P for Pulasan!

Pulasan, ripe


What is this red, thick-skinned and slightly spiky tropical fruit?

Is a rambutan? Is it a lychee? Or some bizarre mini red durian?

No… it’s Pulasan!

*cricket chirps*

If you don’t know what a pulasan is, I don’t blame you. Heck, this fruit is indigenious to Malaysia and South-East Asia in general, but most locals don’t even know that it exists either, much less what it tastes like.

Anyway, if I were writing some expat-explores-Malaysia blog, I’d probably start talking about the scientific name and whats not, but hey, the link to Wikipedia is already up there. I’m not in the mood to repeat stuff I don’t need to repeat.

I’d run into pulasan a few times before, but this is the first time I’ve seen it for a long while, so I bought some. But I am starting a story in the middle… let start from the beginning.

So yeah I went for a hike up Broga Hill and after hiking me and the biking group I was with decided to whip out our folding bikes and go explore Pekan Broga on bike.

Shame it was so hot, but we did run into an interesting stall:

I love poky little stalls like these, especially when they sell local produce. So after we caught our breath from trying to bike up the evil hill slope we toddled over to spend some money.

Most of the produce is local, so we have, from top left to bottom right: Papaya, Wild Durian, Sweet Potato and our topic of today, Pulasan, which was promptly mistaken for rambutans by most of my group.

Anyway, I decided to buy some home, along with those wild durians, but fortunately (or unfortunately) I was spared having to figure out how to carry durians and one kilo of pulasan on my non-carrier fitted bike down the hill and all along the route back to where we had left our cars. The calvary showed up, and the appearance of our backup vehicle meant my purchases could hitch a ride.

Cycling with a durian dangling from each handlebar would have made for a great picture though.

Back home, I opened up the pulasan for a try. The technique is identical to the rambutan opening technique: make a little break in the thick skin with a thumb or forefinger, (the pulasan skin is thicker than the rambutan’s), then twist the skin with your wrists turning in opposite directions. The weakness you introduced in the break should let the skin break off like so:

As you can see this thing does look heck a lot like rambutan, down the inside fruit. I prefer it to rambutan though, the flesh is sweeter, thicker and doesn’t have the annoying peeling skin thing. Also, the lack of hair is definitely a plus. Not as messy.

For bonus points, the seed of the pulasan is edible!

It tastes quite nice, kind of like a green, raw almond nut. I wonder if I can collect enough pulasan seeds next time? I could roast them and try and make pulasan butter or something…

Incidentally,I just noticed the local naming scheme for tropical fruits. Duri-an (Malay: duri = thorn), Rambutan (Malay: rambut = hair) and Pulasan (Malay: pulas = twist). So logical.

I wish we kept our naming scheme more consistent across more fruits. Imagine the possibilities…


Running Around London pt. 2: Fuller’s beer

While my cousins visited London and do all that touristy stuff, one of the cousins (i.e. Sharon) was keen to try as many beers as possible. Already she had been around the UK tasting different types of beer, so while in London, we headed to a nearby Fuller’s pub to sample some brew.

 Here’s some of the beer we tried at The Pilot Inn near where we were staying. The pub was friendly enough, but nothing unique about the place apart from the flowery exterior. So we tried the beers as shown in the insert, from left: London Pride, Aspall’s apple cider, Fuller’s Chiswick Bitter, Organic Honey Dew. The Honey Dew was my favourite, as it really have the floral scent of honey and some fruity flavours that really reminded me of honey dew melon. It was sweet, but not overly so and a hint of refreshing lemon to it. I hate apple ciders, so I thought the worst was that. The two other beers to me was as ales should be: bitter, hoppy, and generally a sort of roundness of flavour to it. Sharon thought London Pride was the best, as it was more malty and less hoppy than the bitter.

OK, time for some non-food pictures:

 View from the apartment my cousins were renting. Yes, it is North Greenwich in the East End of London. The Thames was looking so lovely in the setting sun.

Apart from the usual London attractions such as the Eye, Big Ben, Westminister Abbey, I also went back to Greenwich. I love Greenwich. It’s like a lovely little town on its own. There are not as many tourists as in the central London too, so I feel more relaxed. You can visit museums such as the Maritime Museum and the Observatory, as well as the beautiful Royal Naval College. Here’s a picture of The Painted Hall in the College. Does it look familiar? This was used as a location for Pirates of the Carribean 4. Mr. Depp/ Cpt. Sparrow even left his outfit behind in there to prove it. Right, that’s all, anymore and I may sound like a Visit Britain Information Guide.