This is a very interesting jungle product called Palah. According to most local Ibans it is a good antidote for people suffering from high cholesterol. Apparently this bitter shoot (cooked in boiling water with some added ikan bilis ,onions and garlic) can help reduce some cholesterol. But of course the cynics would think otherwise.
Mind you I did try a few times but it is terribly bitter. However after a few more attempts I grow to like the bitter soup. It is like eating bitter gourd when one was young but as we grow older the bitterness in the vegetable becomes a welcoming taste.
This lady prepares the inner stems or shoots for the consumers.Each morning she would go to the jungle and bring back a large bag of the shoots or stems still in their raw state and then cut them up while waiting for the buyers to come. She has to do this in the tamu because the soft stems may decolourise/oxidise too much after a few hours. The stems must be cooked on the same day if possible to keep the freshness. Her daughter helps her out by attracting buyers while she cuts the shoots into small size.
According to her it is good selling her jungle product outside under the hot sun where she can catch either people coming into the tamu or buyers going home. (But there must be other reasons why she is not selling within the Bekenu Tamu and is placed in this particular corner.)
I am worried that this jungle product may soon disappear from our natural forests which are diminishing due to rapid deforestation and constant rapid modern agricultural development. According to the lady if only people collect the food for personal consumption this vine would never be in shortage. Bulldozers and rapidly burning projects kill the vines within days.
And soon another human food (which may have medicinal value) is gone forever from the surface of the earth.