At the Ethnic Market highlights international specialty foods and ingredients that you're very unlikely to find at your local Gristedes

One of our favorite things to do at Asian markets is try out unusual snacks. Many of these goodies combine salty, sweet and often fishy flavors. And some, such as salted plums are made from preserved fruit. Our latest find in this vein is Buah Pala Bersalut Gula, or sugar-coated nutmeg. We found ours at a shop on the second level of the Flushing Mall.


While Westerners are most familiar with nutmeg as a spice used to spruce up egg nog or as a key ingredient in Béchamel sauce, it plays an important role in Malaysian cuisine. Apparently, it's also a snack food. In case you didn't look closely at the photo, it bears pointing out that Gothamist is not referring to munching on sugar-coated whole nutmegs, which are the seed of an evergreen tree, but rather the shredded fruit of said tree.

As soon we opened the bag of sugary beige shreds, so much nutmeg perfumed the air that we thought we were at some sort of nutmeg aromatherapy session. The fruit itself was pleasingly crunchy with a sweet, slightly salty flavor. It also packed such a nutmeg wallop, that we couldn't possibly imagine eating handfuls of this stuff. After chewing on bit some our mouth felt slightly anesthetized.

Perhaps a better use for Buah Pala Bersalut Gula would be as an ice-cream topping. If you'll excuse us, we're off to buy a pint of frozen vanilla goodness.

Flushing Mall, 133-31 39 Avenue, (718) 762-9000