Tiny, cherry-sized plums.
I have glorious things to write and share on the internet, I do (at least in my head). Unfortunately, it’s been all stomach cramps and headaches since a bout of bad Italian food on Saturday night, and the words are not flowing as they should. Rather than go radio silent, I thought I’d simply share a few photos of some plums I picked up from fruit lady, thinking they were cherries because of their color and size.
I can’t find any information about these small guys on the internet, and I can’t remember what fruit lady called them in Thai. It’s quite possible the plums were imported from Northern climes, as they cost a bit more than the normal bags of prepared fruit and the friendly neighborhood fruit stand had quite the stock of exotics–apples!– on this particular day. Let’s just pretend that they’re Thai so I can add it to this series, okay? Okay.
The anatomy of a cherry-sized plum purchased in Thailand is the same as their hearty counterparts lining supermarket stores in the spring all over the USA. Sweet, soft flesh surrounds a hard pit, while a taut skin protects the fruit from the elements. These plums had a dark maroon base color broken up by flecks of red, orange, even yellow. The small bag that I purchased contained plums sweeter and more juicy than most of the large, hard, overly engineered supermarket varieties I’ve eaten stateside. Whether this is a function of their size or their cultivation/engineering (or lack thereof), I’m not sure. All I know was that I liked them. And that I resent styrofoamy fruit in the US.
Though a few sour fruits peppered the bag, I assumed the majority of the plums would be on the tart side, given the broader range of fruit ripeness considered desirable in Thailand and the small bag of sugary dip provided alongside. I’m not sure of the exact protocol, but generally, sour fruits come with a mostly sweet, slightly salty dip with perhaps a bit of shrimp essence thrown in for good measure. Acidic fruits (like pomelo) are paired with a dip that’s a bit spicy in addition to the sweet saltiness. Sweet strawberries get macerated in a heavenly salty marinade.
Thailand has an abundance of fruit condiments, all trying to provide that telltale Thai balance to fruits that can favor one flavor over the rest. One day, when my stomach isn’t roiling from anything aside from ice cream and mangos, I’ll tell you all about them.
- A collection of three Thai fruit dips from She Simmer: Fruit Dips, Thai Style
- A recipe for Nam Pla Wan, the savory shrimp dip often served with green mangos.