Kumquat / Sugar Kiat / Ponkan

This fruit bowl has a selection kumq1of ponkan, sugar kiats and kumquats. An earlier post on kiat kiat resulted in a lively discussion in the comments section on some small “citrus” fruit that some said was a little like an orange kalamansi, a longan, kumquat or even a genetically modified fruit. It had a thin skin and the entire fruit was edible. I decided to go in search of some and put an end to the speculation… But first, the other citrus finds…some good large ponkan that was sweet and extremely juicy are the largest fruit in the bowl pictured here. Next in size are these “sugar kiats” that are larger than the kiat kiat I featured a week or so ago and they were also sweet and scrumptious. That leaves the unusually shaped oblong orange fruit…

The vendor I purchased these fruit from said they were “lumquat” and I thought they definitely looked like “kumquats.” I bought kumq2some (say 200 grams) to try and indeed you could easily bite through the skin and the skin was in fact sweet while the pulp inside somewhat more sour though with a definite orange flavor. It wasn’t as juicy as one might expect but neither was it a horrible mouthfeel or taste experience as one might guess from popping a small orange into your mouth. In fact, if it is a kumquat as I am pretty sure it is, it isn’t an orange at all! The name kumquat apparently means golden mandarin or orange in Cantonese, according to several books I consulted, including Elizabeth Schneider’s Uncommon Fruits and Vegetables. This fruit was considered part of the citrus family until 1915 when scientists felt its cellular structure was sufficiently different so as to require its own genus, Fortunella. There are two main kinds of kumquats, the oval ones photographed here are Fortunella margarita, and the most common one cultivated for sale, Fortunella japonica. There are several cross-breeds, hybrids, etc. but basically, the edible little fruit belong to the Fortunella family, not the citrus one…

Bizarrely, in a twist of how Filipino is that, Alan Davidson kumq3writes that our own famous kalamansi might in fact be a hybrid between a mandarin orange and a kumquat…thus its small round shape, distinctive flavor and thinner skin. At any rate, I didn’t know what to do with my abundance of kumquats as I could only eat one or two whole at a time. Some research yielded a phenomenal number of suggestions which I will try in future. Apparently you can blanch them in hot water for 20-30 seconds and slice them thinly to add to salads, use them in baked fish dishes, added to pork dishes and made into a nice kumquat marmalade… The nice oranges in this third photo are the sugar kiats. I hope this clarifies the odd, oblong, orange, kalamansi, genetically modified, not longan, not citrus fruit questions…


20 Responses

  1. MM,since you have an abundance of this exotic fruit I suggest you squeeze the cumquat juices into an ice cube tray and freeze and voila! you have instant cubed juice to use for whatever dish you need it for or instant refreshing cumquat drink with lots of ice cubes. Yum!

  2. How about a kumquat cocktail? A few pieces cut in half and mashed in a glass with sugar syrup and a shot of orange vodka added.

  3. a friend used to preserve kalamansi(with nata de coco inside) in sugar syrup…they maintain their color, and there’s that nice texture when you eat it…i wonder if you could do the same with kumquats…

  4. How timely this post is. I was in Binondo for the Big Bowl tour with Ivan Dy on Saturday and just had to buy some kumquats. We have made some candied kumquats to top some other desserts with, as well as a bottle of kumquat marmalade and a nice curry spiced kumquat chutney to eat with some roasts. All that from one P150 bag!

  5. the kiat kiat reminds me of the clementines i had in germany so many years ago; they were just as tiny and just as sweet… i wonder if they are the same. the first time i saw those kiat-kiats last year, i thought they were clementines! =)

  6. Funny but I dont see as much kumquats in the markets except New year. With Chinese New Year just a week away, theyre everywhere in Chinatown! You can even buy plastic(?) kumquat trees for to put for a good year(or so as a lot of people believe…)

  7. I think the kiatkiats I’ve been noshing on for the last two days would make a great clementine cake, ala Nigella. Saw it on her show some months back, she basically parboiled the fruit, then blendered(sic) them with sugar, almonds, and something else (must go through her cookbook one day), no flour though so it’s probably a good cake for those allergic to wheat. Looked delightful, sticky and tartly sweet. Interesting bit was that she blended it, skin, seeds and all.

  8. yap! we have kumquat in our citrus collection here at the Bureau of Plant Industry, Baguio City. You can visit our Center, and you can even buy seedlings of kumquat, but you have to order, since we do not propagate many.

  9. pde poh b pki send skin information bout dun sa kalamansi with nata de coco insyd….tnx

  10. would like to know where i can get some sugar kiat and kiat kiat seedlings here in the philippines.

  11. Can I learning, what kumquat breed??
    I want to made to it my garden at mideterranean climate..

    thank you..

  12. Better late than never, so they say. To Juliet Ochasan: Are you still with the Bureau of Plant Industry at Baguio? May I still source kiat-kiat seedlings from you? Please email me at butch.sanjuan@yahoo.com.ph

    Butch San Juan

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