Our Thai host introduced us to a new kind of fruit recently.
In these times of air-freighting, it is unusual to encounter a fruit that one has never seen before. Rambutan, lychee, dragon fruit, mangosteen – all these exotics are easily found in Asian food stores in the UK, and many are common in supermarkets. I do not recall, however, ever having spied a sala for sale.
As far as I can tell from some online research, it comes from a variety of palm tree. We purchased it in its peeled form, but the internet has many images of it contained within a scaly reddish-brown case. There also seem to be a few different types, depending on country or locale of origin.
There appear to be a few fruits within each casing. This is where the photo is now relevant, as it shows the individual fruits, each the size of a small plum or large lychee. The moist yellowish flesh is wrapped around a large stone, making the ratio of edible to inedible a bit unrewarding.
As to the taste, hmmm, that’s a poser. There is a hint of durian-scent to the flavour, a medicinal tang, it is juicy but not very sweet. I spent some time mulling on a better description but nothing seemed quite right. As to whether I liked it…well, not really. Try it if you can though, even if it is just so you can cross it off the list.