07 Sep2008


Marketman’s Diet Candy. While I have eschewed most foods with refined sugar or sucrose or glucose for the next few weeks while I “battle the bulge(s),” I simply cannot help but give in to a sweet craving once a day or so. The high-protein, low hypoglycemic-index-type proponents would have fits if they sensed that Marketman was sneaking in sweets, but this is my happy compromise… I will still occasionally eat fruit, mostly a fresh crisp apple or pear, or if I have some in stock, these fabulous pods of ripe and utterly wonderful Thai sampalok… I know, I know, they are probably bursting with sugar, but at least it’s natural sugar. And for some reason, the Thai tamarind varieties just seem so much easier to peel and enjoy as is…


The Philippines has an incredible amount of sampaloc/k, but I wonder if we grow it commercially anywhere in the archipelago… Hmmm, wait, I have to at least google that and will continue writing this post… (Back after 15 minutes) Didn’t find any production data for the Philippines other than we export a negligible amount of sampaloc products, it is mainly a backyard tree, and that tamarind is being grown commercially in Zambalaes and in parts of Mindanao… We also seem to be developing new hybrids of the fruit, but I still prefer the Thai versions I have come across thus far. At any rate, rather than dipping into the tamarind candies that have lots of sugar and sometimes salt, one medium sized piece of ripe tamarind, straight out of it’s shell is my dose of natural sweetness for now… :) Curious about tamarind, read this voluminous paper on the subject. Also, check out these earlier posts on tamarind candy here, and here.



  1. Mangaranon says:

    MM – tamarind has a high glycemic factor as most tropical fruits do. But they are delicious. There are lots of fruits in Tamarind Road, Forbes.

    Sep 7, 2008 | 6:43 am


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  3. forevefromOz says:

    great photograph MM!
    makes my mouth water mmmm…
    here is Australia – they sell in package boxes like chocolates.

    Sep 7, 2008 | 6:47 am

  4. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    MM, I remember a thai tamarind DIET variety. Will that work instead? I think it had something to do with eating the “inner skin” before the seed. It gets you “going” the whole day.

    Sep 7, 2008 | 7:57 am

  5. Glecy says:

    Thai tamarind is by far the best. they come package in boxes but seasonal here in US.

    Sep 7, 2008 | 8:19 am

  6. gigi q says:

    Hi MM,
    Have you tried tamarind shake? Just had it at Fely J’s (Greenbelt 5) and it’s sooo good. The shake tasted like it only had tamarind and crushed ice, so refreshing!

    Sep 7, 2008 | 8:31 am

  7. Apicio says:

    First picture reminds me of butter cookies from way back when called camachile. Second one sets my mouth welling. I can see why they called it Indian dates, tamar hindi, the brown pulp looks exactly like date flesh.

    Artisan Chocolatier, it would probably work even with normal tamarind specially if you chase it with lots of water to make the cellulose expand in your stomach.

    Sep 7, 2008 | 8:41 am

  8. chichay says:

    MM, I still prefer the local tamarind because of its natural sweetness, unlike the Thai version,though it is has a thicker flesh. Our local fruits are still to be proud of, I hope our gov’t can do something to improve our local produce, just like what the Thai’s did. But tamarind is not for the diet conscious since it is loaded with calories.

    Sep 7, 2008 | 9:19 am

  9. Marketman says:

    chichay, If I found consistently reliable, sweet and easy to peel local tamarind, I would buy it regularly, too… but I have never come across local tamarind that I would have held up against the one in the photo and its cousins. We have a couple of large tamarind trees behind our home in Batangas and they are perfect when unripe (for soup), and not appealing at all ripe. Also, I find the size of the pods vary from tiny here to medium sized. As for tamarind candy, when our slightly more acidic tamarind is mixed with sugar and salt, it tastes pretty darn good… as do the thai versions, including the one with chili that I like imensely. But put to a taste test and on a single table with fresh pods, candy, etc., I would have to say the thai varieties win hands down… It’s one thing to encourage folks to buy locally because it makes sense to do so, and it is near where you live, and it supports local growers, but as for rating fruits on a comparative scale, I wouldn’t simply chose a Filipino one over a foreign one if I thought the latter was better. I do agree, however, that the government needs to support agriculture on a broad scale, and has so far failed pretty miserably at that task… Apicio, omigod, at first, I thought “what is he smoking?,” not understanding the butter cookies and camachile connection, then a lightbulb went off, and believe it or not, there are still versions of that cookie on the market today, though I don’t come across them that often… geez, now I know exactly what you are referring to! Does that belie my age??? When looking back into tamarind… I was amazed to see that some place its origins in Northern Africa which then spread to India where it became a big hit. gigi q, unfortunately, I have not tried a sampaloc shake yet, but I should, it sounds like something I would like! Artisian, but I DO eat the skin on top of the seed… and never knew it cleared the plumbing, so to speak!

    Sep 7, 2008 | 9:55 am

  10. TPS says:

    The mere sight of that sampaloc elicited a Pavlovian response for me. Alas, there’s none near my home. Will just make do with some Moniegold bits.

    Sep 7, 2008 | 10:25 am

  11. millet says:

    MM and apicio, to stretch the sampaloc/camachile connection further….how come I’ve never seen the camachile fruit elsewhere except in Iloilo, where they are sold from baskets in streetcorners in the summer? I don’t particularly enjoy it,(or just don’t know the best way to), but most Mindanaoans have never had it. I think camachile is one of the “vanishing” fruits, along with our native pink-fleshed bayabas and mabolo. Is camachile related to the sampaloc at all?

    Sep 7, 2008 | 10:53 am

  12. noes says:

    nakakamiss naman ito.

    Sep 7, 2008 | 8:39 pm

  13. michelle h. says:

    My favorite pasalubong from Thailand is the tamarind that already comes peeled and without seeds, but is not candied or sweetened. The only downside is that without the peel or the seeds to slow me down it’s way easy to eat too much!
    Trust the Thais to come up with a way to de-seed the fruit without mangling it…one thing I learned from our Thai helper was how to remove rambutan seeds with a special knife. Our daily fruit platter always looked too beautiful to eat. Just one more thing to miss about living in Bangkok….

    Sep 7, 2008 | 9:05 pm

  14. Apicio says:

    Millet, Sampalok has been here since prehistoric times while camachile was introduced by the Spaniards and originally from central America. Sampalok trees are nice climbing trees whereas camachile tree trunks are closely barbed with sharp thorns so you can only pick the fruits with a long pole tooled with a hook. While sampalok is a backyard tree, camachile is hardly ever found in tended properties but grows almost invariably wild, usually along roadsides and vacant land. They are quite common in Luzon too. There is a barrio called Camachile in Bataan.

    Sep 7, 2008 | 9:38 pm

  15. mikel says:

    love these. glad to have them available at chinatown in the 13e. i ate a whole box in one seating.. found out they’re quite a diuretic. did i spell that right?

    Sep 7, 2008 | 9:55 pm

  16. Marketman says:

    Millet, here is a link to a camachile post I did 3 years ago…

    Sep 7, 2008 | 10:01 pm

  17. Marketman says:

    Mikel/Artisan, are they a diuretic and a “pooperetic” as well? :)

    Sep 7, 2008 | 10:05 pm

  18. sister says:

    You can find tamarind sirup very easily, just combine with ice and water for a shake.

    Sep 8, 2008 | 2:04 am

  19. alilay says:

    we used to have a tree in our backyard and it is the sweetest tamarind, the pods are really small and when it is in season we hired an experienced tree climber to gather the fruits. my aunt also has this long pole with a U-shaped metal to tug on the branches and shake it so the fruit will fall for us children.

    Sep 8, 2008 | 2:32 am

  20. sonia says:

    a tip for bangkok sampaloc lovers – occassionally you will have the misfortune of getting almost dried and hard or at least not juicy bangkok sampaloc .
    re hydrate them by wrapping the sampaloc pods in a wet towel and putting the bundle in a container overnight ( or longer, if needed). never fails!

    Sep 8, 2008 | 5:31 am

  21. cumin says:

    Didn’t know that sampaloc is high calorie, but I read somewhere that along with guavas it’s one of the best sources of Vit C. Tamarind juice is very popular in East Africa. millet, I’ve seen camachile fruit sold at the Sunday Lung Center market.

    Sep 8, 2008 | 9:47 am

  22. evel says:

    i love sampaloc…whether it is our native ones or the bangkok variety…whether eaten fresh or champoy style (by putting soy sauce and sugar)…hmmm…yummmy!

    Sep 8, 2008 | 11:24 am

  23. betty q. says:

    Oh, My gooodness, MM! …How can I ever forget Silly Lolo’s comment a while back about the laxative properties of sampaloc! I almost fell off my chair!!!! Maria Clara I think wrote a comment about it as well on your Sampaloc Candy post.

    I am sure Silly Lolo has something to say about this again!!!!

    Sep 8, 2008 | 11:37 am

  24. inday hami says:

    love this photo MM!

    Sep 8, 2008 | 11:20 pm


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