Look! There’s A Curled Up Baby Pangolin On The Fruits!

Look! There’s a curled up baby pangolin on the fruits!

During our recent stay in Bali, our villa host Pak Ari presented us with a beautiful fruit “basket” (actually it was a huge stone cup) and one of the fruits which I (still) am not gung-ho enough to try is the Asian tropical fruit, Salak or Snakefruit!

Asian Tropical fruit – Salak a.k.a. Snakefruit.


“Fig-shaped and covered in a thin, crinkly brown skin, the snakefruit looks (in my mind) like a baby pangolin curled up in a tiny ball. Pinch the nib on top and pull, and the skin obligingly sloughs off to reveal several lobes of creamy, off-white flesh. These lobes should be firm to the touch—like garlic cloves—and you want to be on guard against specimens that are wet, off-color, or whiffy (like these). They may look like garlic, but they taste most reminiscently of a mix of pineapples and bananas. They also have a crisp texture like carrots, but you don’t want to be too enthusiastic about chomping down on them — there’s usually a good-sized, inedible brown seed within each lobe. (Click on “Text Credit” link below to see the peeled fruit)

Sounds good so far, huh? The thing with snakefruit is that they tend to be a love-them or hate-them affair, usually because of their *high tannin content* — the tannins can make them unpleasantly astringent, giving the sensation that you’re holding a thirsty sponge in your mouth. Detractors can’t get past this “dry mouth” feel, while fans appreciate its refreshing, sweet acidity. There are two popular cultivars of snakefruit: Salak Pondoh and Salak Bali. The former has quite a distinct scent (not unlike the durian) and can be a challenge for the olfactory senses. The latter is a lot more approachable, even likeable, on first whiff.

Different Ways To Eat Snakefruit:
Mangosteen juice may have been making the rounds, working the Wholefoods circuit with its high levels of anti-oxidants. But the snakefruit has been found to have an even higher content of these desirables (how long before entrepreneurs start capitalizing on this?). Locals in Terengganu, Malaysia, pickle the fruit and pack it in syrup, while villagers in Sibetan, Indonesia, make a sweet wine from it. The fresh fruit can be eaten in a salad — sliced and drizzled with a squeeze of lime—and I’ve even heard of it being poached with peppers. Personally, I like nothing better than to eat snakefruit out of hand. The Indonesians caution that downing too many will bring on a bowel movement dry spell, but I’ve never been fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to get my hands on that many.” – Wan Yan Ling

About the author: Wan Yan Ling is an impoverished grad student and sourdough finger-crosser living in Rhode Island. She can usually be found in the kitchen procrastinating on “real work” or online tracking down obscure recipes. Ling thinks eating alone is no fun, and she still believes in hand-mixing.

Text Credit: http://www.seriouseats.com/2008/07/snapshots-from-asia-tropical-fruit-snakefruit.html

See other exotic tropical fruits here:
King of Fruits
Andy Mao Shan Wang Durian
Queen of Fruits

Other fruits:
Fruits Glorious Fruits
Jam It Up! (Strawberry Jam Recipe)

Happy traveling, eating and bonding! 🙂

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