Weird fruit! Making a Balinese fruit salad

We have discovered some unusual fruits since travelling in Asia.

Weird fruit
Can you identify the fruit?

Durian

The one that really got us wondering was the Durian fruit. In our hotel room in Bangkok, next to the ‘No smoking’ sign, there was also a ‘No Durian’ sign. On public transport throughout Asia, alongside the ‘No feet on the seats’ and ‘No Alcohol’ signs, you’ll also see ‘No Durian’ signs too.

Durian fruits are sold everywhere in many different guises and are very popular. You see huge roadside market-stalls selling only durian fruits, you smell them in most supermarkets. They are available as a favourite ice-cream flavour and prepared into special fruit shakes. It’s a popular fruit that Asians seem to love – so much, that they want to Durian everywhere with them, even on the bus and as a bedtime snack in their hotel rooms! But we’ve never seen it before in Europe. Have we been missing out?

Yok, our Balinese host, says Durian can make you feel drunk if you eat it in large quantities (perhaps that’s what lies behind its popularity?!). Apparently, you need to drink a lot of water when eating it.Risking a taste of Durian

Durian fruit grows on trees and are shaped a little like a pineapple but without the green leaves at the top- see the Durian at the top left of the photo above. They are spiky all over and range in size from  the size of a small pineapple, to much, much larger – as big as a watermelon.

Inside the fruit there are segments filled with seeds, which are about the size of a date. The fruit you eat is the soft flesh encasing the seeds.  Now this is where it gets weird. The inner fruit is a creamy yellow colour and when scraped off the seeds, resembles a cross between soft scrambled egg and vomit. It smells really strong, a bit like fermented onions, but tastes sweet and creamy, with an almost custardy aftertaste. I imagine its a bit like marmite – you probably either love durian or hate it.

Once cut, the durian emits a very strong odour and its difficult to store it without upsetting your neighbours. The problem is that when you are purchasing the fruit, it’s normal practice for the seller to cut open the durian for you to taste – to ensure that it’s sweet and of good quality. You then have to try and transport it home…

As its banned from most forms of public transport, its very common to see cars, vans and taxis with a durian wrapped in a carrier bag, attached to the roof rack or tied to an external door handle!

Did we like it? I’m not sure how you could serve durian in such a way to make it appealing. Although we liked the taste, personally I couldn’t get past the ‘slurping up a portion of vomit into my mouth’ thing. It was OK, but I wouldn’t buy it again. And we didn’t add it to our special fruit salad!

Salak

SalakSalak is otherwise known locally as ‘snake fruit’, due to its snake-skin like exterior. This fruit is peeled, like you would a hard-boiled egg, and has hard, crumbly, opaque-white flesh. There is a stone in the centre. It’s a little like a lychee, although crunchier, like an apple.

We cubed the salak and added it to our fruit salad. It doesn’t have a particularly strong taste and was something we all liked.

Terong Belanda, Tamarillo

When the roadside fruit hawker presented me with a bunch of these red fruits, I wasn’t sure what they were and had to ask her what you need to do to prepare them (as per the other fruit examples above – it’s not always obvious!).Tamarillo

Our guide explained that they were called Terong Belanda. He wasn’t sure there was an English equivalent name, but I think its the Tamarillo. On their exterior, these look and feel much like a red plum, although they hail from the aubergine family. They were originally grown in South America, but were brought to Indonesia by the Dutch.

The lady demonstrated to me at the roadside, the fast-food version of consuming one of these: slice the top off and squeeze or suck out the juicy seeds from inside. They have the same texture as passion fruit, although like a pomegranate, the seeds are jewel-red in colour, opposed to the yellowy black nature of passion fruit. They aren’t quite as sweet tasting – more of a tart-flavour like a raspberry or a blueberry.

For our fruit salad, we cut the terongg belanda in half and scraped out the soft, jewelled contents onto the salad.

Finally, we added the well known ingredients of strawberries and fresh pineapple.

The Suksada area of Bali is well known for growing fields of strawberries. On our recent drive through the region, we saw strawberries everywhere! Our guide said Balinese strawberries are much smaller in size than the famous English strawberry.

But how did they compare in a taste test?

Rosie, our resident strawberry expert, was Chief Taster. Her verdict?  “They taste just as delicious as the ones back home!” (And they were gobbled up just as quickly!)

 

 

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