With a flavour said to be “reminiscent of a fine
peach, muscatel grapes, and something peculiar
and indescribable which no other fruit has,” it’s not
surprising that the mangosteen is held to be the
most delectable of all the tropical fruits. The evergreen
trees are largely grown in the highland
regions of Tabanan in West Bali, as well as in the
Bangli Regency further east.
Closely related to the lychee, the rambutan has a
bright red skin covered with fleshy, pliable, hairy
spines, hence the name, which is derived from the
Indonesian word ‘rambut,’ meaning ‘hair.’ Inside is
a soft and cloudy white flesh with a single seed, a
succulent texture and a sweet flavour. Rambutans
grow in bunches on trees that are commonly
found in rural villages, backyards and jungle.
A lesser known sibling of the rambutan is the
longan, which is the size of a small grape, with a
very thin brown shell that you can break open with
your fingernails. The juicy flesh is revealed by
squeezing it out of its shell using the thumb and
forefinger, and it has a sweet, delicate flavour.
This large pink Balinese grapefruit has a thick and
spongy green rind enclosing a wonderfully juicy,
sweet citrus fruit with none of the common grapefruit’s
bitterness. The pomelo is believed to be a
cure for a hangover.
Jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world,
varying widely in size and weighing between three
and thirty kilos. The outside is covered with blunt
thorn-like projections, while the interior consists of
glossy orange bulbs with a distinctive sweet and
fruity aroma and succulent taste reminiscent of
Juicy Fruit chewing gum. The Balinese use the
unripe fruit including the seeds to make a delectable
curry with a meaty texture.
Widely grown in Bali’s Karangasem Regency, amid
nests of thorny palm spines, the salak or snake
fruit is a species of a palm tree. The brown skin is
scaly like a snake and when peeled it reveals three
pale yellow lobes with a moist, crunchy and slightly
starchy consistency, similar to an apple, and a
sweet and tangy pineapple-like flavour. Bali is one
of the very few places in the world where the
native ‘Bali’ salak palm is farmed commercially.
Papayas are large oval shaped fruits, which hang
in bunches from the main trunk of each tree. The
soft dark orange-coloured flesh is deliciously
sweet and full of flavour, with musky undertones
and a soft, butter-like consistency. Papayas are
rich sources of antioxidant nutrients.
The mango is one of the most delicious seasonal
fruits grown in the tropics and one of the most
popular fruits in Bali, where you will see tall shady
mango trees lining the roads. The fruit is in season
mainly from September to December, depending
on the variety as there are many different types,
sizes, tastes and colours. Its flavour is luscious,
rich and sweet with mild tartness.
Bali’s rich soil yields rich ruby-red and, more unusually,
golden yellow watermelons with a refreshing
flavour. They are often used in fruit carving
displays due to the intricate designs that can be
created with the fruit’s thick, green rind.
A pleasant surprise lies inside the egg-shaped
passion fruit, which has a hard shell that is deeply
dimpled when ripe. Usually yellow or orange in
Bali, the fruit is feather light and filled with aromatic
edible gelatinous seeds that tend to stick
together and are sweet yet tart in flavour.
When ripe, this large spiny green fruit is very soft.
The bitter skin peels easily away and the soursop’s
creamy white pulp – with tones of fruit
candy – is soft, smooth, sour and sweet. It can be
scooped out and eaten with a spoon, or used to
make fruit drinks, smoothies, sorbets and sherbets.
The soursop is widely used in traditional
medicine in Bali.
|The King of Fruits(榴槤)
You’ll either love it or you’ll hate it but the durian’s
malodorous drain-like smell has led to it being
banned from hotels and public transport all over
Asia. The texture of these spiky melon-sized fruits
is like creamy rich custard, while the taste is sweet
with a hint of almonds, garlic and blue cheese. Try
it if you dare, you’ll see it being sold by roadside
vendors in Bali between November and March.