I get the munchies during films or those travel TV programmes where someone goes off on a big adventure somewhere far off where I've never visited or would probably never do so. I generally turn to crisps and chocolate first, but regular readers may remember my quest to find a healthy snack food. I love olives, pickled eggs and my latest favourite are pickled onions from Morrison's called; "The Best", and I assure you they are. A while back I had Pickled Makok, an almost inedible hard as nails fruit that hardly melted in my mouth.
I took my self down to the same Chinese supermarket to see if I could find anything softer than makok. The first jar I picked up was Pickled Eggplant. Wikipedia told me these are classed as berries and native to India (although some citations were needed in places....!). Eggplants are also richer in nicotine than any other edible plant, though smokers don't get too excited, as it would take 9kg of eggplant to match the nicotine level of one cigarette. I could see why they call them eggplants from the little cream egg shaped berries in the jar. Eggplants come in all shapes and sizes, in cream and in black. The eggplants in the jar where about half the size of an actual chicken's egg. Popping one in my mouth I found the berry itself almost as hard as Pickled Makok, but just as bitter and as I tried to mash it with my teeth it became a solid inedible blob in my mouth that I just had to spit out. Not an experience I'd like to repeat, unless stuck in the wilderness in some Asian country and faced with eggplant or death.
Pickled Galanga or Blue Ginger is a Rhizome or root of plants of the genus Alpinia originating from Indonesia (good old Wikipedia...). After eating I learnt that this root is mainly used for cooking, and is used in Tom Yum soup, which is one of my favourite soups of all time. As the root has been cut into small slices they look like small cream coloured hard rounded slabs. On eating the Galanga I found it was even harder than eggplant and makok. There is a bitter, but not as bitter as ginger, and slightly soupy taste to Galanga. Once chewed a few times it turns into the same hard inedible type of mush similar to the eggplant. It's much like eating oddly flavoured carpet. I had to spit this out also, and decided that I'd stick to olives, pickled eggs and pickled onions for healthy snacks from now on. I'm not sure my teeth or my poor tummy could take any more pickled oriental weirdness...