Look what I found today?
Calamansi. Or Calamondin, or sometimes spelled as kalamansi.
I didn’t find the tree, because calamansi or calamondin trees are everywhere here in SoCal and can be bought at Home Depot and many Asian grocery stores. I don’t have the patience nor do I have a green thumb to grow my own calamansi tree.
I found fresh, plump, juicy, fruity, and ripe calamansi—an ingredient that I have been trying to source for the longest time.
Words fail to describe how overjoyed and excited I was when I found these beauties at the Island Pacific Supermarket, in Cerritos, Orange County. Kudos to my reader David C, who tipped me on where to find them. Thank you so much David C, you’re the best!
I rushed home immediately and made myself a glass of calamansi juice with ice, just like the way it’s served back home in Malaysia. I took a refreshing sip and went on to prepare sambal belacan, with calamansi juice. It is the best sambal belacan I have ever made here in the US, only because I found calamansi.
The calamansi peel perfumed my fingers with its exotic smell; I brought my fingers to my nose, sniffing the fruity and citrusy fragrance and aroma. It is the smell of home. I then thought about all the possibilities with calamansi: Assam Laksa with a fresh squirt of calamansi juice, check; Mee Siam, check; Ikan bakar (grilled fish with banana leaves), check; Nyonya kerabu (salad) dishes, check.
I am happy.
I found calamansi.
Island Pacific Supermarket
11481 South St. Unit D,
Cerritos, CA. 90703
9:00 AM – 9:00 PM (Mon – Fri)
8:00 AM – 9:00 PM (Sat – Sun)
Calamansi is a variety of lime used in Southeast Asia cuisines, especially in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines. It’s also a key ingredient in Nyonya food. Sambal belacan is only truly authentic with calamansi juice. Period.
If you haven’t tried calamansi, I can only describe it as a sort of hybrid between orange and lime. They have orange pulp but the juice is sour and tart, and there is no lime that can rival the citrusy fragrance of calamansi. I don’t know why celebrity chefs haven’t discovered the use of calamansi yet. In my opinion, it’s better than yuzu.