Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Chinese Mandarin? Orange? 柑? What's that?

Lu GanAs we all know, it's St. Valentine's Day and everyone ought to spend romantic hours with their loved ones. I am not so romantic but at least I did spend some hours or so with my dear. But guess what. We spent it walking under the heat of the scorching sun, looking for the 芦柑 (a.k.a. Chinese Honey Orange / lu2 gan1). It turned out to be interesting.

In Malaysia, the lugan is a must for every Chinese family during the Lunar New Year. Come January or February each year, every supermarket with their right business mind would start importing cargos of lugans, nicely packed in boxes of 36, 48 and so on. The price ranges from 10 to 30 Ringgit, and needless to say being such a popular fruit species, they taste wonderful. Every Chinese in Malaysia must have grown up eating those lugan (another popular mandarin last time was 蕉柑 jiao1 gan1) every year.

Since Chinese / Lunar New Year is around the corner, naturally we started looking for it since we arrived in Melbourne. To begin with, nobody is allowed to bring any single shred of fruit into Australia, so you can be fined heavily even if you ventured to smuggle as much as a seed. But in most cases, you can always find any tropical fruits or most other overseas fruits in the groceries. You can even find durians sometimes. So I was positive that I could find lugan here. And we went out to look for the much coveted fruit.

Knowing my writing style and my inclination to make a fuss of a dissatisfaction... you should have known what ensued later wasn't smooth.

The title above was how five Chinese groceries responded to our enquiries regarding lugan. Yes, nobody knew what lugan is, let alone sold it. In the groceries, they had all the weirdest Asian foods and snacks you could imagine, but they didn't know anything about the most popular CNY fruit in Malaysia!!

What a surprising fact that I learnt for Valentine's Day. In some tinge of frustration, we could only console ourselves with some pre-packaged dried gan slices. And that turned out to be sweet jellies instead of dried gan.


crushedguava said...

i'm surprised you find it so hard to find.

ormond always has mandarin oranges at random times of the year.

thus it must be available right?

perhaps you shouldn't be looking in chinese groceries.

youngyew said...

Haha they are different species la, according to Xuan Ni. They don't taste exactly the same, and the size is different too.

Eric Fu said...

Actually, in the US (or perhaps Ann Arbor to be specific), clementine is available throughout the year in major groceries stores. I just get it from the store when I start to crave for it (regardless it is CNY or not).

king ung said...

at germany, i can see it everyday. everyday is cny with those chinese mandarin.

day-dreamer said...

Chinese groceries don't know what is lokam? Erm... are the stores operated by real Chinese??

Anyway, so, have you found kam in Melbourne??

youngyew said...

Eric Fu: I am not sure whether clementine is the same as the lukam... With all the various types of mandarin, oranges, clementine, "honey orange" and so on, I can't really be sure about that. If it's indeed lukam, then it's so good for you.

King Ung: Same to you. :)

Day-dreamer: Haha I guess maybe it's not imported to Australia, or maybe they call it differently here.