What Is Snake Fruit, Also Known as Salak? (Origin, Nutrition and Benefits)

Last updated: August 11, 2022

In my quest to find new exciting fruits to try out, I had the pleasure of eating snake fruit during my recent travels through Southeast Asia.

While snake fruit, also known as salak, is perhaps not as delicious and refreshing as other exotic fruits I’ve tried in the past, I was pleasantly surprised by this fruit’s unique flavors and texture.

In this article, we’re going to find out more about the rather unique snake fruit, its origins, nutritional profile, and potential benefits.

Keen to find more of these fruits to try out? Check out my list of exotic fruits for many more tropical treats that you may have never seen or eaten before.

What Is a Snake Fruit?

The snake fruit is produced by the salak tree, a palm tree family native to Sumatra and Java in Indonesia.

Salak is now also being cultivated in other regions in and around Indonesia, resulting in different variations of the fruit.

The shape and size of a snake fruit resemble that of a fig, with a distinct tip. But it’s the fruit’s dark, scaly skin that gave it its name.

Salak fruits on table
Salak fruits

Perhaps the best spot to find, and taste, snake fruit is Bali, one of Indonesia’s most popular tourist destinations. The fruit is quite popular there, just like many other tropical fruits.

Otherwise, you will most likely also be able to find the fruit in Bangkok and other popular areas in Thailand.

How to Eat Snake Fruit?

The best way to eat a snake fruit is by removing the stem and then cracking the fruit open. You can then simply peel off the skin.

What’s interesting is that the inside of a snake fruit looks a bit like large garlic cloves. Once you’ve peeled one, you will understand what I mean!

Inside you will see three lobes, two larger ones and a smaller one. The larger ones have seeds in them, which are not edible. In some cases, the smaller lobe also contains a seed.

Flesh of snake fruit
Flesh of snake fruit

The lobes are covered in a film-like layer, similar to a boiled and peeled egg. This layer should be removed before eating.

The texture of the flesh of the lobes is a bit like that of an apple. Depending on the type and ripeness of the fruit, the texture varies from crunchy to crumbly, with a mix of bitter, acidic, and sweet flavors.

Nutritional Profile and Benefits

The salak fruit has quite an interesting nutritional profile, and it is particularly high in iron, phosphorus, vitamin C, and calcium.

Even more surprising is that the fruit contains almost 1 gram of dietary fiber per 100 grams.

Snake fruit cut in half
Snake fruit cut in half

The below nutritional profile is taken from Wikipedia, but it doesn’t appear to be fully complete.

A complete list of nutrients proves hard to find, but according to other sources, the fruit also contains reasonable amounts of potassium and vitamins B1 and B2.

Snake fruit (raw – 100 g)
Energy: 368 cal
Protein: 0.8 g
Fat: 0.4 g
Dietary fiber: 0.3 g
Iron: 3.9 mg (30% DV)
Calcium: 38 mg (4% DV)
Phosphorus: 18 mg (3% DV)
Vitamin C: 8.4 mg (10% DV)
Source: Wikipedia

Benefits

Snake fruit is also often referred to as the “memory fruit”, supposedly due to its potassium content.

Potassium is a mineral that supports various types of body functions, including the brain’s memory function.

Snake fruit
Snake fruit

The calcium in snake fruit supports the health, structure, and functioning of our teeth and bones, and iron helps to preserve vital functions in the body, including maintaining energy levels and focus.

I should also mention that, according to several sources, snake fruit supposedly has anti-diarrheal properties. In other words, eating too much of this fruit can lead to constipation. How interesting!

Last but not least, like so many other fruits, salak offers antioxidants that help our bodies combat and prevent illnesses.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, an introduction to snake fruit, another exotic treat you may have never seen or heard of before.

I genuinely love discovering fruits (and vegetables) that are just a bit different and more unique than what we can find in our local supermarkets. Check out my list of unusual vegetables, for example, if you’re keen to try out some new veggies.

Our planet has so much to offer when it comes to fruits and vegetables, and each has its own identity, with a unique set of nutrients and flavors.

If you like snake fruit, you may also be interested in cherimoya fruit. That’s another exotic treat that actually tastes really good, especially compared to salak.

 

Discover snake fruit aka salak (nutrition and benefits)

 
Donna Harrison

My name is Donna Harrison, and I created this blog because I am passionate about discovering new foods and learning everything about them. I am also a bit of a smoothie fanatic, and I try to document all my favorite smoothies and other recipes here on Healthy Food Tribe, in addition to recommendations and reviews of my favorite kitchen tools.

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