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Salak (Snake Fruit) 

I first saw salak fruit glistening in a merchant's bin in the central market of Ubud during a trip to Bali in 2010.

With it's scaly, snake-like skin, I wasn't sure what to make of it. It looked a bit like an armored fig, and I was intrigued. Ever the adventurous fruit connoisseur, I bought a kilo to try out.

What I found inside kind of surprised me - four bulbous, garlic-like sections of pale white flesh packed together with a few seeds in the middle.

I'm going to be honest with you here - the taste is ok, but nothing special. It's a bit like weak pineapple, with something vaguely appleish thrown in. But as I've continuously eaten them, they've really starting to grow on me.

What's The Deal With Snake Fruit?

Salak Fruit Bunch

Salak is grown almost exclusively in Indonesia and Malaysia, which is where the fruit originated. Because the trees the fruits grow on are so intolerant to cold weather, they need to be grown very close to the equator.

There are three main varieties grown commercially, none of which are anything to write home about in the taste department. 

Pondoh:  This variety is from the yogyakarta province of Indonesia. It's noted for its strong aroma.

Bali: From the island of Bali in Indonesia, it's crunchier than the other types.

Gula Pasir: Also from Bali, I had to pay double the price of the Bali vaiety, or about $3 per kilo, to get this. I have no idea why, because it certainly doesn't taste much different

Opening it Up:

Salak Cut OpenYou can slice them open with a knife, but the scaly skin, which earns it the name, "snake fruit," isn't all that tough to get through.

Just grab the skin by the stem and you can peel it back in small sections.

Go ahead, bite in. It earns a shrug, right? Outside of the taste, the flesh doesn't have a particularly appealing consistency. Kind of like a less watery version of an apple, or a slightly wetter garlic clove.

The best part about this fruit is the look. The skin makes it gorgeous, but there's no particularly good reason why you have to open one up beyond some initial curiosity.

However, that shrug I initially gave these fruit has turned into general affection. The taste really hits the spot sometimes.

Following Up

Read how salak fruit fits into a healthy raw food diet.

Learn about more interesting fruits here.


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