If you happen to find yourself in the East Coast of Malaysia, especially Kelantan, try this buah celagi or tamarind fruit. It’s sold by the piles at night markets, good quality ones fetching RM10 a kg.
Yes, this humble fruit used to be of zero-value when I was a kid, it was so sour that we had to eat it with salt, sugar and belacan (shrimp paste) - yummy!
Now thanks to the ever-resourceful Thais, it has been nurtured into something more edible.
How to eat it? Just remove the flaky skin, which drops off easily.
All skin gone, you then have this ugly-looking dude with tough fibres around it.
Remove the fibres and you are left with this stuff, which looks like a (healthy) cat’s poop.
Just pop the thing into your mouth, chew and savour the sweet and sour taste, which can be heavenly. Don’t forget to spit the seeds out. We don’t want them tamarind trees growing in your tummy. Hehehe …
Talking about tamarind trees, I actually saw some when I was in Phnom Penh last April. It’s on the left in this pic - see the brownish tamarind bunches.
Yes, there is a mature tamarind tree right in front of the Skull Memorial Stupa at the Choeung Ek Killing Field (see story HERE). This tree must have witnessed some pretty horrendous stuff during the Khmer Rouge era.
A NOTE OF CAUTION: For some people, the tamarind can be a potent laxative!
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