'Siling labuyo' pepper
Siling labuyo is a small chili pepper cultivar commonly found in the Philippines. The cultivar name is Tagalog, and literally it translates to "wild chili." Other local names for it include chileng bundok, siling palay, pasitis, pasite (Tagalog), katumbal, kitikot, siling kolikot (Bisaya), silit-diablo (Ilocano), lada, rimorimo (Bicolano), and paktin (Ifugao).
The siling labuyo plant is a perennial with small, tapering fruits, often 2-3, at a node. The fruits of most varieties are red, some are yellow, purple or black. The fruits are very pungent.
In Filipino supermarkets there are now red bird's eye chilies that are commonly labeled as siling labuyo but are actually a chili pepper variety from the species Capsicum annuum that came by way of Taiwan. These are said to pack less heat than the native siling labuyo but are popular with retailers because their color and shape are more consistent and thus beautiful and have a longer shelf life.
The siling labuyo is small but packs quite a lot of heat. At one time it was even listed as the hottest chili in the Guinness Book of World Records but other hotter varieties of chili have since been identified. It measures around 80,000-100,000 Scoville units which is at the lower end of the range for the hotter habanero chili.
Although not as central in Filipino cuisine as bird's eye chilies are in other cuisines of Southeast Asia, it is still an often-used ingredient. The fruit of siling labuyo is popularly used to flavor vinegar to be used as a spicy condiment, while its leaves are usually consumed as a vegetable, such as in the dish Tinola.
In medicinal terms, the labuyo fruit was earlier utilized as an herbal plant to ease arthritis, rheumatism, dyspepsia, flatulence, and toothache.
It can also be used as a natural insect repellent or pesticide when mixed with water.
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