Chanced upon this pomelo in the Tanjung Aru market and figured it deserves a post of its own.
Pomelo is the largest of the citrus fruit and is native to South-East Asia especially Malaysia and Thailand. Its botanical name, Citrus Grandis, speaks for its size. It has a fragrant skin and an inch or so of a pillow-soft pith that protects its delicious flesh. It is the 'great grand daddy' to the popular grapefruit of the west (which is a cross between pomelo and orange).
This treasured fruit is a must-have in most Chinese households to welcome the lunar new year for it symbolises abundance and good fortune. Come eve of the lunar new year will find most households using the pomelo leaves as an essence in their bath water. We love the fragrance that permeates the whole house when the pomelo leaves are being boiled (1-2 sprigs of the leaves bundled along with some stalks of lemongrass). Everyone from the very young to the old will then uses the scented water as they bath to rinse from head to toe as an act of cleansing to start anew (and smells good) for the coming new year.
There are two good reasons why this fruit deserves a special post. Firstly, it is one of our favourite fruits, eaten chilled as is or as salad. Secondly, this particular fruit (pic above) is an original. Yes, the old fashion fruit whose genetic makeup has not been tampered with (yet!). We pray that that will not happen. They are getting very rare and so far, this stall is one of the few places (also in certain tamus) where we can still find them and that, only once a year because the fruiting is seasonal. Today, there are many hybrids of this fruit. Most pomelos that we get year round are from trees that has been genetically engineered - many of the famous Tenom's fruits fall under this category. Still cannot get use to those super-sweet, near-odourless, soft-flesh pomelos.
This pomelo has light pale yellow transparent flesh. Its flesh is firm and taut, and one bite sends the tangy sweet juices bursting in the mouth. Don't you just want to sink your teeth into these?
So succulent and juicy...
I bought four from the stall. Leanne and myself finished off the largest one (pictured above). K had one all to himself. There is only two left now but not for long... regrets not having taken the whole lot from the stall. Think I will have one all to myself....
Pomelo rinds can be used to make candied peel. Placed in a decorative container or bag, they will make a thoughtful and unique gift.