I wrote about some rattan or yantok vines that I spotted roadside in Coron, Palawan a few months ago and some of the commenters on that post mentioned that rattan also has a fruitâ€¦ I didnâ€™t know that, and since then, have been on the lookout for rattan fruit. I found some in the markets this morning and since they seemed very reasonably priced, I decided to buy some so that I could try them for the first time. Actually, I have seen these many times before, but I never realized that they were rattan fruit. I thought they might be related to longgan or lychees or even snakefruit/salak, a delicious Indonesian fruit that we used to get in Bali quiet oftenâ€¦ but oddly, I never bothered to taste the rattan fruit before. Rattan used to be a very common vine in the archipelago when it had more virgin rainforests, and the country is home to at least 40 different species of rattan, from very thick poled ones to rather slim varieties. Not all rattan fruit is edible, however. The fruit from Calamus manillensis (a variety of rattan with a larger diameter vine) is edible and it is now actually raised in small plantations for commercial sale.
When you peel away the snakeskin like outer layer, it reveals a fruit with at least 3 sections. In this case, a slightly brownish fruit around large seeds (the sections look a bit like lansones). I popped some sections in my mouth and juicy but shockingly sour and astringent taste burst onto my palate. YUCK!!! The first taste and reaction were definitely a turn off! I think this is very much an unripe rattan fruit and I shall wait a couple of days before attempting to taste it again. I can see how this might be enjoyed with some rock salt and chilli, but for now, I can also see why it isnâ€™t that popular and easy to findâ€¦ Otherwise known as littuko in the North, this is probably an acquired taste, or at least one you needed to have early in life. A little googling suggests you can make jams or jellies from it, and that would be interesting, but the fruit still needs to grow on me a bit before I head down that route, if everâ€¦