Trosok Srov (ត្រសក់ស្រូវ) is Khmer name of a kind of melon. The fruit is prolong which has smooth and greenish cover with pale green flesh. The fruit is about 15-30 cm in length, and diameter could be up to 15cm. It weight around 2-4 kg. Trosok Srov’s seasoning in Cambodia is during March until May. This is the best time to eat trosok srov, because the price is very low. We can buy trosok srov from fruit stores along the nation road no.5, on the way from Phnom Penh to Phnom Oudong. Also along the nation rod no.6 in Bakheng district, Kandal province.
Do you have any ideas of eating Trosok Srov?
Trosok Srov can just be eaten as other fruit without adding any additional, because the flesh is contained sweet taste already. Just remove its cover and seeds, then can serve naturally.
For Cambodia people like to serve trosok srov with palm sugar. Cutting melon into pieces, as well as palm sugar. Then serve one piece of melon for one piece of palm sugar.
Without palm sugar, it also can be served with white sugar. Open up the melon, remove the seed, then sprinkle white sugar all over the flesh, and using spoon to serve.
Another way to eat trosok srov is more special, and this way is served at the sweet store when you order for trosok srov. Melon is cut into pieces, then sip with sugar water, coconut cream, then top up with ice and cream milk. The taste is very good for sweet lover. It cost from 2000 riels to 3000 riels per serving.
Below are some useful information about melon for health
Melon or trosok srov contain 90% of water in its flesh that can keep us well hydrated, working great for dehydration (បំបាត់ការស្រេកទឹក).
Melon help suppress appetite because it contain only 60 calories in one cup. We feel full after served it, but the calories our body get is low.
Melon contains many vitamins like Vitamin A, C, B, E, K, beta carotene, luteine, and zeaxathin. It also contains minerals such as iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.
Melon is cholesterol free and fat free. The dietary fiber helps improve digestive system and strengthen immune system with its antioxidants.
Melon also contains properties that helps strengthen heart, bone and teeth, thick hair, smooth skin, strengthen muscle and tissues.
Plae Khvet – Wood Apple Fruit
Wood apple is a fruit tree of tropical area which has been known as a fruit contains antiseptic properties and high nutrition value. However, there are less researches have been conducted on wood apple fruit.
It’s said wood apple is native in the wild of India and Ceylon but it’s now grown throughout countries of Southeast Asia. In Cambodia, wood apple grown throughout the country. People just plant one or two trees near their house, in their farm and forget about it, until the trees start bearing fruits.
Wood Apple has got scientific name as Limonia acidissima L. and its other names are elephant apple, monkey fruit, curd fruit, Koth Bell (India). In Khmer wood apple is called Khvet (ខ្វិត).
Wood apple is a slow growing tree which starts bearing fruit after 6-7 years planted. Its branches are upward reaching and there are sharp spines of about 2-5 cm long. The tree trunk is cover with ridged bark. Leaves are dark green and pinnate with 5-7 leaflets, they have slight smell of lemon. Flowers are small with greenish outer and dull-red inner. Fruits are ball-like round, they could be from 7- 9 cm in diameter which cover by a hard grayish-white, woody thick rind. The inside of the fruit are edible. Its pulp is light brown and turn to be dark brown when it’s ripe. It’s odorous with sweet and sour tastes. Seeds are white and small mixed inside the pulp.
Wood apple in Cambodia
The season of wood apple in Cambodia is between November to January, however, wood apple is still available all year round. Young wood apple (before mature) is more popular for Cambodians than ripe fruit. The young fruit after take out the rind, are sliced into pieces and kneaded with salt, sugar, and chilly. It’s the same way of kneading green mango. But the pulp of young wood apple fruit is somehow bitter (as the taste of an unripe guava or even stronger). So after harvest, the young wood apple fruit is soaked in water for one day to decrease bitter taste, if not it might be hard to swallow.
The ripe fruits are usually kept to fall off from the tree. When the fruits are ripe, they attract people by its aroma. Ripe fruit is eating with sugar or without sugar if you like more sour taste. Use spoon to take out the pulp, put into your mouth, start chewing, you will feel a mixture of flavor in which some sweet, some sour, sticky pulp and crispy seeds. Especially its aroma, these all made wood apple become a unique fruit.
How to break up wood apple fruit
Because of the rind are hard, to break up, grabbing the fruit and throw it onto the hard surface, by this we will not need to use a hammer.
There is another way to remove the rind of wood apple by using a large wood stick hit around the fruit to break the rind into small pieces, then use a sharp-pointed knife to remove each small piece of the rind out.
Ripe fruits are easier to break up, just hit the fruit into hard surface, maybe the floor.
Cambodia people usually make a joke to someone who has no job by saying to offer them a job and when the person asks what the job is, the answer will be: need your forehead as a tool for breaking up wood apple fruit.
Tropical Fruits in Cambodia
Cambodia is a country located in tropical area of Asia, where the soil and climate are suitable for planting almost kinds of tropical fruits. Most of all fruits and vegetables are planted and harvested naturally, which are very good for health. Fruit is also a favorite of Cambodia people consuming daily as nutrition food beside main meals of rice. Through out the whole year, Cambodia always has plenty kinds of fruits in all season. The price are reasonable so that everyone can afford for fruits. Below are photos of tropical fruits growing in Cambodia, and some are really Khmer fruits which I couldn’t find the English name for them.
Jujube has its scientific name as Ziziphus Jujuba Mill. China is the homeland of jujube since more than 4000 years ago with more than 400 cultivars in its family. Now jujube has been growing in all over the world where having tropical climate.
In Cambodia, a cultivar of bigger fruits is growing as farm. But for other cultivar of smaller fruits (as in the photo above) are planted as fruit tree in home garden. Depend on cultivar, fruit can be round or elongate, the biggest size could be equal to an egg. The whitish flesh of sweet and sour flavor is covered by thin, edible skin. Inside has a hard seed. The young fresh fruit is green and turn to yellow-green as it ripens. Until the fruit is fully ripe, it has black-red color and the flesh become soft, the skin become wrinkle. Fresh mature jujube is very popular in Cambodia than other form of snacks made of jujube, because the flesh is crisp, sweet and some sour in taste.
Papaya (La hong)
Carica papaya is the scientific name of papaya and it homeland was Mexico. Papaya is a very good fruit for health as it contains many nutrition, especially, it is rich in vitamin A which is very beneficial for eyes and skin. Immature fruit has green color skin and slowly turn to yellow or orange when it ripens. Ripe papaya is eaten as fresh fruit or made into fruit juice. Green papaya is used as vegetable in cooking, for instance, papaya salad, papaya soup with pork, Papaya sour soup, Samlor Kokor (Khmer vegetable fish soup), etc. It’s also pickled for serving with grilled meat, pork rice, num pang sach (bread serve with meat) which are typical breakfast of Cambodians. Another kind of food made of green papaya is Mam La hong, it’s papaya fermented.
Sugar Apple (Plae Teab)
Rose Apple (Chumpu)
Pursat Orange (Pursat)
Grapefruit (Kroch Thlong)
Dragon Fruit (Plae Sroka Neark)
Guava (Tro Baek)
Jew Plum (Makak)
Jew Plum or Ambarella fruit or Makak in Khmer has scientific name as Spondias dulcis. The fruit is at egg size or a bit bigger, grow out in clusters of more than a dozen. The thick skin of the fruit is green when young and turn to be yellow or orange when ripe. Both young and ripe fruits are edible with different flavor. In Cambodia, the young or green Makak is always popular as snack serving with salt-added-chilly. The flesh is crisp and has yummy sour taste (as in the photo about, Makak is already taken out its skin). When it ripe, the flesh become soft and has yellow color like ripe mango, however, it has sweeter taste. Makas has one hard seed with soft thorny and growing harder after mature, but when the fruit is young, the seed is also eaten.
Pomegranate (Plae Toteum)
There are several species of Pomegranate, it’s obviously seen by the color of its inner is red or white and also the size of the fruit. Usually the pink color is more delicious. Inside the cover, there are numerous seeds that covers by juicy flesh. There is no pomegranate farm in Cambodia, so it’s always imported from China, Thailand, Korea. Cambodian plant Pomegranate as ornamental plant in home garden only.
Star Apple (Plae Teuk Dos)
There are many varieties of star apple, the purple and green are common. The fruit has got star pattern when cut into half, that’s why it’s called star apple. It also has milk-like water, so Cambodian called it milk fruit (Plae = fruit; Teuk Dos = milk). The flesh is aromatic, soft and sweet, but it has the sticky white latex on the skin layer which could stick onto your mouth. My way to eat star apple is after cut it into half, I use spoon to get it flesh.
Banana is native to tropical South and Southeast Asia. Today banana are cultivated throughout the tropics of about 107 countries. Mostly are grown for fruits. Banana are growing everywhere in Cambodia ,with various species, mostly provinces located along the Mekong river bank. Cultivation of banana in Cambodia is very common and has been a long period in the history. It’s among the important plantation cultivated in Cambodia. Mostly every house in the countryside, they will have at least several bunches of banana around their houses, within their vegetables farm. And there are also large scale of banana farms, especially in Kampong Cham province. Banana is ‘Chek’ in Khmer, and there are four main kinds of banana which are very popular to be grown in Cambodia, they are Chek Namva, Chek Pong Morn, Chek Amboung, Chek Snab Muk.
1. Chek Pong Morn (ចេកពងមាន់)
Chek Pong Morn means ‘chicken egg banana’, however it has got an English name called ‘Royal Banana’. Its scientific name is Musa Aromatica. Chek Pong Morn is among popular fruits used as offering in every Buddhist holy days. Especially, offering for Buddha God. It’s treated as a high rank banana among other as the flesh has got amazing fragrance and deeply sweet. Moreover, the color of ripe fruit is golden bright yellow, which looks very elegant. Thus Chek Pong Morn has been chosen as Cambodia’s national fruit and always commercially higher price than other kinds. So it’s popular for farmers who generally for commercial purpose. Chek Pong Morn are grown for fruit only. The plant is about 2-2.5m high and pseudostem is about 15-20 cm in diameter. Its life cycle is 5-6 months.
Even though Chek Pong Morn is sweeter compare to other. But it’s not chosen as daily consumption fruit. People would purchase it on occasions of annual ceremonies as offering. Because too much consumption of it could cause fever.
2. Chek Ambong (ចេកអម្បូង)
Chek Ambong is another banana species in Cambodia. The most widely grown is called Chek Ambong Khiev with green color skin even when it ripen. And another new species imported from other country is Chek Ambong Meas, the species with yellow skin when ripen. Check Ambong Meas has just been introduced to Cambodia farmers in recent years, the main purpose of growing it is for export.
The popular one for local consumption is Chek Ambong Khiev, which Cambodia people like to have it as sweet after meals or between meals. They believe that having one fruit of Chek Ambong every meal would help them for easy digestion of food.
Chek Ambong has bigger leaves and the leaves are dark green color. The plant is 2-3 meters high with 12-15 months of life cycle. The fruit are big and long at about 15cm. Chek Ambong is also grown for fruit only. One hand has about 20 fruits which cost about 5,000 Riels.
3. Chek Namva (ចេកណាំវ៉ា)
Chek Namva is the most grown banana species in Cambodia. It’s very popular for daily consumption, since all the Khmer snack and cakes that made of banana are using Chek Namva, and thus become very popular for farmers. The large banana farms are growing Chek Namva only. Because it’s not only growing for fruit, but almost every parts of it are in used.
Chek Namva ripe fruit is also used as offering to Chum Neang Ptas (God of the House), Stain (Lok Ta), and other Goddess, but except Buddha God. Ripe Chek Namva is eaten as fresh fruit every meal, it doesn’t has deeply sweet taste as Chek Pong Morn, so we can eat more of it within the day. Moreover, it is the lowest price banana with more benefits for health. Beside eaten fresh, Check Namva also be used in creating many Khmer simple delicious snack, cake, sweet such as Chek Khtis (banana coconut milk dessert), Chek Chheung (Banana cooked with sugar paste), Chek Chean (Fried banana), Chek Ang (Grilled banana), Chek Chhab (Sliced banana deep fried), Num Chek Bok (pounded banana cake), Num Ansom Chek (banana sticky rice cake).
When the fruit is unripe, it’s used as fresh vegetables for various Khmer dishes such as, Teuk Prohok, Teuk Kreung, Num Banh Chok, Teuk Kapik, Prohok Khtis, etc. And it’s also among vegetables for Khmer soup, Samlor Korko.
Banana leaves are spirally arranged, dark green oval-long shaped with about 2m in length and 60cm wide. Chek Namva leaf is used as leaf-bow for Amork, a special Khmer food, and used for wrapping or packing cakes like num ansom, num ansom chek, num bot, num kom, num chek bok, num lapov, num akor thnot, num slerk sros, etc.
The midrib of the banana leaves when dried, it can be used as string to tie vegetables into bunches or bundles and other use in the countryside. It’s also used to wave the hammock which is quite durable.
Each pseudomstem produces a single inflorescence or banana flower, where the fruit is growing out in a large hanging cluster known as bunch. The bunch has 5-15 hands with up to 20 fruits per hand. After this, the flower is cut from the bunch, leaving the fruits growing alone. Then the flower is eaten as raw vegetable, especially eating with Num banh chok samlor Khmer (Khmer noodle with Khmer soup), banana flower cannot be missed. Banana flower sour soup is also a typical daily dish of Khmer people. Banana flower is dip or steamed eating as vegetable with caramelized fish (ត្រីខ).
Young banana pseudostem (ដើមចេក) is used as decoration items or praying offerings in various religious ceremony, such as in Khmer New Year. On the table preparing for welcoming new year angel, there are two young banana pseudostem together with other offerings. The tender core of the banana plant’s trunk is also eaten as vegetable in Cambodia. People use it in making pickle with other vegetables and cook it in soup with prohok. Moreover, it’s a main source for cattle. People cook banana pseudostem with rice for pigs and it was pounded to be food for ducks.
In the occasion of Water Festival or Moon Festival, banana pseudostem is used to build a big lantern, putting on it many offerings and floating on the Tonle Sap river. In the countryside, children hanging on the banana pseudostem floating on the water surface to learn swimming.
The entrance of the reception hall of Khmer traditional wedding are decorated with two big banana pseudostems, which are bearing mature fruits. On the bunch of the fruits is sprayed with golden color, and the other with silver color. This traditional decoration is set up, because Khmer are agricultural families and banana is treated as important plant in their farms. Moreover, banana is very easy to grow, so they hope that the new couple’s life would growing fast as banana plant. The sprayed fruits of golden and silver is symbolized the wish to new married couple for wealth and luck.
4. Chek Snab Muk (ចេកស្នាប់មុខ)
Chek Snab Muk is a kind of banana can be eaten raw or cooked. But it’s nicer when cooked, with sticky yellow flesh. It’s a the only cooked banana that selling in the market. The fruit is bigger than Chek Namva with yellow skin as well, the flesh become yellow and more tough when cooked.
Durian or in Khmer we call ‘Turen’ (ទុរេន), is so called as ‘The King of Fruit’ because of the popularity of this fruit by southeast Asian people. It has an extremely pungent smell and an amazing sweet taste. Some people regard durian as fragrant, while other find the smell overpowering and offensive. Thus durian has become a fruit that was not allowed to bring into hotels in the region.
Durian used to be grown with seeds of trees bearing superior quality fruit, but modern technology in planting has changed to be propagated by grafting. It’s a strictly tropical tree and would stop growing when the temperature drops below 22ºC. It’s a seasonal fruit, the season of durian in Cambodia is between May to July. Durian trees are large, growing to 25-50 meters high depend on species. The leaves are evergreen elliptic to oblong and 10-18cm long. The flower grow out as clusters with 3-30 flowers together on large branches directly on the trunk. Durian trees become mature and bear fruit after 4-5 years. After pollination, the fruit need three months to grow. It shapes oblong or round with numerous sharp thorns on the husk, which can cause drawing blood. The color of the husk can be green or brown, depend on species.
Durian are left to fall from its tree as this is a sign that it is ripe. So wear a hardhat when you entering durian farm to avoid serious injury cause by falling durian. However, with grafting durian trees are not growing too high. So the fruits are cut from the tree and allow ripen while waiting to be sold. The durian that fall off the tree continues to ripen for two or four days, but after that it’s considered overripe.
In Cambodia, Kampot is considered home of durian. There is a traffic circle in Kep town, Kampot provincial, built with sculpture of many kinds of tropical fruits in Kampot. And durian is the biggest. However, in Kampong Cham province also have got the suitable soil and climate condition for durian plantation. Kampot durian is mot famous due to its natural smell and flavor with cultivation area of 750 hectares, mainly in Teuk Chhu district. One hectare can grow 100 trees with 30-50 fruits harvested every season. The Kampot durian is small compare to Kampong Cham durian, one fruit weight from 2kg-6kg. The cover is brown when ripe, its flesh is pale yellow and soft. The taste is special with richly creamy and very sweet. Kampong Cham durian are bigger in fruit, up to 8kg per fruit. The color of the husk is green, the flesh is bright yellow, crisper (less soft), and less creamy. I usually can eat a lot of Kampong Cham durian then Kampot durian, because it’s less creamy and less sweet.
Kampot durian are sold to country wide and also exported to Vietnam. During the harvest time, 1kg cost around 6,000 – 8,000 Riels. Would like to buy durian? It’s easy! It can be found in every market and roadside. During August there are less durian from Kampot but still has a lot from Kampong Cham. Anyway the price at this time is up to 12,000 Riels to 15,000 Riels per kilogram.
How to choose a good durian fruit
A big, solid stem is a sign of freshness. So when buying durian in a whole fruit, must examine the quality of the stem. Or you can shake the fruit whether you can hear the sound of the seeds moving inside, it’s the sign that the durian is very ripe.
The flesh of durian can be eaten raw and used to flavour a wide variety of savory and sweet edibles. In Cambodia, durian are mainly eat fresh as fruit. And there is a kind of dessert called ‘Bay dom nerb turen’, it’s sticky rice with durian paste. Beside these, there are durian ice-cream, durian cracker, durian mooncake, durian milkshakes, etc. The seeds can also be eaten when cooked, tastes like yam, but stickier.
Some health benefit of durian
Durian contains high level of sugar, good source of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, a good source of raw fat. It also contains high level of iron which helps the white blood cells in our body make specific chemicals process that kill off the yeast infections. Amino acid, Vitamin B, C and E are also found in durian. Especially Tryptophan, a kind of amino acids, which help maintain serotonin level in the body. People with low serotonin levels tend to have short tempers and suffer from depression. Recent researches have claimed that durian can help lower cholesterol and cleanse the blood, cure jaundice and alleviate fevers.
Pineapple is growing abudantly in all over country of Cambodia. In Khmer we call pineapple as ‘Mnors’. The famous one is Honey pineapple ‘Mnors teuk khmom’, in which there are two various kinds.
Honey pineapple growing in Steung Treng province is a kind of pineapple bearing bigger fruits, large stripes and more flesh with a strong and sweet taste. This kind of species is from Laos and it has been giving good harvest when growing in red soil of Steung Treng province, each fruit can be weight up to 8kg.
As I was driving a cross a local market last weekend, I have noticed there were many sugar apples selling. Then it remind me that now is the seasonal of sugar apple in Cambodia. Sugar apple also named sweetsop, or custard apple. Its scientific name is Anonna Squamosa. Sugar apple has a Khmer name called Plae Teab (ផ្លែទៀប).