One of my favourite things to do in new countries is visit the local convenience and grocery stores to see what seemingly odd creations or local treats are on offer.
Borneo definitely didn’t disappoint when it came to trying some new foods and drinks, although I can’t say I acquired a liking for all of them!
Visiting a roadside fruit market was a great way to get some free samples of various tropical treats. Borneo was the first place I had fresh mangosteens – amazing! But my favourite fruit surprise, partly because of it’s nickname, was the snake-skin fruit.
They literally look like scaly snake skin on the outside, but are tasty on the inside – kind of like a crunchy, sweet apple. The real name of the fruit is salak and they’re pretty popular around Indonesia and Malaysia.
Stocking up on different brands of crackers and sweets helps pass the time on long bus rides. I have a few weak spots for snacking when I travel – pringles chips (they’re everywhere!), fresh cashews (they’re so expensive at home) and a strangely compulsive need to order shrimp cocktail appetizers wherever I can find them.
Borneo didn’t disappoint on the cashews or shrimp cocktails, but I had the worst pringles chips ever – twice! First was shrimp-flavoured pringles. I thought they’d be amazing, like shrimp crackers at a Thai restaurant. Nope.
They were hideously horrible, I couldn’t eat them. I don’t even know how to describe the fake shrimp flavouring, it was so bad. I should have learned my lesson but then I tried the soft-shell crab flavoured pringles. They were just as bad.
Lots of Tiger beer! But I tried a few different sodas and teas that I hadn’t had before. I also love going somewhere tropical like Borneo and finding drinking water with penguins on the label. Sold!
The various crysthanamum tea and soft drinks I had were quite enjoyable, some other flavoured sodas like ‘Grass Jelly Drink’ (which includes corn starch, cincau and liquorice extract) and ‘Soursop’ (a fizzy soda with salt added) were one-time only for me.
The real winner of the snack and drink tasting in Borneo? Kickapoo Joy Juice. What a great name, even if it comes from an American beverage company! It’s basically your average citrus-flavoured carbonated beverage, but it easily has the best looking design and most amusing name.