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Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Common Name: Salak
Vernacular Name: Snake fruit, Snakeskin fruit
Botanical Name: Salacca zalacca
Specimens From: Indonesia
Specimens Weight: 90 gm [3.17 oz] (Average weight per fruit)

Salak, a native fruit from Indonesia and Malaysia but it seems to be very popular in Indonesia. Since it originated from these two "Malay-speaking" countries, the Malay name was adopted.

The fruit actually looks almost identical to the scales of a snake's skin and hence, the English name of snake fruit or snake skin fruit are commonly used instead. And it belongs to the same family as those palm dates.

Salak is considered as rare once out of South-east Asia because it is not cultivated elsewhere. The size of this fruit varies but it is about the size of a fig and with a pointed tip. It comes with brown scale-liked skin.

How to eat this fruit? No knife needed. Just break off the tip and peel the skin from the top down. The tough, thick-looking skin is deceiving as it peels off quite easily. If you put this fruit in the refrigerator and when you peel it, the skin will break off into small pieces, similar to breaking the shell of a hard-boiled egg. The skin is misleading as this fruit bruise easily and you can't tell from its external look. The moment you peel it, you may spot those darkened brownish blotches which smells badly and have to cut that part off. Those tough-looking skin won't be able to protect the inside of this fruit.

The inside of this fruit, consists of three lobes, are "off-white to creamy" color. It reminds you of an over-sized peeled garlic! There is a single, dark brown seed in every lobe and the seeds are not edible.

The taste? Depending on the various salak cultivars, some are semi-sweet, dry and crunchy but some are slightly juicy, soft and acidic. Somewhat different and unusual taste from other common fruits, so it needs some acquired taste to like it.

If you put salak in an enclosed room, you can smell the sourish aroma of this fruit. If you like it, it smells good to you but it may not appeal to everyone.

Fruit: Salak; salacca zalacca; Arecaceae.

Other fruits in the same family: Rakum Palm, Barhee Date.

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Swaruchy said...

Hi Fruity......God...Looks scary.....Indeed it looks like a snake........didn't know there is such a fruit :-)
Good job buddy :-)

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

The reptilian skin makes me squirm but I would venture to take a taste. :D

Great post!!!

Hugs, JJ

Mom Knows Everything said...

That's another new one for me. It really does look like snake skin. My favorite fruit would have to be raspberries.

KellytheCulinarian said...

Fruity, I've never seen anything like this. Very informative.

morinn said...

I've never seen this one! Looks beautiful but I'm a little scared with the patterns on the skin! I'm got a reptile phobia! :S

but I'll venture a taste! :P

Karin W. said...

A Swedish name is "snake egg" (ormägg). I stick to salak. I have a fear of snakes. Even the word "snake" (orm) gives me fright.

KML said...

I have never seen these before - it would be interesting to take a macro shot of the skin and compare it to the real snakes!

Simon said...

What a strange fruit! I have never seen this before.

Unknown said...

good day fruity!
where on earth do you live???


Anonymous said...

never heard or seen these before, but that snake skin looks freaky! wow!

Sue said...

Wow!!! That is just wild looking. Do you eat it or make a pair of shoes from the skin?

Anonymous said...

I prefer salak to durian any day. Great site you have here!

food makes me happy said...

I've never seen that before~!
How much I wish I can try all these exotic fruits here in CA!

Fruity said...

Hi Sirisha, JJ, Tammy, Kelly, Morinn, Kml, NeoA, Mel, Sue, Cindy:

Seems like most of you have never seen this fruit before as it's hardly available elsewhere.

Should have taken a macro shot, Kml.

If only the skin could make a pair of shoes, it's way to thin and tear easily, Sue

Karin: I believe you may have seen this fruit before in your country?

Kittee: I'm now in South-east Asia and that's why it's easy to find exotic fruits.

Cindy, Lorna:
Welcome aboard and feel free to comment anything. So I guessed you like salak but I prefer the other way round, Lorna :)

Cheers from Fruity

Ti said...

i love salak,my grandma have salak tree in java, and i always like to pick from the tree, delicious!

Fruity said...

Ti: Salak is so popular in Indonesia, it's like a country icon..

Anonymous said...

Hi Fruity
I eat some salaks in Bali (I think it tastes like pineapple), I brought some to Europe and planted the seeds. Do you have any information on how to grow it?
Thanks for all the information of your site.


Fruity said...

Sorry, I'm not the expert on the growing part.

Anonymous said...

Actually the how it looks it simply not that.great!!

Free Satellite TV

Vending Machines said...

wow this a great post , really like my salak

Capetribber said...

we grow this fruit on our farm in North Queensland Australia, Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm. We have had the best crop this year because it has been so wet, very similar to the central island of Bali, where they grow really well.

Vending Machines said...

Fruit is good for our health,
I also use daily in break fast.
thank for sharing .

Anonymous said...

found it in my supermarket, smells like urine to me. It's so much harder to stomach than durian

Anonymous said...

I ate this fruit before when I was in Bali. It's really nice and I like it very much.

Unknown said...

Hello all,
I just tried this fruit in Cambodia,
it tastes amazing, like a mixture of mango, melon, peach, and tomato, not too sweet, very exotic, almost like chewing gum. Very cool fruit, glad I tasted it