Saturday, March 9, 2013

Jackfruit and Durian Chips - Snacks from Thailand

I was in Thailand recently accompanying a school trip. One afternoon I tried these dried fruit chips from the hotel shop. I picked up two types: durian chips and jackfruit chips. Each packet cost me THB 40, which is about GBP 0.90 or USD 1.35. As I consumed my snack, I took tasting notes for you. Read on to find out more.

Durian is known to be a very smelly fruit. (When I pass it on the market stalls in Hong Kong I sometimes hold my breath.) So I opened the packet gingerly. But there was no unpleasant odour, or any smell at all, when I ripped it open.

Durian is reportedly an aphrodisiac (source: The Visual Food Lover's Guide, QA International, 2009). The whole fruit is very big (football-sized) and has a spiky skin. The flesh inside is creamy and pale. In Asia, durian is eaten with sticky rice and in China it's used in pastries.

The durian chips were very thin (about 2 mm) and crispy. They were a little salty. I don't read Thai, but I think the ingredients are listed just above the bar code and I think the two added ingredients are 2% salt and 0.5% something else (a preservative, probably, or maybe sugar). The durian chips tasted a lot like potato or root vegetable chips, and I think they would be great with a savoury dip.

Jackfruits are also very large and have a strong smell. They can be eaten as a vegetable before they are ripe and as a fruit when mature. The jackfruit chips were crunchy and thicker (about 4 mm thick). They were not salted (as you can see from the ingredients list below). They were much sweeter, and reminded me of dried banana chips. They were airy in texture, and not at all dense. I can imagine they would be good crumbled on top of yogurt and sprinkled with coconut flakes.

My packet of jackfruit chips was also certified halal.

I enjoyed both the durian and jackfruit chips. However, neither of them tasted as exotic as I expected. They were quite plain and didn't have the strong tastes or smells I was expecting.

Have you ever eaten durian or jackfruit? Do you like dried fruit?

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