I feel a bit sorry for The Engineer. He’s busy working through the week, and when it comes to Friday, the last thing on his mind is a challenge. I try to remind him that this is his chance to make me do some weird things, and to get me back for preserved egg week. But still, it seems to slip his mind. And last week it was made worse by the fact that I had a terrible cold from Wednesday to Saturday (we had to miss the Borneo Jazz Festival because of it, and I’m still a little bitter about it). On Friday he felt too bad to challenge me. I actually wanted him to. I thought that when I had a blocked nose was the PERFECT time to try something a little bit disgusting. But instead I slept, and he entertained himself setting up a new music thingy on the laptop (I’m usually fairly tech-savvy, but when it comes to organising music and iTunes and updating and syncing, I’m the opposite, and very happy to leave it up to him). Long story short, we got to Sunday, and still no challenge had been set. We had popped over to Malaysia (as you do) to get me a new desk chair, and he decided to visit a Malaysian supermarket to see what caught his eye.
And what ended up catching his eye was the dried fruit candy aisle. (I don’t really know what to call this, but in every Malaysian and Bruneian supermarket we’ve been to there’s a section that contains bags of brightly coloured dried fruits. The way they’re set up always makes me think of candy, and they’re definitely sugared, but they do all appear to be dried fruits). This was a section we hadn’t explored much, so he picked out a selection of the funkiest looking packets. We ended up with a dried mango, something labelled Buah Limau (which Google Translate tells me is Citrus Fruit), and something labelled Buah Kana (on which Google Translate has nothing to offer).
He wasn’t overly happy with his selection. I was quite delighted. “Dried fruit” I thought, “This should be an easy one!”
But that smile was quickly wiped off my face when I tried the dried mango. It was extremely dried, rough, and hard to chew. And the taste certainly wasn’t like mango. I don’t particularly like mango, but it would have been far preferable to the salty, sour, slightly fruity flavour of this snack. The combination of the flavour, and the texture, meant that after what felt like a minute of chewing, I could no longer handle it, and I spat it out.
Yes, you read that right. I ate a Century Egg, but I spat out a piece of dried mango.
The red one was next. And it was an improvement. Particularly in the texture. It was just like a dried apricot/whatever in texture. It looked a little bit like a strawberry, but I still don’t actually know what it was. The flavour was (once again) sour, salty, and sweet. I wouldn’t bother eating another piece of it, but this one stayed in my mouth.
And last but not least was the orange one. Apparently citrus fruit, but I don’t believe it for a second. I grabbed this one, took a bite, and then made several different confused expressions (as evidenced in the photos below). The reason I was confused was the texture. It was hard. Like, really quite hard. And it had a massive stone in the middle. The texture wasn’t bad, but it was certainly surprising when I was expecting a piece of dried fruit, and possibly citrus fruit at that. The redeeming feature of this orange dude was the flavour. This one was actually kinda nice. I think it’s because it was missing the salty note that was so unusual in the first two. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some salty and sweet – peanut butter chocolate, kettle corn, etc. but salty + sweet + sour is quite strange for my palate (although quite common here).
My comments after tasting?:
“Well, I definitely never expected the dried mango to be the first of these challenges that I spat out!”
And really, there isn’t much more to say than that.