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Saturday, March 5, 2011

橄榄 Ca'na aka Chinese Olive

Ca’ na 橄榄 ( pronounced gǎn lǎn  ) is a popular preserved fruit consumed as snack during my childhood ( 1980s ). 10¢ for 3 piece.  Its packed with a long rectangular plastic, wrapped 3 pieces in a row, then rolled to wrap, further twisted at both end of each piece to seal, and finally intertwine the head with tail to form a circular ring.  It is still available in the market ( 2010s ) at about RM3.50/kg.

It is called Chinese Olive ( Canarium album ), yet not truly an olive ( Oleaceae ).  A member of Burseraceae instead.   Ca’na 橄榄 is native to subtropics of Asia.

The tree is 10 – 180 m high. White to yellowish white flowers.  Fruit an elliptic to ovate drupe.  It flowers from April to May, and fruits mature from October to December.

The fresh fruit is crisp, bitter following with fragrant sourly sweet after chewed for a while.  Fresh fruit is used in stir-fry dishes.  Dried fruit is consumed as snacks.  The fruit, nut, seed and root have been used as medicines in traditional Chinese medicine.





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