Salak Bali (Salacca zalacca var. amboinensis) is a snake fruit cultivar that grows and cultivated in Bali, Indonesia. It belongs to the species of salacca zalacca with var. (variety) of amboinensis. As stated in several local agricultural sites, the fruit is originating from Sibetan village, Bali.
This is the only monoecious snake fruit plant in the world. It has pistils and stamens in one flower. Thus makes the cultivar to self-pollinate without the help of wind, insects or even humans. This superiority makes Salak Bali cultivation a lot easier than the other snake fruit cultivars. So, if you want to plant snake fruit trees, this cultivar is the best option to start.
Salak Bali is indigenous to Sibetan Village, Bebandem, Karangasem, Bali. The village is located at an altitude of 500-600 masl (metres above sea level) with temperatures ranging around 20 to 30 degrees Celsius. This is a dry area with a wet climate and laterite soil. It makes the area very suitable for Salak plantation.
15 Different varieties of Salak Bali
As reported in a number of fruit and agricultural sites, Salak Bali has 15 different varieties. However, some of these varieties are very rare. But still, you can find some of them in Bali.
1. Salak Gula Pasir
Salak Gula Pasir is the variety that produces the smallest fruit, yet it is actually the sweetest among Salak Bali cultivar. As the name suggests “Gula Pasir” or “Sanding Sugar” in English, it tastes almost as sweet as sugar when fully ripens.
The fruit is rather round in shape and has a blackish brown skin color. Just like the other snake fruit cultivars or varieties, soft spine covers its skin. The pulp is white, not too thick, and unlike Salak Pondoh, it doesn’t have a thin layer of membrane.
The fruit is sweet and has quite a lot of water, that’s why sometimes it is fermented into Salak Wine containing 13.5% alcohol.
When visiting Bali during the snake fruit season, you can buy the fruit as much as Rp 13.000-25.000 or around 1-2 U.S. Dollar. The season starts in February and lasts until March. However, when not in season the price could reach around Rp 60.000-90.000 per kg or around 6-9 U.S. Dollar.
Salak Gula Pasir is commonly available in Bali’s fruits and veggie shop, but if you’re looking for a more cheaper alternative, you may visit the Sindhu traditional market.
Just in case if you’re about to leave Bali and forget to buy the snake fruit as a souvenir, you may also buy it in the Ngurah Rai International Airport with a higher price, of course. In the Airport, 900 gram of Salak Gula Pasir will cost you Rp 80.000 or 8 U.S. Dollar.
2. Salak Getih
The fruit named after its flesh color. Getih is the Javanese language for “Darah” in Bahasa or “Blood” in English.
Salak Getih can be characterized from its red pulp. At glance, it looks the same as the others. However, the striking red pulp color is what distinguishes it. In addition, the size is slightly larger than Salak Gula Pasir.
Despite having a thick and appealing pulp color, the taste is slightly sour.
3. Salak Cengkeh
Salak Cengkeh is somewhat similar to the other varieties, even though the fruit is relatively small and has a more rounded shape.
The taste is slightly different, kind of spicy and has the aroma of clove. It usually used as a medicine for stomach pain among the farmers. But despite that, Salak Cengkeh is actually a rare variety of Balinese Salak.
4. Salak Bingin
Salak Bingin has the most unique characteristics among Salak Bali cultivar. The tree somewhat is different than the others. It is relatively small and has curly leaves. It also do not produces fruit.
At first sight, it almost looks like a Banyan tree. The unique appearance makes it often used as an ornamental plant instead. Since the tree is small, so it is very suitable for a Bonsai plant.
As a consequence of the in-commodity, snake fruit farmers are rarely cultivating the Bingin’s variety.
5. Salak Gondok
This is the most commonly traded snake fruit in Bali. When we talk about Salak Bali, most likely we are talking about Salak Gondok. The shape is rather round with a tapered base.
The skin color is reddish brown and if you peel it, you can see its yellowish white pulp. The pulp itself is thick and tastes sweet and fresh.
The seeds are small, and when the fruit is fully ripens, the seed doesn’t stick with the pulp anymore. So, when you shake it, you will hear the sound of its seed moving inside the fruit.
6. Salak Nanas
Salak Nanas has a very similar shape and skin to Salak Gondok. It has a yellowish brown skin color, but when you peel it, the pulp will look better than Salak Gondok. The fruit is thick and runny. It tastes sweeter yet sour, just like a pineapple.
7. Salak Nangka
Salak Nangka has a large and plumped yellowish brown skin color. When peeled, the pulp is thick and watery. It has a distinctive Jackfruit-like aroma.
Sometimes, the fruit has several brown lines, but that is okay because it actually means that the fruit is sweeter.
The people of Sibetan village also call it Salak Porong. This is the runner up of the most favorite Salak in Bali. In terms of price, Salak Nangka is not as expensive as Salak Gula Pasir.
8. Salak Injin
Salak Injin has a reddish brown skin color. It is more rounded than Salak Nanas even though it has a similar size. Meanwhile, the production is not as much as Salak Nanas.
9. Salak Ketan Hitam
Salak Ketan Hitam is another snake fruit that looks like Salak Nanas in the outside. However, when the fruit is peeled, the flesh color is black.
When the fruit gets more mature, the color will spreads even more, making the whole flesh black. That is why it is called Ketan Hitam (Black sticky rice).
10. Salak Gading (Salak Bule)
Salak Gading has its own uniqueness that no other snake fruit has. The fruit has yellowish-white skin color, therefore people also call it Salak Bule. The taste is less sweet and a little bit sour.
11. Salak Embadan
The shape of this fruit is similar to Jackfruit Salak, but it has more water content. In the past, this Salak Bali was one of the favorit snake fruit of the King of Karangasem. That is why this snake fruit is named King Salak. But, the production is not much so you can only see this Salak in Sibetan Hamlet now.
12. Salak Biji Putih
The characteristic of this Salak is similar to Jackfruit Salak. The difference is located in the seeds, where the seed of White Seed Salak is white even when it is old or over-ripe. The taste is not good so this might not be good for consumption.
13. Salak Maong
In Balinese, Maong literally means dirty. The name is derived from that because the skin of this Salak has several patches of white that makes the fruit looks dirty.
14. Salak Penyalin
Compared to the other Salak, this fruit has a larger leaf. The fruit can be identified by its yellowish brown color, similar to the color of a whip.
15. Salak Mesui
The size and shape of this variety closely similar to Salak Gondok. However, the different characteristic is that the taste of Salak Mesui has the aroma of a cinnamon tree.