15 Mar2005

Suha or Pomelo (Citrus grandis) is the largest citrus fruit of all with fruits weighing up to 3.0 kilos. suha1According to the Oxford Companion to Food authored by Alan Davidson, the Pomelo is an ancestor of the grapefruit and is believed to have originated in the Malay Peninsula or Western Indonesia. From there it migrated westwards and now thrives in several tropical climates around the world. Pomelo is believed to be derived from the Malay word pumpulmas which evolved into the Dutch pompelmoes and truncated by the English into pummelo or pomelo. Sometimes called Shaddock for the sea captain who brought them from Polynesia to the West Indies in the mid-1600’s. Several varieties are now being grown and the pomelos from one country to the other vary tremendously. Indonesia has huge fruits that sometimes have a milder flavor. Thailand likewise has large juicy fruit that is either yellowish or light pink in color. The Philippines tends to have smaller fruit and while I would say at best, erratic quality, the good pomelos here are really good. I like the smaller fruit as long as the texture, color and taste are top notch.

While generally viewed to be in season from November to January, it seems that suha this yearpom1 is running a little late and only now am I getting the abundance in the markets that I would have expected two or three months ago. I am such a suha lover that I tend to buy it as often as possible, even though my experience suggests that 1 out of 3 suhas that I buy are substandard. That is a pretty bad failure rate but it’s a bit like shooting craps. I have tried picking unblemished skins, smaller vs. larger, name brand vs. no name brand, heavier vs. lighter, suki vs. unknown supplier and it is very very hard to establish a real fail-safe method for buying suha. Perhaps the best odds come from a friend who lives in Davao who can go to a favored supplier and send the crate on to you in Manila. At any rate, the best specimens have just the right degree of juiciness (not too much), plump pulp bits and a nice sweet/tart flavor. Generally speaking, I buy fruit that is heavy for its size and whose skin looks relatively healthy. There is not one main supplier I rely on for this fruit.

I do not have the patience to peel suha so that they come in nice whole sections like in the photo suha3above but that is the best way to serve the fruit. Suha neat is suha heaven. Recently I have started to eat it in other ways that are intriguing. First, suha with a good alamang bagoong (shrimp fry paste) – an unlikely pairing but at a meal at a friend’s house I was served very sweet suha with a condiment of salty bagoong. The pairing was simply superb. Salt and sweet and tart all at the same time. Somewhat akin to the pairing of prosciutto and sweet melon, this combination was an eye opener and I never turn it down when it is being served this way. Suha in spicy salads is also a nice way to enjoy the fruit. The Thais serve a nice pomelo salad with chillies, lime, mint, etc. that is splendid. I have also used suha in fruit salsas that are heavily spiked with chillies. Finally, I threw some suha into a fennel and citrus salad I made a few days ago…recipe to be posted soon.

I am also told that the pomelo peel or rind (of which there is a LOT) also makes a nice candied citrus peel and is delicious if dipped in dark chocolate. I haven’t tried this yet but will as soon as I get the chance. Suha prices can vary tremendously… at the height of pre-Chinese New Year they were running P150 a kilo (absurd!) and yesterday I bought 3 pieces at about P80 a kilo. These were Nenita branded (or so they say, ever wonder if someone just prints stickers with Nenita and Chiquita printed on them?) and they were very good. Out of the 3, 2 were really good and one was dry. I didn’t set that up… what did I say about 1 out of 3 fruit being substandard??? For those of you who will invetably email me if I don’t put suha’s other local names…here they are: Baungon or Buongon in Cebuano, Aslom in Samar-Leyte, Luban in Ifugao, and Lukban in Iloko and Tagalog, according to Doreen Fernandez’s book on Philippine Fruit.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. schatzli says:

    yes suha can make a good salad mix (Ive forgotten all these words thanks for the buongon.
    Growing up in Cebu this fruit has always been expensive as far as I could remember. Luckily an aunt whose father owns a small land farther south where I grew up, grows some buongon.
    We would eat them right next to the river bank.. for FREE
    What joy it was! But when I went home I didnt crave this fruit much, after all we have pink grapefruit here in Europe

    Mar 15, 2005 | 7:19 am

     
  2. Karen says:

    Oh goodie! Some weeks back I mentioned to someone I’ll try to find a pomelo in the market and post pics of how ours look like.

    Let me fetch Debbie at “Words to Eat By”. Thanks for the post, Marketman!

    Mar 15, 2005 | 9:05 am

     
  3. debbie says:

    Thanks so much for all this great info! I tried my first one a few weeks ago and didn’t quite know what to make of it. (And thanks to Karen for pointing me towards your site.)

    Mar 15, 2005 | 10:10 am

     
  4. Bubut says:

    If you are going to peel the suha(green skin) using a
    knife, be sure that you dont hit the pulp or what we call
    ‘masugatan’,or else, even if suha taste sweet, it will
    become bitter. Just like the grapefruit, we usually cut
    it like orange and scoop the pulp and it taste bitter even
    if we squeeze to get the juice. But if you try to peel
    the outer covering with knife very thinly and you use
    your fingers for the rest of the covering, it will remain sweet.

    Apr 15, 2005 | 8:58 pm

     
  5. serra says:

    they are the best when the insides are clearish instead of pink. But they pick them too early here in the states.I like them so much more then grapefruit, but they pick them so early here that they almost taste the same. BOO HOO!

    Jul 23, 2005 | 12:20 am

     
  6. HONG. M. T says:

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    Jul 28, 2005 | 4:56 am

     
  7. Trevor says:

    We buy a champoy powder which is exclusive to DECS grocery in Greenhills. It is deep red with a sweet and very slight salty taste. This is the ultimate dipping condiment for both suha and guava!!

    Sep 9, 2005 | 7:21 am

     
  8. millet says:

    MM, what is “your aroused”? ;-)

    Sep 1, 2006 | 9:12 am

     
  9. Marketman says:

    millet, I haven’t the foggiest clue…think it was an automatic translation email thingee??? :)

    Sep 1, 2006 | 11:10 am

     
  10. mimi says:

    While eating suha, which came from our lot in Bulacan, I decided to google on it to know more. Thanks for this neat and informative post.
    I’d pass on the bagoong, but would just eat it with a little rock salt. Thanks to that info on champoy powder, I will have to try that sometime.
    Btw, our suha in Bulacan tastes as delicious as the Davao pomelo, but I dont see it being sold in markets. Probably because it looks so different (ugly perhaps), and some of it is just so big, almost the size of a bowling ball…

    Feb 7, 2007 | 11:49 am

     
  11. Sylvia Hall says:

    I have just returned from Bangkok and enjoyed eating the Pummelo White Honey Fruit. I was wondering if you could put me in touch with an address or contact telephone number where I can purchase them from.

    Many thanks

    Mar 12, 2007 | 11:12 pm

     
  12. Marketman says:

    Sylvia, if you live in the Philippines, there is pomelo for sale in most groceries, markets, etc. Sometimes, they carry bangkok pomelos, though I also find the Philippine variety when in good form, are superb as well. If you live in the States, I am not sure where you might be able to get them. In New York or the West Coast, a good bet would be Chinatown in a major city…

    Mar 13, 2007 | 6:05 am

     
  13. Mel says:

    i love suha! kaya lang at times my mga suha na dry and hard na! shucks, this post made me crave for suha.

    i looveee your blog MM!

    Apr 25, 2007 | 12:29 am

     
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    Aug 30, 2007 | 6:53 pm

     
  15. gerald says:

    uhm, no doubt pomelo’s are very delicious whe you picked the good one..

    Dec 9, 2007 | 6:25 pm

     
  16. Dayanara Aming says:

    Do you have any recipe for making candy out of pomelo peels?
    Can pomelo peels also be made as crackers? What about orange ande lemon peels? Can they also be made as crackers?

    Dec 23, 2007 | 12:12 pm

     
  17. DANALEE AND JHONA says:

    suha is sour when is not already ripe but sweet when it is ripe and mix taste sour but it is good to our health and delicious.

    Jan 16, 2008 | 8:28 pm

     
  18. sigmund estreba says:

    Hi,

    I really to buy pomelo from mati, davao oriental. tHEY AREA VERY SWEET. I really would like to sell it here in sunday. pls give me your contact number if you can sell “mensi” pomelo to me. thanks. my cell no. is 09225588302 or 09176245191.

    Dec 22, 2008 | 10:08 pm

     
 

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