Nutmeg Juice: A Delicious Concoction Made from Nutmeg Fruits in Penang
Nutmeg Juice, a well-known beverage hailing from Balik Pulau, Penang, is a delightful concoction made from the juice of nutmeg flesh. It’s important to note that nutmeg flesh refers to the fleshy part of the fruit and differs in taste from the woody spice known as nutmeg, which is derived from the seed of the fruit.
Although nutmeg is not native to Malaysia, the British heavily cultivated nutmeg trees in Penang during the late 18th century as part of their thriving spice trade. This led to Penang becoming a significant producer of high-quality nutmeg seeds. With an abundance of nutmeg fruits at their disposal, locals sought ways to make use of the less desirable nutmeg flesh.
Raw nutmeg fruit is known for its intense astringency, which posed a challenge for nutmeg juice vendors. However, they ingeniously solved this issue by incorporating sugar syrup and Chinese sour plums into the juice. This created a drink with a delightful balance of sweet and tangy flavours, a pale yellow hue, a unique fruity fragrance, and a pleasant astringent mouthfeel. Chilled nutmeg juice soon became a refreshing choice to combat Penang’s heat and humidity. Nowadays, this invigorating drink can be found in restaurants and kopitiams (coffee shops) throughout Penang, particularly in Balik Pulau.
Indulging in a glass of nutmeg juice allows you to savour the distinct taste of nutmeg flesh while enjoying its refreshing qualities. Whether you’re exploring the vibrant streets of Penang or simply seeking a unique beverage experience, nutmeg juice is a must-try that captures the essence of this tropical paradise.