It was the red ants that tasted like chilies. Many apologies. I have wonderful memories about my childhood with lots of stories to share. SE1 is the best site ever with lots of good people sharing simple things in life (e.g. lemon grass). The wonderful things in life are the simpler things in life. These are the best things in life:-)
Lemon grass is mainly used in curries and tom yam soup (thai hot and sour soup), not sure if anyone heard of 'pandan' leaves. I think 'pandan' leaves are only available in chinatown. Pandan is also used in curries, desert and even as a natural dye for its green colour. I'm pretty sure pandan trees can be grown here. The leaves are bolder and greener and they certainly don't overgrown so rapidly like lemon grass. They smell exceptionally nice and if you have any pets at home, they may chew them. The tribes in the rain forest would use the leaves to wrap the chicken for BBQ. They also made this wonderfully fragrant rice in long bamboo sticks and cooked them in large open fire. So, the leaves or the bamboos were the plates while the spoons are made from coconut shell/leaves. Everything was biodegradable. For a city kid it was a privilege to have such wonderful experiences in life. Before the monsoon rain came pouring, we would make a little diversion of a nearby stream. A rattan cage will be put at the end of the diversion to catch the cat fish during the rain. The cat fish would be collected after the heavy down pour and taken back to the village to be made into curries by the tribes. Grandfather's plantation was a safe heaven. Mum was never worried that I would be mugged. People in the plantation are multiracial and racism was never heard off. Mmm, I think I have gone a little too far from the current topic. Will stop here.