Kiat-kiat / Mandarin Oranges

Sweet, nutritious and well-priced. kiatPerfect for a snack, baon for the kids and even table décor. Kiat kiat (anyone know the origin of this name in Chinese? in Cebuano, it means to be “frisky”…) or small mandarin oranges are abundant in local markets and groceries at the moment. At about PHP80 a bag or so, they come out to just a couple of pesos each. They are incredibly easy to peel, the sections are juicy and sweet and they transport easily. Like bananas, they are perfect snack food and my daughter’s lunchbox gets a few of them whenever we have them in the house…

I’m not sure if this is the same orange that is carefully kiat2stripped of its skin and each section is rendered naked before canning them with sugared water… Ever wonder how they peel them so perfectly? Are there thousands of Chinese workers who are expert peelers? Or do they use a chemical bath of some sort to dissolve the fibrous pod around each orange section? At any rate, if you haven’t tried them despite their presence at nearly every fruit stand or store these days, get yourself a bag and start munching! To select, pick the ones that are still firm and have a bright shiny skin rather than the ones that are getting really soft and the skin looks a bit wrinkled, kinda like the skin on my feet these days…

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18 Responses

  1. Thanks for the buying tip MM! But for sure I won’t be buying anything that looks like somebody’s wrinkled feet! haha! I have to say, what an image you left in my head! It doesn’t really mix with food. :)

  2. My thoughts exactly chris! Haha. Savoring the sweetness and juiciness of kiat kiat in my mind as I figured out if my schedule tomorrow would allow a quick trip to the supermarket only to be marred by visions of wrinkled feet. :)

  3. there’s this tiny orange that’s being sold in chi-town. It’s the size of calamansi and you can actually eat the whole thing except for the seeds (bien sur). I don’t know what it’s called, my aunt just brought some one day and I haven’t seen anything like it since…

  4. MM,

    It’s called Kiet-ah in Hokkien which, loosely translated means something like ‘small and packed’. It’s big brother (ponkan) has traditinally been New Year fruits because of their shape: round signifies wholeness (and to a lesser degree, abundance). You will see lots of this fruit on the New Year (both the Gregorian and Lunar)

  5. Hi Market Man,

    You’re almost like the lifestyle channel to me (no such thing here). Thanks.
    I think they are also called clementines/clementina. Here they cost about a euro (70 pesos)per orange, aircon sack. cheaper,huh?
    an orange vendor once told me to choose the heavy ones.Apparently heavier=juicier. After a few days of storage they sometimes develop soft, moldy spots so it’s better to eat them asap.

  6. Greece has this in abundance in winter time
    I buy at the weekly farmers market
    But when I was in UK its sold in a net bag and mostly imported from Spain my sis and I would look at each other and think how cheap this fruit is in Athens.

  7. I think these are mandarins and are slightly different from clementines…both in size and flavor…but very similar in looks…

  8. Shoppaholique, those small citrus are not the same as kiat-kiat. Ivan Dy, what are they called in chinese? help! They’re good though and you can eat them skin and all, though probably not a good idea to swallow the seeds. Loved them when I was living in China. I’ve also tasted the pickled versions.

  9. Yes Mila!!! I don’t know what it’s called though…shame shame They’re like like calamansi physically… I heard it cures colds…

  10. Shoppaholique, I had one vendor tell me at the Fort that they are called longan, but I know that she’s wrong. Longan are brown and have an inedible skin. Someone suggested kumquat, but that’s not right either. I’ve only seen them grown in China, so I am not sure it’s got an english name. Anyway, they’re delicious and hope the ones you ate were nice and tangy.

  11. Mila,

    Ponkan (or tangerines) are called ‘ju zi’ in Mandarin so I can only make a calculated guess that kiat-kiats (or Kiet-ah in the local Hokkien) are called ‘xiao ju zi’ (little kiat kiat?)

    just a guess…

  12. It was tangy,Mila, but I wish it was more juicy though…
    It’s available at the Fort?

    I was wondering though, is the mystery orange a real fruit or a genetically modified one.

  13. Shoppaholique, I’m pretty sure it’s just a derivative of an orange, hybrid with something. My family members in China have been eating that fruit for a very long time and they told me it’s been around since they were kids and probably beyond.

    Ivan, I’ll try to bring the fruit on the binondo walking tour to show you which one we’re talking about.

  14. I purchased the fruit and tasted it and will post it in a few days…see the things I do for all of you…. :) Heehee.

  15. christopher, I have not heard anyone say you shouldn’t eat them…but on the other hand, do you eat them raw?! I can see them as candied orange peel or in marmalade or in baked goods, but raw?! The only thing that might concern me are insecticides…

  16. what is the scientific name of mandarin orange? can you help me guyzZZZzzz????? plsss
    thank you!!!!!!!!

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