KUCHING: Torch ginger (Etlingera elatior), better known locally as bunga kantan, is a popular ingredient in Nyonya and Malay cooking that could also have health benefits.
The flower buds harvested from the jungle can be found at markets such as the Stutong Community Market here.
According to a seller at the market, bunga kantan is believed to have many benefits including as a natural libido enhancer.
This member of the ginger family is also said to reduce inflammation, treat a loss of appetite, reduce diabetes and hypertension.
The bunga kantan seller added that the pleasant fragrance and tangy flavour of the petals greatly enhance dishes such as asam laksa and tom yam soup.
This flamboyant flower of the wild is also beautiful to behold, including the intricate pattern revealed by a sliced bud.
Torch ginger is now widely cultivated around the world and can grow up to six metres tall.