What is and where would one find the ingredient Ampalaya used in the recipe for Mung Bean and Shrimp Soup
I would try an Asian market
Ampalaya is Bitter Melon. It is not too difficult to grow and I know Filipino-Americans who grow it in Connecticut and Chinese-Americans who grow it in Mississippi. An Asian market in Chinatown or a Filipino market would be your best bet.
Yeah, any asian market should have it. It looks like a warty cucumber. But it's really, really yucky, if you didn't grow up on it. It's so intensely bitter. It's been more than 10 years since I tried it in the Philippines, but I couldn't gag it down. Before you make the dish, get some bitter melon, cook it up simply, and try it. If you like it, put it in the dish, if you don't maybe you could substitute something else, like zucchini.