The exotic, interesting fruits of Bali, and indeed the rest of Asia, are one of the best reasons for visiting. Bananas, coconuts and pineapples are well known – although you may not be prepared for the numerous varieties of bananas that are available. The mangoes and papayas or pawpaws, which are now available in the West, are better in Bali. They have their seasons. Others are not available outside the tropics because they do not travel well and may not even be known outside Bali.
Tasty, interesting fruits are:
The durian legendary is in the tropics. People either love it or hate it. It has an obnoxious smell and frightening appearance, weighs about 3 or 4 kilograms and is covered in large spikes. It is yellowish-green and has a hard shell. A creamy white pulp covers the seeds, which is what people eat.
Very good durians are for sale on the Kedewatan road from Ubud to Ponggang at the beginning of the rainy season in November.
Everyone likes this delicious sweet fruit. Queen Victoria offered to knight the first person who could get it to England in an edible condition. Nobdy succeeded. The shell is deep purple. It is a bit hard and has to be twisted or cut off to reveal four or five segments of brilliant white fruit. The season starts in December.
These are a native of South China. Payangan is the only place in Bali where they are cultivated. They taste acidic-sweet, rather like a grape. The season is late November. The bright red clusters of fruit are very attractive to fruit-eating bats, which usually get there first and finish them in one night.
These are known as pawpaws in the West. They are bigger in the tropics. The flesh is pink and rich in vitamin A. They are eaten at breakfast. There is no season.
Mangoes are particularly good in Bali. The season starts in September. They can be big. The best way to cut them is in four lengthwise cuts and then peel. Mango juice is good.
This red, hairy fruit grows in bunches in tall trees. Its name means “hairy”, which describes it well. Take off the skin and eat the white, refreshing acid-sweet flesh that covers the single seed. The season starts in December.
These big, heavy, yellow fruits are very unusual and versatile. They be fried or eaten raw. They can also be cooked when they look like chunky pieces of meat. They are therefore ideal for vegetarians. They are the largest of all tropical fruits and weigh as much as 50 kilos. The skin and protective white covering must be removed. Jackfruit juice tastes good. Jackfruit wood is yellow, easy to carve and is used for making wooden stands for musical instruments in the gamelan orchestra.
The grapefruit is a descendant of the pomelo. Pomelos are bigger than grapefruits. The flesh is coarse and needs to be cut away to reveal the pomelo segments. They are bigger, sweeter and have a more subtle taste than a grapefruit.
This fruit looks like a pear and has a reddish-brown, snake-like, scaly skin, which is easily peeled off to reveal crunchy, slightly astringent, white flesh. It grows in east Bali.
Star fruit: Blimbing
This yellowish-green five starred fruit is crisp and usually sweet.
This large fruit is green on the outside, white on the inside, with an acidic-sweet taste.