Snake Fruit – Delicious Taste, Terrifying Nightmare

By Mark Wiens 24 Comments
Snake Fruit in Thailand
Snake Fruit in Thailand

I just polished off a fresh cluster of snake fruit.

It was excellent.

Snake fruit, along with durian and a host of other fruit, is a natural growing gem of southeast Asia.

The outside of the fruit is scaly like a snake and prickly like a cactus, but the inside is sweeter than honey, sour like a pineapple and incredibly juicy. Its flesh is slightly acidic, giving your tongue a citrus like tingle.

The complex flavor wrapped into a lethal grenade looking package has a spectacular flavor.

What is snake fruit?
What is snake fruit?

What is Snake Fruit (Salak)?

Snake fruit, more technically known as salak or salacca zalacca, is native to Indonesia but is now grown and produced around southeast Asia. The fruit grows on the salak palm tree, sprouting off the base of the palm in little clusters.

In Thailand, snake fruit is widespread, popular as a to-go snack on the streets of Bangkok (during season). Venders will often handle the dirty work, peeling the spiky exterior and packing the peeled fruit into convenient baggies for sale. Thais enjoy snakefruit dipped in a mixture of sugar and salt.

Peeled snake fruit, this particular one was a double, butt shaped flesh
Peeled snake fruit, this particular one was a double, butt shaped flesh

My First Taste (The Story)

It was 2009 when I had my first taste of snake fruit.

I was hanging out in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, cruising around and excited to be exploring. A local friend of mine happened to have a few snake fruit trees on her compound in Yogyakarta and brought a sack of them for us all to enjoy.

After peeling away the pokey skin, I sunk my teeth into my very first snake fruit.

Just like wood apple, I developed an instantaneous addiction.

In the next 5 minutes I proceeded to down at least 25 pieces of snakefruit, finding it nearly impossible to stop when there was a free (and giant) sack right before me.

Snake Fruit
Juicy bite of Snake Fruit

“Don’t eat too many snakefruit, it will make you not use the toilet,” my Indonesian friend nonchalantly mentioned, being pre-occupied and oblivious to the solo devouring session I had just completed.

After my heart sank a few inches I managed a “Oh ooookkk,” terrified of the doom I could face as I gingerly set aside my 26th fruit.

That night I could barely sleep, stressing about my worst nightmare that seemed surly inevitable: constipation.

I woke up, ate some breakfast, drank a coffee, and apart from being a few hours later than the norm, I proceeded on with my chronic morning ritual.

Fortunately my food blogger digestive system overcame the alleged blocking powers of large quantities of snake fruit, constipation did NOT stand a chance!

If the legend is true of not, I still don’t know.

But one thing I do know, every time I eat snake fruit, even at a fruit buffet, I proceed with caution, knowing there could be consequences of eating too much of such a delicious thing.

Have you ever had snake fruit? Be careful…