Penang has been famous for its ‘buah jeruk’ pickles for many years. Nothing says Penang more than the sweet and sour pickled fruits known simply as ‘buah jeruk’ which leaves fans craving for. It is said that this is due to nutmeg growing in abundance in Penang, which is one of the main pickle options.
Pickled fruits are not something new or original to Penang as various versions of pickles from fruits to vegetables are available all over the world but somehow, in Malaysia, Penang has become the place to buy some of the best jeruk.
Over here in Penang, the pickled fruits that are particularly favoured are those made from local fruits such as nutmeg, papaya, guava, zalacca edulis and mango. Some of these pickles are undeniably very tasty especially the mangoes and nutmeg.
Interestingly, though these fruits may be pickled to last, the best kinds are those that are freshly pickled, and locals prefer to frequent pickle stalls known to have fresh stock of the pickles on any given day.
The making of pickled fruits is simple enough; fresh sliced fruits are soaked in brine and later drained and rinsed before being soaked in syrup. The amount of brine and syrup used differs from stall to stall so some are sweeter while some may be more sour.
The pickles are often eaten just as snacks, and though it is often thought to be something only pregnant women crave, some men also enjoy it too because of the unique sweet and sour taste mingled with the crunchy flavours of the fruit.
The best thing about these pickled fruits has to be the retained crunchiness. Take the pickled papaya, as an example. It is a soft fruit in nature, but after pickling the somewhat unripe papaya, it acquires a crunchy texture and the flavour is one that is sweet and sour both from the pickling process and the natural sweetness of the fruit.
When in Penang, checkout the variety of this pickle to eat or take away as gifts for your family or friends back home. Many of the pickle are readily available at market stall, bazaars, supermarkets, specialty shops and stalls at the jetty.
The market stalls at Chowrasta Market is fame for the variety of pickled fruits sold there. These pickled foodstuff had long been local favourites and today are popular with visitor to the island.
For abundance of choices, most people visit Chowrasta Market for their fill of jeruk:
Chowrasta Market, Penang Road (8am-7pm)