Sunday, March 1, 2009
Penang Nutmeg & Kiam Sui Thi
Nutmeg or Myristica fragrans, is a type of tropical fruit commonly planted in North-west of Penang Island, near Teluk Pahang and Balik Pulau. It is egg or oval shaped and dark brown colour outside. The nutmeg is important for two source of spices , nutmeg and mace. Nutmeg is the actual fruit, it has warm spicy sweet flavor and edible; mace is from the dry reddish net like covering of the seed. There are nutmeg plantation in Teluk Pahang, Penang.
In Penang, Nutmeg is normally used as Kiam Sui Tee or (salty, sour & sweet or 3S) which are pickling, dried or powder coated form(called kum chooe, a plum based powder). The 3S is popular for locals.
It is also used as medical oils or cream make from mace. It is reported to be effective in alleviating headaches, nausea, colds, stomach aches, minor burns, dry cough and stomach gas.(note: this is traditional typical Chinese treatment from a natural source, mainly for external use). Tourist from Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong normally like to buy it as gift for their families or older folks.
Recently, Penang people use it for nutmeg juice drink, nutmeg drink is now starting to be popular. There are two types of juice drink, one they called white nutmeg juice drink, just the juice from the fresh nutmeg fruit, it is a wholesome drink with the strong aroma of the fruit. I first tried it at a coffee shop near Pitt Street, the shop famous for eel fish ball koay teow Th'g or koay teow soup. It taste good. The other type is the dark nutmeg drink,where the nutmeg fruit was boiled with rock sugar for the fruit juices. My wife use to prepare it, the left over (or residue) from the process of extraction of the nutmeg juice can be used for sweet dessert.
One of the reputable nutmeg products dealer is Cheong Kim Chuan, which is an old establishment in Penang.
You can buy kiam Sui Thi inside Chowrasta market, Penang Road; a corner shop at Penang Road; and the shops along the steps leading to Kek Lok Si temple.