Belimbing Asam

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

belimbing asam Averrhoa bilimbi, a fruit-bearing tree, native to Malaysia, which has no English name. ‘Asam’ refers to the sourness of the fruit, which is related to the sweeter carambola. The fruit is also distinguishable by its smooth, unridged, yellowish-green skin, looking a little like a gherkin.

Juicy and acid, the fruit is used in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines for making pickles, e.g. the Malay sunti; in curries; and for stewing as a vegetable. In Indonesia it is caramelized with sugar to make a sweetmeat known as manisan (something sweet). The sour flavour which it imparts to a dish is well liked in the region. Dried slices of the fruit are available in the markets, and the fruit can be bought in candied form in the Philippines.