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Emping Belinjo

It seems my last trip to Global Foods was all about Asian snack food.

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I didn’t intend it to be, but this is what I came home with:
Snow pea crisps, I love, love , love snow pea crisps! Coconut dipped Pocky. Coconut flavor coated peanuts. And my new-to-me item was Emping Belinjo. Or, at least I thought it was new.

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I wasn’t sure what I was buying. The picture on the box indicated it was some sort of nut or fruit. But the box was very light and rattled.

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The ingredient list was short and the main ingredient was listed by its botanical name. So, no clues there.

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The side of the box (in a slightly flawed translation) suggested that I would need to fry something.

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Emping Belinjo (or sometimes with an M – Melinjo) are small crisp crackers made from the fruit of a Belinjo (gnetum gnemon) tree. Called a Belinjo in Bahasa Indonesian, this is exactly the same tree that is knows as Bago in the Philippines. The tree is an evergreen that has fruit about one inch long and shaped like a very large bean. The ripe red fruit are boiled then pounded and dried into flat little white disks.

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I’ve enjoyed these little crisps in Indonesian style restaurants. (I like them much more than the fish crackers in Thai restaurants.) But it never occurred to me that I could get them in the Indonesian snack aisle at Global Foods. Or that I would need to fry them myself. The disks, once completely dried, are flash fried – literally only 2-3 seconds on each side in a little bit of oil.

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They have the texture and weight of homemade potato chips. They are crunchy crisp and have an immediate nutty sweet taste. But there is a long-lingering bitter aftertaste. I can see how they could easily become as addicting as potato chips.

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Comments (3)

Sharona:

I need to go with you for your next field trip to Global Foods. Sadly, I have never been (bad St.Louisan).

amy:

You are a far, far braver woman than I.

Have you seen the blog So You Don't have to? the humor is pure 16 year old boy (butt jokes and the like) but the vids are hysterical as he tries the mysterious stuff one finds in import stores.

Dan:

You can cook dry emping in the microwave. I put 5 to 6 "discs" for 45 secs. Keep an eye on them so they don't overcook and burn. Once they stop expanding they are ready to enjoy - oil free

Deborah responds:
Thanks for the hint, Dan. I'm going to try this!

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