On the juice

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 January, 2012, 12:00am


On a recent trip to Malaysia, I was thrilled to taste refreshing calamansi juice once again. It's a fruit I tend to forget about except when travelling in Southeast Asia because it's very hard to find in Hong Kong. Although tiny, the calamansi lime has a taste that's tart, strong and distinctive. The fruit - usually sold green (although it turns orange when ripe) - has thin skin, pale golden-orange flesh and lots of seeds and membranes. Calamansi is used in the cuisines of the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, so your best bet in finding them would be to visit the Southeast Asian shops in Wan Chai and Kowloon City.

Because calamansi limes are difficult to 'juice' because of their small size, a refreshing drink can be made of bottled concentrated syrup that's mixed with sugar or honey: you just need to add cold water. If you do have the fresh fruit, cut a couple of them in quarters, place them in a glass and crush them with a spoon before topping off with cold fizzy water and adding sugar syrup to taste. The drink is even better if you add a whole wah mui to the glass: the preserved plum gives a sweet-sour-salty dimension.

Fresh calamansi is delicious squeezed over fried noodles and certain types of rich Southeast Asian curries. For fried meat and seafood, make an easy dipping sauce by squeezing calamansi over salt and pepper, then stirring the ingredients together.