Fruits of the Forest

Trip Start Oct 30, 2012
Trip End May 30, 2013

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Flag of Malaysia  , Pinang,
Saturday, January 5, 2013

On our bus ride to the Cameron Highlands, we had a little pit stop at a place that had several fruit stands. I couldn't resist myself and ran around and bought some of everything that looked unusual until Brian yelled at me to stop. There were still more to try, but some were quite large, like the pomolo (the largest citrus fruit – the size of a small watermelon) and the famous durian (can grow to immense sizes!). I've also seen from the road something that looks like cannon balls on a stalk...I hope I can see these up close!  But considering we had to load this onto the bus, I tried to restrain myself. 

There were about a dozen different stalls stuffed with all sorts of fruit. Everything was so neatly organized, stacked or hanging. All I could recognize were banana, mandarin, papaya, pineapple and mango – oh, and our new friend the lambutan (or rambutan). The rest were all things I'd never seen before! Not knowing anything about these fruits, we took them back to where we were staying. I'm such a strange tourist. While everyone else is carrying bags of tea from the highlands for souvenirs and gifts, I have a giant bag of fruit. I felt just like one of the local women – they always seem to be carrying around food. I don't know how many times I've gotten onto a log distance bus and a woman beside me is carrying a huge bag of something-or-other-food with no other luggage. I guess we know what's important!

After our little tasting, I did a bit of research to find out what we ate :)

Chiku: looks kind of like a kiwi with pointed ends and no hair. It was terrible!!! One bite, and the flavour was horrible and made our mouths feel like it was turning inside out. This strange knumbing dry feeling wouldn't stop even after spitting out the fruit. The descriptions online say that it's sweet and delicious :S I asked the woman at the guest house and I guess I had bought some that were not yet ripe.  Note to self: try the soft ones next time.

Guava: this looks like a cross between and apple and a green pepper. Texture is somewhere between an apple and pear. Very bland taste through, but a nice crunch. I can see why they add chilli salt for dipping.

Langsat: these are small cluster fruit. We were expecting something like a lychee or logan, but instead it contained 5-6 little segments with small flat seeds inside. Very pleasant tasting if not a bit finicky to eat.

Mangostene: we are now acquainted with this beautiful fruit (see Brian's step by step demo). Dark purple with red insides and perfectly white fruit it's just a pleasure to look at as much as eat (which is amazing). I had bought another peach coloured fruit which I couldn't find when researching, but it must be related to the mangostene as it had a similar structure, although not taste.

Sour Sop: This was the strangest looking fruit I bought. Actually, I was afraid it might be more of a vegetable. Dark green with spikes and a slightly deformed shape. It was quite soft in sections so I asked the girl if this was an ok one and she said it was. Cutting it open revealed a mix of pulpy and fiberous fruit full of seeds. It was a very strong flavour with a mix of sour and sweet. Too much for me, but Brian seemed to enjoy it!

Rambutan: We found a different version. This one had a harder skin has larger spikes rather than feathery ones. Otherwise, the fruit and taste is the same. Very enjoyable.

I would highly recommend 'fruit tasting' as a cheap form of entertainment if you're in a foreign country and have some time to spare. The market is a pleasure to wander and the tasting is unlike anything you could expect. It's an adventure of how to peel and open the fruit, deciding what part is edible, learning where the seeds are...etc. Not to mention new tastes that my taste buds had no idea how to interpret!

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