Some people call salak fruit ‘snake fruit’ because of its reddish brown scaly skin which reminds one of snakeskin.
However, the salak tree belong to the palm tree family and is native to Malaysia and Indonesia.
The fruit can be peeled by first pinching the pointed tip of the fruit, and then peeling the skin away to reveal pearly edible cloves which closely resemble a peeled garlic.
As for the flavour, it tastes acidic and sweet with an apple-like texture.
Here are five things you might not know about the salak fruit:
1.It has been featured on the Malaysian stamp
On Feb 27, 1999, a Malaysian stamp was issued featuring the salak fruit.
It was under the rare fruits series of stamps.
The species that was featured on the stamp was Salacca grabrecens.
2.There are many types of salak cultivar out there
Overall, there are at least 30 salak cultivars (which is short for ‘cultivated varieties’) out there.
Some of the popular cultivars are salak pondoh and salak Bali.
In Indonesia, salak Bali is the most expensive type: It is smaller than the normal salak and apparently the sweetest of its kind.
Meanwhile in Malaysia, the most famous type is salak madu (honey).
3.The health benefits of salak fruit
Many studies have been done on the nutritional values of salak fruit.
A study by Thai researchers published in 2013 for instance, showed that salak plum possessed antioxidant properties.
Other studies showed that the tropical fruit contains vital nutrients such as calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin C and beta caroteene.
It is estimated that 100gm of salak fruit can provide approximately 82 calories and contains 4 per cent fat and 1 per cent protein.
4.Place that is named after the salak tree
Pasir Salak is a riverside town located in Perak, Malaysia.
Legend has that the town was named after the sandy riverbank that was once covered by salak fruit skins.
Hence the name ‘Pasir Salak’, ‘Pasir’ as in sand in Malay.
Some history buffs would recognise the place as where British colonial official J.W.W. Birch was assassinated in 1875, and event which would later caused British intervention in local conflicts leading to the outbreak of the Perak War.
Meanwhile, in Malaysia’s neighbouring country of Indonesia in West Java, there is an eroded volcano called Mount Salak.
Contrary to popular belief that the name is derived from the salak tree, Mount Salak’s name actually comes from a Sanskrit word.
According to Sundanese tradition, the name comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Salaka’ which means ‘silver’.
Hence, Mount Salak can also be referred to as Silver Mountain.
5.Some of the salak products you should try
Salak candies, salak juice and pickled (jeruk) salak are some of the yummy delicacies made from this fruit.
Thanks to modern technology, you can order these products through online shopping if you cannot find them in your local stores.