15 Nov2006


Sampalok candy is an all-time personal favorite. I have written about this before sampal2and I would eat it in almost any of the forms it is made – little round balls with salt and sugar, free-form shapes around the seeds, seedless, with the webbing (not shell) still surrounding the entire ripe fruit, with chilies and without, etc. So when some friends sent over this pack of preserved sampalok from a recent trip of theirs to Thailand, I was thrilled. By the way, this is a nice side effect of writing about food for Marketmanila, friends now increasingly send over interesting or delicious things to eat…talk about making a diet impossible… I saved this package of sampaloc (is it c or k?) for a few days and took it out to the beach…

Then when that pang for something sweet/sour/salty hits between meals and you sampal3just want to have something in your mouth, you rip open the pack of sampalok and have a first hit. Yum. This pack was particularly good. Really, really good. Not overly sweet and lots of sampalok flavor. I placed half the pack in a little marble mortar and left it out for guests on a table…by the end of the day, most of the sampalok candy was gone…as people passed by the table with the sampaloc, they took one or two pieces then returned for more… If I had left the sampalok in the plastic bag in the kitchen, I am sure less of it would have been consumed that day…



  1. Mon C says:

    The Thai version with the skins on is also a yummy variant, with a natural sweet-sour taste. Sampalok candy has been an adult treat for me. We weren’t allowed to eat them growing up, especially after my sister got typhoid fever eating poorly prepared ones in school.

    Nov 15, 2006 | 5:08 pm


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  3. chloe says:

    Now I’m desperately DESPERATELY craving for thai sampaloc!!!! Almost equally good is the spicy thai mango preserves. A lot like the sampaloc, only using mango strips (duh!)

    Nov 15, 2006 | 5:28 pm

  4. Lei says:

    NOW you are talking about my favorite sampalocs from Thailand. Simply addicting!

    Btw, can you recommend some of your fave sampaloc sellers/brand here?

    Nov 15, 2006 | 5:44 pm

  5. miriam says:

    That’s one of my favorites too! Question is, why can’t we develop and be known for the same product here in the Philippines?

    Nov 15, 2006 | 6:30 pm

  6. fabian says:

    speaking of Thai stuff,

    If youu want addictive, try: durian chips.

    It doesn’t stink, dont worry. very dry, very crisp. It’ll be a tiny step towards “curing” your aversion to durian. :)

    Nov 15, 2006 | 7:08 pm

  7. SimplePleasure says:

    i really really LOVE Thai Sampaloc! Any good quality sampaloc would do but my ultimate favorite is the thai kind!

    Nov 15, 2006 | 9:52 pm

  8. Den says:

    Hi Market Man,

    I’ve been a lurker of your site for about a few months now but I finally decided to comment because I also love sampalok and was actually born and raised in Sampaloc, Manila. Anyway, the sampaloc spelling, I believe, is Hispanic Tagalog. This is Tagalog that the Spaniards used when they tried to learn the Manila lingua franca but apparently was “Hispanized” with their alpahabet. So they would write ako as aco, ko as co, kayo as cayo, etc.

    I really enjoy your site. Keep up the good work and the keep the “appetizing” posts coming Ãœ

    Nov 16, 2006 | 12:39 am

  9. Maria Clara says:

    Candied sampalok whether sweet or salty/tart is a good taste bud cleanser and enhancer. Once you put them out on a candy dish everyone keeps coming back for more, one bite is not enough. They also promote peristalsis movement. Once you have them it is guaranteed you will be heading to John for evacuation.

    Nov 16, 2006 | 3:15 am

  10. sylvia says:

    Sampaloc is one of those treats that takes me back to my childhood, just like Jojo candy. Some are overly sweet but my favorite is one with just enough sweet/salty/sour flavor. It doesn’t matter to me whether it is Philippine or Thai, basta sampaloc kakainin ko. When I was pregnant with my first child and craving sour foods, my friend from Manila happened to visit and, what do you know, her pasalubong was sampaloc!! She didn’t even have any idea that I was making lihi sour stuff. My hubby naman took one look at the sampaloc and said “ewwww” and didn’t even try it. His loss is my gain.

    Nov 16, 2006 | 4:58 am

  11. Pecorino says:

    MM, try getting the Thai sampalok candy that’s sweet, sour, salty, and SPICY at the same time. I’m familiar with that brand of sampalok in your picture. That same store has the spicy variant. I’m based in Bangkok by the way and Thai sampalok is my staple pasalubong to friends and relatives.

    Nov 16, 2006 | 10:49 am

  12. cupcakediva says:

    I love Thai Sampaloc! A tenant/friend in the mall where I used to work would always bring me some whenever she would go to Bangkok. My supply stopped coming when she died. Now whenever I’d eat Thai sampaloc, it makes me sad as it reminds me of her. =(

    Nov 16, 2006 | 10:52 am

  13. anonymous paul says:

    almost all the sampaloc preserves from thailand i’ve tried here were in such hard, almost petrified states. its as if you weren’t eating sampaloc but spicy sweetened wood. why is that? if you get the chance to go to bkk i’d suggest you try another variant of sampaloc called “snow tamarind”. fresh sampaloc peeled then dusted with podered sugar. sold at the fantastic food market on the top floor of the Emporium.

    Nov 16, 2006 | 11:15 am

  14. MRJP says:

    Thai sampaloc is a little too sweet for me. I like my tamarind a little tart and sprinkled with sugar and salt.

    Nov 16, 2006 | 12:15 pm

  15. teth says:

    ‘missed the other regular folks here. Asan n sila?busy cguro….

    Nov 16, 2006 | 12:57 pm

  16. trishlovesbread says:

    Yum! Will go hunting for that brand here in the States. If a generous soul out there has a recipe for Thai samplalok candy, please share. :-) I also happen to love another version of Thai sampalok candy that comes in a tiny hard-plastic box. Each candy peice is really small–they look like dark-brown “Nerds.”

    Nov 16, 2006 | 2:02 pm

  17. Doddie from Korea says:

    I’m here! Just lurking since I had to eat lunch at 5:00 pm. Don’t ask long story. But I had grilled pork chops (leftover from last night supper of grilled porkchops and oysters in a half shell). Today is chops with roasted eggplant salad with vinegar, garlic and chopped onions.

    Going to the subject of sampaloc, I like the face-distorting sour ones. My mom loves the sweet ones. It assures her daily movement, so to speak. I just love sour food (miss green mangoes and bagoong sooooo much!)

    Nov 16, 2006 | 4:10 pm

  18. annesqui says:

    LOVE is an understatement for how I feel about Thai Sampaloc. Even when I was younger (and supposedly less inclined to prefer spicy food), I have adored it. My first taste was when mom brought me a pack from her training in Bangkok, when I was about 9. Been hooked eversince.

    I blogged about it last year: http://annethology-queen.blogspot.com/2006/03/sweet-sour-spicy-heaven.html#comments

    Nov 17, 2006 | 1:10 pm

  19. annesqui says:

    Ngek. Last March lang pala. Sowee.. :O

    Nov 17, 2006 | 1:10 pm

  20. NiQ says:

    –> I like my thai sampalok in a sweet-spicy flavor. I absolutely enjoy eating it!

    Nov 17, 2006 | 1:44 pm

  21. goodtimer says:

    what i really miss is the sampaloc sold in my old school canteen in high school, wrapped in orange cellophane paper, a strip of sweet sampaloc candy with webbing, with specks of coarse rock salt. i think i could eat about 10 of those in one sitting.

    Nov 17, 2006 | 11:06 pm

  22. EC says:

    Salivary glands activated!

    Nov 22, 2006 | 12:11 pm

  23. Jacqui says:

    In all my three pregnancies, I only craved for one thing – sampaloc, but to my chagrin, the Philippine-made tamarind sold in Asian stores here in the Bay Area were more sugary than sour. Eventually found my sampaloc-heaven at the Mexican stores that sell it at a quarter per ball (around the size of the ball we used to play with jack stones). And to borrow Dodie’s description, they are the ultimate “face-distorting” variety.

    Dec 10, 2006 | 5:38 pm

  24. Jacqui says:

    I forgot to add that these Mexican stores also sell the spicy variety, the same tamarind balls but rolled in some spicy powder. Chili, I presumed. I tried one once but my tongue just cannot take it. Could they be similar to the Thai Sampaloc?

    Dec 11, 2006 | 3:06 pm

  25. eleonor says:

    i love sampaloc candies.in 1977,i started making it as my source of income,untill now we are making it even my children had finished thier studies.i sold it in calababanga,cam.sur.they called it dindy’s sweet nd sour sampaloc.it is wrapped in yellow cellophane,rolled in white sugar nd salt,

    Oct 29, 2008 | 6:44 am

  26. marielle says:

    can you suggest at least 3 best sampaloc brand names from thailand.. so i will not get confused in buying one.. do i have to buy different varieties like spicy, salty, sweet, etc.. (because they are differently satistifying?)

    Mar 12, 2009 | 10:37 am

  27. Tiffany says:

    oh my ..i wanted to buy this so bad, but can’t find it anywhere in Houston :(

    May 30, 2009 | 10:48 pm

  28. Rolando says:

    Hi Tiffany: You can buy the Tamarind Candy at an Asian grocery store located at the corner of Bissonnet and Synnott in Houston. I also have the recipe in case you want to do your own customized to your taste. I tried doing my own last weekend, the taste and texture are just right but after few hours, it becomes wet. I will experiment this coming weekend by drying it in a mini-oven and then finally rolling it in granulated sugar. Feel free to email me if you have questions.

    Jun 16, 2009 | 9:59 pm

  29. Rolando says:

    Hi Tiffany, I forgot to tell you that the guy tending the Asian grocery store at Bissonnet and Synott in Houston is not aware of that Tamarind Candy. I asked him and he showed me different things, so I searched for it and found it somewhere in the middle of the store in a 2″ X 3″ x 1 thick” plastic container with label “Tamarind Candy” in yellow text with green background, and it says “Made In Thailand”. If you are heading west towards Bissonnet, it is located on the left side of the shopping building just before you reach the intersection of Synott Rd. Email me if you have questions: rar422@windstream.net

    Jun 16, 2009 | 10:35 pm


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