Month: July 2017

Jul29

Whenever you walk along the fruits and vegetables section in a supermarket, chances are you’re not seeing all of the delicious, sweet fruits that the mother nature has to offer. Some fruits are probably very unfamiliar to you, while for us they are simply part of daily lives. That explains why many westerners I know are plain fascinated when they see weird-looking Indonesian fruits for the first time.

But here, we are in the middle of the ocean with limited access to the outside world and unfortunately less fruits to choose from. Nevertheless, below are some of the fruits that you will commonly encounter in tropical Asian countries and when you’re lucky you may be able to discover some around Gili Island.

Dragon fruit

Funny how in native Indonesian tongue we call this fruit buah naga, which is a literal translation of dragon fruit. It probably has something to do with its skin and fiery red color. Sometimes we do serve it as fruit salad in the morning. I talked to a small juce stall owner and she told me that dragon fruit is always available throughout the year because we can always buy it from Lombok, Bali or Java. (photo: plzcdn.com)

Salak

Salak or snake fruit sometimes can be rare in Gili Island. As the name suggest, this fruit has skin which ressemble the skin of snakes. Salak is usually served just as it is, meaning you just need to peel off the skin, bite some of the flesh and throw the pit away. (photo: ec21.com)

Durian

Known as the banned fruits from airplane cabin and hotel rooms. Durian or king fruit has very strong smell which instantly divides people into two: yay or nay-ers. I myself despise durian and I never come near it. It may look scary from the outside but behind those sharp, rough spikes is the soft, creamy flesh of the fruit. According to the friendly juice seller I talked to before, durian is commonly sold in Gili around the end of the year, together with mangosten and rambutan.  (photo: mnn.com)

 Mangosten

Affectionately called queen of fruits, mangosten is more commonly used as traditional medicine than a dessert. It is native to South-East Asia and it ranks amongst one of the rarest fruit in the world. Ripe mangosten is easily opened by gentle squeeze to expose the soft, white edible inside. (photo: thewisegardenger.com)

Rambutan

If you have never seen one you will possibly have funny reaction looking at this fruit. Whan on earth is this thing? Rambutan in Indonesian means hairy like the appearance of the fruit suggests. It is one of the favorite fruit of many Indonesians. Take the hairy skins off and taste the sweet flesh inside. (photo: producemadesimple.ca)

Star fruit

Star fruit or carambola is another exotic fruits you can easily find growing naturally in Indonesia. This fruit has a unique shape and it looks like a star when cut, hence the name. This juicy fruit is generally eaten right away out of the tree, made into juice, or used as ingredient in cooking. Ripe, yellow-ish carambolas are usually the best with their sweet taste instead of sour green ones.
(photo: healthcaretipz.com)

 

Jackfruit

Jack fruit is another “wonder” fruit from Asia. According to researchers this fruit thrives in  warming climate and is very nutritious. It is huge and it can easily weigh more than 10 lbs. In Indonesian you can see it prepared in many ways: cooked in curries, put in ice cream, eaten with sticky rice, etc.
(photo: the jackfruit.com)

Soursop

Last but not the least is the soursop. Soursop grows in big, evergreen trees which easily reach 13 feet tall. Go to any restaurants in Indonesia and most likely you will see the soursop juice in the menu. But in the other hand, this fruit is surprisingly popular amongst scientists due its potential to help fight cancer.
(photo: livelovefruit.com)

So next time you visit Gili Island, keep an eye of those fruits and definitely taste some. It’s worth mentioning though that we serve fruit salad every morning, and typically we try to get the best fruits available at the time.

Jul22

A tiny island where no motorized vehicles exist, it is a paradise for slow, relaxing bicycle ride. Being a cycling enthusiast myself, I am immediately overjoyed to imagine a fine afternoon spent bicycling and exploring this beautiful island.

Once you’ve hopped off the boat you will notice the bike rentals everywhere. There are numerous choices of bicycles going from regular cruising/city bike, tougher cross-country mountain bike, fat bike, kids, tandem and even BMX. From the point of view of a mountain biker, I’d surely pick a good cross-country bike to wander the sandy terrain of the island. Expect to pay about IDR 25,000 to 100,000 for a day-long bike renting.

Plenty of choices to rent one

Best Way to Explore the Island

Bicycle is simply part of everybody’s daily life here. One of the best thing in Gili is the absence of roaring engine and pollution from car. We’d like to keep it that way so everybody rides. Tourists, local people, police officers they all rely on bicycles for their activities.

Going a complete circle by bike took me less than an hour.  Certainly, there is some hidden, off the beaten path further inland worth exploring, if you are up to the challenge.

The best time to ride is about 5 p.m. in the afternoon. From our villa, you can just head out and turn right by the main street until you finally get to the point where you can see the sunset from the beach.

But if you don’t feel like pedaling, some tourists enjoy long walk traversing the island. I did it once with a little bit of jogging in between and it took me just a little over an hour.

Another alternative is go around the island by horse-drawn carriage a.k.a cidomo as the locals say it, especially if you carry quite a lot of luggage.

Tourists I talked to with their bikes
Ambary’s bike at the beach

In the end, I must say that bicycle is the best way to get around the island when time-energy efficiency is put in to account. Surely you will come into agreement once you’ve felt smooth breeze of the wind in your face while pedaling. Furthermore, they say that you haven’t really stayed in Gili Trawangan until you have experienced a good day on the saddle.

Bikes parked by the beach