Kamansi / Seeded Breadfruit (Revisited)

Our office internet is misbehaving and it’s hard for me to post new content without wasting hours of time waiting for things to upload. At any rate, I am reposting this post on kamansi from 8 years ago because of a question posed to me yesterday about the difference between kamansi and rimas… One is seeded breadfruit, and the the other has no seeds and a slightly different outer skin. It’s breadfruit season now across the archipelago and folks are enjoying this backyard treat fried with some latik… I haven’t had some for a while, will have to search for some at the markets soon. :)

Kamansi or Seeded Breadfruit kam1(Artocarpus camansi) is very closely related to but not the same as Rimas or Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis). I didn’t know that so maybe some of you didn’t either. Kamansi has sharper points on its skin, more like a jackfruit (another close relative) while rimas has a flatter outer skin. Kamansi has soft seeds and rimas has no seeds. I spied these unusual little Kamansi from an organic vegetable seller that I frequent and decided they looked too interesting to pass up. I brought home three small Kamansi and hoped that the cook had heard of these before… she had, good Boholana that she is, kamansi and rimas grew in abundance in her native Bohol. Kamansi are believed to be native to Papua New Guinea and possibly Indonesia and the Philippines.

When I was still a single digit (years, not fingers) kid kam2I used to go with my mom to her ancestral home in the boonies of Bohol (4+ hours in a jeep to get there from Tagbilaran on a dusty coastal road but on a map it is just 80 kilometers!) and once ensconced there, we had to visit all of our relatives who then proceeded to whip out their finest snack of fried breadfruit locally called Kolo (not Rimas) with latik (a sugary sweet dip). As yummy as that was, having it 7 times in a row as we progressed down the main street at a languid late afternoon pace was enough to make me want to scream at the top of my lungs that breadfruit in fact gave me seizures that resulted in lesions that were contagious and unsightly… I jest, of course. :) Then the next day we would have to do the other side of the street! Needless to say, I never ate breadfruit again for another 20 or so years…

Back at home, the cook peeled the skin of the small Kamansi kam3(which she felt were picked too young by the way) to expose the whitish pulp and seeds. Boiled in a little water to cook the pulp, she added coconut milk, onions and ginger. Served as a vegetable, it was a bit like unripe jackfruit but softer and mushier. I didn’t particularly like it but it wasn’t bad. Maybe I just haven’t gotten over my breadfruit phobia just yet. At PHP50 for 3 pieces, this makes a very economical “vegetable” dish out of the kamansi fruit.

Sources: Uncommon Fruits & Vegetables by Elizabeth Schneider; Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson.


29 Responses

  1. oh, wow! And I remember I posted back that my Grandma used to slice it thin, and Deep fried them like chips..also made it like Camote Cue…yum,

  2. Kamansi might be what we Ilocos call ‘pakak’. Though I can’t remember eating it fried, as a snack, or dessert! If not cooked in gata, it is cooked in bagoong, with ‘saluyot’ or whatever is available in the backyard. :D

  3. Maraming ganyan sa probinsiya namin nuon (both kamansi and rimas) pero madalang na ngayon ang nagtitinda sa palengke. Yung mga kabataan nga hindi na nila alam ang gulay/prutas na ito.
    I wonder if their tree is a good furniture/wood, and so people are cutting them to extinction.

  4. Thanks for this reminder, MM. I chanced upon the rare breadfruit ( rimas) at a local international store just a couple of weeks ago and bought one not sure what to do with it….just nostalgic about bygone years when rimas, kamansi along with duhat, kalumpit and other fruits harvested from the wild were still available and in relative abundance. I remember we either boiled it and served it with freshly grated coconut and sugar or as candied fruit, the pulp being transformed into a firmer texture by using apog ( calcium carbonate?). I forgot the fruit on the shelf and it molded and had to throw it in my compost pile. What a waste! My mom used to tell us that it provided precious nourishment and saved our family from starvation while on evacuation in an island during the Japanese occupation.

  5. I believe the Mutiny on the Bounty was about Breadfruit:

    Mutiny on the Bounty – Background:

    In the late 1780s, noted botanist Sir Joseph Banks theorized that breadfruit plants which grew on the islands of the Pacific could be brought to the Caribbean where they could be used as a cheap food source for slaves working on British plantations. This concept received support from the Royal Society which offered a prize for attempting such an endeavor. As discussions ensued, the Royal Navy offered to provide a ship and crew to transport breadfruit to the Caribbean. To this end, the collier Bethia was purchased in May 1787 and renamed His Majesty’s Armed Vessel Bounty.

  6. Marketman, where in Bohol was your mom originally from, if you don’t mind my asking? I grew up in Inabanga which happens to be about 75-85 kms from Tagbilaran, too. Just curious.

    I love your blog, by the way. Thank you for keeping this wonderful, informative blog!

  7. According to my mother, kamansi is ugob in Bicolano. She would peel, quarter then add the fruit in bulalo soup. Sarap!

  8. Why is breadfruit hard to find in local market nowadays??? Isn’t this indigenous here in the Philippines?

  9. @Natie #7, Yes, specifically transporting the ratoons (as opposed to seedlings) to the West Indies. It appears that only rimas was successfully transplanted as camansi is rare and almost unknown among my Jamaican colleagues. Incidentally, same fellow who brought an African fruit to Jamaica called ackee which turned out a perfect match for salt cod along with grilled rimas, making it one of their most popular national dishes.

    And yes again, @Natie #12, just browse any Paul Gauguin paintings done in Tahiti.

  10. @Footloose..I could never forget that movie! my numerous Jamaican coworkers always talk about their ackee and rice…like that song…

    and yes, Gauguin!! the colors! Gauguin was a “kid in a candy store”!

  11. same here @Robin Castagna. My old folks in Bicol also add them to beef sinigang…masiramon!

  12. Rimas, kamansi, Mutiny on the Bounty, Gauguin and Polynesia, “ a kid in a candy store”. MM, allow me to digress a bit more.

    A psychologist friend who a while back was with me viewing a museum exhibit on Impressionist and Post Impressionist art commented that her appreciation for Gauguin’s works are colored by what she considers Gauguin’s dark sexual history which prompted me to do some readings.

    Here’s an interesting read on historical and cross-cultural considerations of sexual expression especially as it relates to adult child sex relationship . The author is a known psychiatrist specializing on gender issues and had successfully argued for the removal of homosexuality as a mental disorder in the DSMD ( Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). A caveat: not for justification for any kind of sexual expression or what may be considered sexual deviancy, ( and I love Gaugain’s works), but for my own enlightenment and curiosity.


  13. same here, Connie C..it was an “aha” moment for me too..what diverse world we live in! Now I have more time to reflect, I see myself as Pollyanna…what’s the point of saying ‘I’m right and you’re wrong” no? Keep peace..take care Connie C…crazy weather we’re having…

    That Gauguin–the thin line between genius and you-know-what…

  14. @Connie C’s friend’s quandary may be similar to the ambivalence felt by some Woody Allen film fans about his deplorable domestic arrangement or even worse, Roman Polanski’s plight. I don’t have any qualms, I just heedlessly immerse myself in the aesthetic experience which according to Kenneth Clark is always tinged with sensuality anyway.

    But amazing how psychology can dampen a potentially titillating situation into an aseptic lump of mumbo jumbo. Thankfully, first person accounts of erotic adventures (with aboriginal waifs) similar to that of Paul Gauguin is a recurring theme in literature. There is a particularly graphic one in the first unassigned book in English I read it its entirety, My Wicked Wicked Ways, Errol Flynn’s autobiography. A stirring read (specially for a pubescent boy) even if not morally sustainable at all since his life was a succession of indictments for statutory rape.

  15. para sa akin mas masarap parin gat-anin ang langka kesa sa kamansi kase matubig ang kamansi relatibo sa langka…yung rimas masarap ipirito at isteam at sawsaw sa niyog na alangan! yum! hehe

  16. In Quezon, we call it arimas, best when it is candied like pineapple. we also make compote of it. The kasim is a little too madagta and yea watery when cooked, we like to put bagoong na hipon with gata and baboy, best paired with fried fish.. sarap..

  17. @Marketman

    Thank you so much for sharing this article! I remember when I was Batangas were always doing that because we’re just getting the kamansi in the backyard of the house of a friend of mine.

    The seeds of kamansi can cook it also right? Can boil it then put some salts right?

    Thanks a lot!


  18. hi everyone,
    Does anybody know where I can get breadfruit (rimas) here in Manila. My younger sister is currently working on her thesis in food technology and her topic will be on bread fruit. Unfortunately it’s not available in the market. Thank you so much.


  19. Hi Marketman,
    I will appreciate if you could tell me where in Makati or in Manila I can buy seeded breadfruit and breadfruit.
    In my country Haiti, particularly the breadfruit is very present in our cuisine.
    We eat it fried, boiled, roasted, mashed…

    I would love to cook some.

  20. Stephanie and Camille, I have rarely seen seeded breadfruit or breadfruit in Makati markets. That is unfortunate, for they are abundant in the provinces and a treat for those who know how to use them. I will keep my eyes out for you at the FTI Saturday market, a 10-15 minute distance from downtown Makati to see if they sell it. If you really want a good sampling of what is available in the city, try getting up very early (say 530-6am) and head to the Sunday Centris market, which is in Quezon City, a 15 minute drive from Makati straight on EDSA until just before Quezon Avenue I believe. It’s a huge weekend market outdoors and they just might have a few vendors with breadfruit when it’s in season…

  21. Ugob is so abundant in our province-Bicol. So abundant it rarely gets any attention from younger people. It just literally fell to rot by the dozens. It’s so neglectfully abundant that younger ones thought it is not edible but ornamental.
    I suppose new recipes must be discovered by culinary adventurists as this is an untapped staple.

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