The chouchou (Reunion, Mauritius), also known as chayote or christophine under other tropics (French West Indies, Guyana), is a perennial plant of the cucurbitaceae family that grows in warm climates. Considered an invasive species but still widely eaten, this green vegetable was imported from Mexico in 1840 by Sully Brunet. The Creoles are fond of saying that "in the chouchou, everything is good: the fruit, the seed, and the brèdes (stems) ...".
You can enjoy them in the gites, restaurants and tables d'hotes of Salazie (and more generally throughout the island). In Reunion, the chouchou is consumed mainly in gratins, caris, but also delicious chouchou cakes. They also stir-fry the brèdes, the stems, with garlic and spices. In Salazie particularly, the stems are also used, once dried, to make straw hats, known in Europe under the name "Italian Straw Hat".