While you might think that most fruits grown and harvested in South East Asia region share the same types and tastes, there are some varieties of Bali fruits that are strikingly different than the rest. In Bali, you will encounter fruits that are wide in varieties and taste just as pleasant as they look.
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Located just 8 degrees south of equator with different terrains has resulted in many special Balinese fruits that are rich in textures, colors, shapes and sizes. With the island’s volcanic highlands, plenty of fruits with unusual appearance and great taste have been produced from the fertile plains village plantations. For example, Salak Bali has long been the darling of exotic fruits that is odd-looking but tastes scrumptious and tasty. It is widely grown in the eastern Bali village.
When traveling in Bali, don’t miss out on the chance to try out these exotic tropical fruits we have on our list. Whether you have them straight out of the market or served on a plate of salads, you will be spoilt for choices. Here are 10 delicious fruits to have in Bali:
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Arguably one of the most controversial fruits ever existed, durians always remain as the strange fruit especially to foreigners. Locals have always loved this weird fruit as the flesh is sweet and so creamy, yet non-lovers will perhaps find the smell unbearable. Durians do have a rather powerful aroma causing the fruit to be banned from hotels, airplanes and other public places. Notorious for its smell, even transporting some of durians home will cause your car to smell of it for quite a while. If you are not exactly skillful in opening these spiky melon-sized fruit, we suggest you to leave it in the hands of professional. In a matter of less than 10 seconds, they will pry it open exposing the fleshy white to deep yellowish pods filled with creamy goodness. It may be hard for people who don’t understand the beauty of durians to appreciate it, but if you ever have the chance, this is definitely a must-try.
2. Mangosteen or Manggis
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Sized like an apple, once you take off the hard, deep purple and shell-like skin, the sweet white flesh will be revealed instantly. They are fairly easy to be cracked open using the pressure of your palms. Although we have to warn you, the watery content of the fruit’s sap may stain your clothes with blood-like liquid. As soon as you dig in, you will find the white inner-flesh is just as juicy as it is tasty. Soft and tender in your mouth, mangosteens also are famous for their healthy benefits. They are rich with antioxidants and are often sought after to treat skin and digestive problems. The mangosteen plantation in Bali can be found west of the island, in the highland regions of Tabanan, and also east in Bangli regency.
3. Salak or snakeskin fruits.
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Another strange looking fruit from Bali, the name is derived from snake-like appearance. Pay attention to the skin and you will see it really does resemble the tiny snake scales. Oval to round, the fruit has a pointy top that makes for easy peeling. The skin is in dark brown color, and once you peeled it off, the flesh of a salak may be white to slightly reddish. Usually a salak consists of 3 lobes with a hard black seed each. Before you devour these crunchy and juicy flesh, remember to rub off a thin layer of silky membrane. Salak Bali is sweet and moist, you will rarely find one that is sour for your liking. One type of Bali’s salak has recently been made into wine in East Bali, and they will be a common sight in many traditional markets and supermarkets.
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If “duri” in durian means thorns or spikes in, then rambut in Bahasa is literally translated as “hair”. Indeed these fruits look red and hairy from the outside. Grown in clumps on trees in Bali’s rural areas, a typical rambutan looks green and yellow when young and turns bright red when ripe. Ripping off its soft skin is quite easy to do and devouring the flesh is simply a delight, especially if you like sweet and succulent taste in your mouth. The easier to peel the skin, usually the better they will taste. In the middle of the flesh is a milky white hard seed. They are often sold on the roadside fruit vendors and have plenty of fans surrounding them, especially the black ants that naturally favour the fruit and tree’s sap. So, if you are planning to get your hands on them, be sure to watch out for those little insects.
Almost similar as wild berries, they can be found in fruit vendors in Bali. Boni is grown on shrub-like trees in form of clustering bunches of small and round berries, white, reddish and black in color. You may savor them directly once purchased, but locals like to use them as one of the ingredients in making fruit mix salad or rujak. It can taste sour to sweet, making it perfect for the rujak sauce that is a mix of chilli, sugar, shrimp paste and salt.
6. Soursop or Sirsak
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This fruit is not called “sour” for no reason. When eaten as is, the sourness is apparent. It is widely grown alongside papayas and bananas in Balinese’ backyards. Soursop has a green skin with white tender flesh inside. Very soft when ripe, you are able to peel the skin away by hands or simply slice open to find its pulpy and juicy flesh. Inside its flesh is small a hard black seed that you can dispose of. Usually soursop is used to be mixed with sugar making fresh drinks or other sweet treats for the hot summer days.
7. Java Plum or Juet (Balinese)
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Almost similar to Boni, Java plum is a seasonal fruit that is also sold on roadside fruit vendors and alternatively prepared with salad mix. It is oval shaped like a date or a grape with smooth texture and shiny appearance. The taste ranges from sweet to sour, and the juice can leave your tongue with a slight purple color once eaten. Java plum also have a strong aftertaste even if you consume just a few of it. This is why Balinese like to include Java plum in their typical mix salad ingredients.
8. Coconut or Nyuh Gading
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Not just any coconut, but the orange and yellow type of coconut that are prevalently grown for temple and ceremonial purposes. It is much smaller than the common green coconut, but taste-wise, it is equally tantalizing and refreshing. The flesh is thinner and tender, and the water is more flavoursome. Often sold in rural areas by the local fruit vendors, usually they are acquired for ceremonial use but try tasting one if you happen to chance upon them. You will be in for a delightful drink for the afternoon.
9. Ambarella or Kedondong
Locally knowsn as “kedondong”, this tropical fruit looks green and will be in lighter color once ripe. Its flesh is crunchy and typically sour, but is packed with vitamin C. As Balinese loves to include natural sourness in their dish, ambarella is also often use as basic ingredients in making mix salad sauce or rujak. The fruit can also be pickled after being peeled and sliced before. This fruit is always present among food stalls that sell mix fruit, and is believed to aid digestive system and help cure anaemia.
10. Pomelo or Jeruk Bali
This large citrus fruit is also known as “jeruk bali” and is widely sold in traditional markets and supermarkets. Generally there are 2 types based on the color of the flesh : white and pink. The outer skin is thick and spongy just like any citrus type of fruit is. Think of it as a giant orange with big sized lobes, the pulps are small , sweet and juicy. Once you pop the pulps in your mouth, they taste very pleasant but sometimes leave a bitter aftertaste, especially the pink fleshed type. The locals often refer this food as a remedy to hangover and burn its spongy skins to chase mosquitos away.