to taste.
It is comfort food because it reminds me of my sister whose nickname is Bau, the Vietnamese word for opo squash. My nickname is Bi, which is Vietnamese for winter melon. We had neighbors in Vietnam who had twin girls that were about our age and their nicknames were Bom and Nho which means apple and grape respectively. After the Communist took over in 1975, Bom and Nho’s family escaped to the United States and were very successful here. Our family was still in Vietnam and the neighbors use to joke with my dad that it was because his kids were named after common foods in Vietnam whereas their kids were named after exotic fruit found in Western countries (apples and grapes). Well, we’re here now and so it’s a good feeling to go to the farmer’s market and find our namesakes, the opo squash and the winter melon, are also easily accessible in these here parts.