They’re about an inch and a half from top to bottom. The skin is beige, not smooth but of a soft woody texture, and with overlapping layers. You press, the skin breaks open and inside is the rattan fruit — stoned like the rambutan and the soft watery texture of the flesh is not too dissimilar either. But because they had been sitting in the fridge for almost a week, I was careful about how I was going to taste them. Strange things happen to fruits after several days even when stored in the fridge. And since it was going to be my first taste of the rattan fruit, I took the tiniest bite. If it had been my fingers rather than my teeth, it would be like pinching with the fingernails. The bite I took was that tiny but it was enough.
Ang asim, maryosep! And it wasn’t even anything like the citric sourness of lemon, lime or kalamansi. It was just plain sour. The kind that cuts through the tongue and lips. I washed out my mouth with water several times to get rid of the sensation.
Then, I tried to do some research. The foremost question on my mind was — was it actually meant for eating? That was my presumption because I bought the rattan fruits from the fruit section of the supermarket. But, my goodness, I couldn’t see how it could be eaten raw. I figured there must be some special way of preparing them — some magical way that will transform them into something memorable for the tongue, mouth and tummy.
Market Manila was among the search results and it seems that Marketman had it even worse because he popped the rattan fruit into his mouth. Gee, I cannot imagine…
A botanical site has a photo of the rattan fruit with a short commentary that they were sold in Baguio City. I never noticed. Another site includes the rattan fruit in a list of fruits used for pickling while another mentions the rattan fruit as a coloring material and as cosmetics. It was from the last site that I found the reference to Dragon’s Blood and Daemonorops draco, the botanical name for rattan.
It appears that the rattan fruit produces a reddish color known as “Dragon’s Blood” that serves medicinal uses. There is even a claim that it has magical uses and maybe someone ought to send the link to J. K. Rowling.
But for eating… well, unless you’re the type who enjoys eating raw kamias by dipping it in salt, and the rattan fruit is much more sour than kamias, I really wouldn’t recommend it. Me, I learned an important food lesson here. No more rattan fruit for me.