Zentraveler on breadfruit and jackfruit!

Bantayan Island breadfruit

When I was backpacking around in Central America I first discovered the breadfruit along the coast of Belize and learned if prepared right… it is delicious to eat. The trees are extremely large and can have a few hundred pounds of fruit hanging from its branches. My Rastafarian friend invited me to his house for lunch where we sipped home-made palm wine as his mother did her magic in the outdoor kitchen. I love the smells and offerings that come from the mystery pots and cherish every time I am invited to eat anywhere in the world with the local cuisine. Many times you can offer to purchase the raw ingredients and beverages and enjoy a home cooked meal like you never had before…candied yams, fried bananas, and breadfruit or jackfruit severed as a delicacy.

Now that I am living in the Philippines I see the trees at various places spread around Bantayan Island and see the large fruit turning up at the local vegetable and fruit market in Bantayan. Upon several communications with the locals the fruit here is jackfruit and although related to breadfruit is somewhat different.

Large breadfruit Tree

I just returned from Davao, which is the Durian capital of the Philippines, and had the opportunity to eat jackfruit on several occasions and found it very tasty. At one of the local restaurants they had bowls of fresh fruit with unlimited offerings and I can say I certainly enjoyed trying the different fruits and learning how to open and enjoy these wild-looking exotics that are grown readily in the Davao area. It certainly helps to be with a local Philippino… so you can get the skinny on what you are eating and experiencing. Jackfruits, breadfruit, and durian are large green fruits sometimes larger than a volleyball and can complement any meal or be eaten on their own. There are many fruit markets and street vendors situated throughout the Philippines, so you will never be too far away from some great fresh fruits.

After the tasting experience in Davao area I will now add jackfruit as an alternative meal choice, since sometimes because of the eating habits of a lot of the Philippines, who love pork, it is rather difficult to stick to a veggie type diet. I am not a strict vegetarian, however I eat almost no red meat and try to eat a mediterranean diet… which includes:tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy salads, seafood, and chicken. The rich growing areas in the Philippines produce some of the best tasting fruits and veggies in the world… so it’s completly up to you to seek out the fresh fruit markets and experiment with these wild exotics. Yum! Yum!

Definition: Enormous and prickly on the outside, jackfruit looks somewhat like durian (though jackfruit is usually even larger). Once a jackfruit is cracked open, what you will find inside are pods or “bulbs”. Often referred to as the seeds, these bulbs are actually a kind of fleshy covering for the true seeds or pits, which are round and dark like chesnuts. The fleshy part (the “bulb”) can be eaten as is, or cut up and cooked. When unripe (green), it is remarkably similar in texture to chicken, making jackfruit an excellent vegetarian substitute for meat. In fact, canned jackfruit (in brine) is sometimes referred to as “vegetable meat”.

So there you have it ! Discovering new food and tastes is part of the overall travel experience. Many of my x-pat friends still rely on red meat and French fries and I keep telling them man you are really missing out on some wonderful eating experiences… and then they reply but I just got five kilos of frozen Hungarian sausage. To each their own— but why not try new foods and discover for yourself… what some of these locally grown fruits and veggies have to offer.

Local breadfruit

Disclaimer: This website is simply the writers views and is not an attempt to practice medicine or provide specific medical or health advice and should not be used to make a diagnosis or to replace or overrule a qualified health care provider’s judgment. None of the statements on zentraveler are to be understood as a recommendation on how to treat any disease or health related condition. If you require medical or other assistance Zentraveler strongly encourages users to consult with a qualified health care professional.

QUOTE:A Zen blessing at mealtime: “In this plate of food, I see the entire universe supporting my existence.”

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) also known as jakfruit, jaca, and nangka, is a tropical tree originally from western India. It is a member of the mulberry family, and a relative of the bread fruit.

The jack fruit is a melon shaped starchy vegetable that can reach a length of 3 feet, and weigh up to 100 pounds, making it the largest tree-borne fruit in the world. The fruits grow both from the tree trunk and from branches in the tree. They have a rough spiny skin and the uncut ripe fruit has a strong unpleasant smell, resembling rotting onions – but the cut fruit has a strong aroma similar to papaya or pineapple.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Breadfruit and jackfruit seedlings! Then plant them and help make our planet greener and more self-sustaining.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Eat more breadfruit and jackfruit to spice up your life!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone!

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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