Here’s a strange looking fruit that comes from a tree widespread in Malaysia, Cambodia and Bangladesh (and of course all over southern and southeast Asia). The fruit of the Palmyra Palm. The fruit is called ‘t’naot (ត្នោត)‘ in Khmer and ‘thall ( তাল )’ in Bengali. You can eat it as baby (paedo-cannibalism?) or shall I say immature form. It’s soft and jelly like and delicious. Has no real characteristic flavour but the texture is amazing. It reminds me of…… well the female genitals if I were to be specific 🙂 whilst slurping away on the soft flesh. Once mature it becomes far too hard to eat. It’s too hard to even bite through.
In Bangladesh the Palmyra Palm Tree is known to be a place where ghosts and evil spirits like to linger. I’ve heard so many stories there of people being possessed esp. young women and children, by the spirits that lurk around this tree. The tree combined with a large man made pond at sunset is when it’s supposed to be most dangerous. Especially if you are wearing bright red-the ghosts and spirits love red.
In Cambodia I’ve ate a delicious dish (sa’law machoo tnaot) made from the whole fruit sliced up in it’s baby form. I didn’t know you could eat the whole fruit. They don’t in Bangladesh as far as I know.
The sap that comes from the tree trunk is used to make palm sugar that is available all over the world.
The jelly part is actually the seed. Very similar to a coconut in fact. Comes from the same family.
The most interesting way I’ve ever ate this fruit is when I was a teenager and visited bangladesh. My cousins dug up this fruit from under the earth where they had buried it months before in it’s mature form. After cutting it open it was amazing. There was a delicious soft spongy growth inside the hollow part of the seed that we ate. I’ll never forget that. Weird food or what?
I’ve also drunk palm wine (t’naot choo) many a times here in Cambodia. It comes in a bucket with a plastic bag full of ice to keep it cool. And looks like dirty dish water I thought when I first saw it. The taste varies from sweet with mildly sour to very sour almost like vinegar. And it gets you very drunk my visiting Canadian friend found out thinking that it’s a weak drink because you can’t taste the alcohol. He threw up after drinking too much at one of the local places where they serve this beverage. Most tourists who come here for a few days wont have experienced this because they are local drinking places hidden away from the central part of Siem Reap.
The seed part of the Palmyra Palm Tree Fruit which is the edible part in it’s immature form
When you cut it open you still have the brown fibrous skin left from the fruit part which is cut off to reveal the delicious jellylike seed. You can see the seed is hollow and contains a tiny amount of liquid/juice.
Below is what the actual fruit looks like. It is approx. 4-5 inches in diameter.
The original prehistoric mammoth jelly bean 🙂
And below the Palmyra Palm Tree
Palmyra Palm Trees in and around the Angkor Wat in Cambodia.