New Recipes


Calamansi Juice with Sambal Belacan
Calamansi Juice with Sambal Belacan pictures (4 of 5)

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)

About Calamansi:

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.

Enter to Win FREE Prizes

AHeirloom Products Bundle Giveaway
KitchenAid® Bowl-lift Stand Mixer
Paleo Italian Cooking Cookbook

100 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. omg! we have this fruit in Mexico, but we call it limas, a cross between green lemon (or lime in English) and oranges. Amazing, a friend of mine just got back from a short trip to SE Asia (she’s European) and was so surprised by the amount of *exotic* fruits she saw and tried. To my surprise and amusement most of the fruits she told me are pretty popular in Mexico.

    What can I say.

    We are lucky!

  2. can feel the excitement reading what you wrote.

    in Sg, the supermarkets usually sell them in packs. So we usually have lots of leftover because 1 meal would not need so many of it. but I found that storing them in a vacuum container, it won’t turn yellow or brownish! it can last 2 weeks in vacuum containers in the fridge!

  3. Kamran Siddiqi

    Oh, wow! This drink looks very refreshing! Lovely photos, by the way! Your photography is exquisite! Are you sure you’re not a pro? :D

    • Kamran – thanks for your nice note. I am not a pro, yet, but one day I will get there I am sure. I think I have some raw talents in food photography that I can further develop. :)

      Thanks again!

  4. I’ve only managed to find it at the Granville Island Market in Vancouver and they sell it for $.50 a piece, ouch! They freeze really well but somehow they lose most of the fragrance. Bee is right, this is indispensable to Filipino cooking just like in our other SE neighbours’ cooking. In the Philippines, we use it as a souring agent to just about everything from broths to dipping sauces. It adds an extra layer of complexity, a sort of je ne sais qoui factor, freshness or something to the food. I don’t even know how to describe it, the exotic fragrance of it is just incomparable to other citruses. It’s a must try for sure if you’ve never used it before. It’s great for cocktails.

    • I agree with both hands and legs. Calamansi is the best citrus EVER that not many people know yet. Sad. I can totally imagine a calamansi mojito. Yep, that’s it, calamansi mojito is what I will make tomorrow. ;)

  5. I’ve been looking for these in Germany to no avail. I’m close to buying a tree, but even then there’s no guarantee that I’ll be buying the right one. They are a wonderful fruit & I’m happy you get to enjoy them. I’m also a little jealous.

  6. We have 3 Calamansi trees out the back. It thrives in the Aussie Sun. I love it. In summer I squiz a few and make Calamansi juice. Its so darn refreshing. I also use it to make cocktails. Its great..

    • ann

      can you tell me how you keep them alive during winter in australia? i have 1 newly bought calamondin tree, still young, can see leaves growing, i’m waiting eagerly for it to bear fruit. and what fertiliser you use through the year? must i water it everyday?

    • June Scully

      Hi Katherine
      I’m in Sydney and desperate to lay my hands on one of these Calamansi lime trees. Could you advise where I could find one of these trees?

      many thanks

    • Geraldine

      Hi we live in Toowoomba Queensland would you know of anywhere up here that we could purchase a kasturi lime tree

  7. What a beautiful thing kalamansi lime is! lol. My tree has lotsa lime on it but it takes so lonnnnnggggg for them to get big. Sambal belacan with kalamansi is the best, best, best!
    My fav drink back in KL is kalamansi lime with asamboi. Oh im drooling just thinking abt it. Im so dragging him to cerritos after raya. hehe.

  8. Wow! Calamansi is a pillar of local cooking here in the Philippines too! And I also looove calamansi juice :) There are tons here at all the markets and groceries…I really wish I could send you some!

    Even if they are all over here your calamansi juice photo is making my mouth water…will make some tomorrow!

  9. Dominique

    It’s the first time I see that! we don’t see calamansi in France! only traditional lime.. You’re pictures are so beautiful!

  10. How fantastic! Eis Limau is one of my favourite things to sip on at mamak when I’m back in Malaysia on holidays – and nothing is quite the same as having a couple of calamansi to squeeze all over a bowl of dry curry mee. I’ll have to hunt some down for myself in Australia now!

  11. taj

    lucky for us here in the Philippines we have abundant supply of calamansi all year round. And just outside my window, I have one calamansi tree growing numerous fruits. you can use calamansi to flavor your stir fried noodles(pancit) and it goes well with fish sauce. calamansi is also good as tenderizer if you want to marinate pork for can rub it on your hands to remove the fishy smell whenever you handle seafood. you can also create a very appetizing dipping sauce for your grilled fish or squid by using calamansi, soy sauce, a bit of sugar and chili peppers.lastly, for sore throat, boil 3pcs of calamansi (skin on) in cup of water then drink the boiled mixture.

  12. love that photo of the bowl of calamansi. my kids love calamansi-ade with salted dried plums. Just do as per your recipe and drop a couple of salted dried plums in.

  13. Angie

    I was all excited too when I found calamondin here in Australia.. bought the tree and it’s been producing great fruits for us.. they are juicy and so refreshing..
    My husband made similar icy drinks like yours and he adds one japanese plum (umeboshi) and I tell you it’s one of my fav drinks on one of those hot summer days.. cold, sweet, sour and salty all in one glass! :)

  14. sue

    Yes, all I did is I added one “semboi” – preserved plum, it becomes, sweet, sour and salty………..all in one refreshing drink on a hot sumer day………………AWESOME!!!

  15. Awesome, thanks for the info! Now I can make all kinda of Sarawakian drinks ( I just returned from Kuching 2 weeks ago). Btw I found Mani chai plant in Montery park area

    After many attempts I concluded you’ll have to plant them indoor like mine. ( I got my stalks from Kuching,) California is way too dry. My friend’s mani chai is growing well outdoor in Georgia

    • OMG, your mani cai tree is so tall. LOL. It sucks that they don’t sell it in the LA area. They can sure ship some from the East Coast or Texas, right?

      For the calamansi, they are home-grown, too. That’s what the store people in Cerritos told me. But I am not going to complain. $2.99 per pound and I am so willing to pay because they are light so quite inexpensive.

  16. You have no idea how much I hate your right now! I’ve been looking for these forever. Well, I’m jealous that’s for sure. :)
    I miss freshly squeezed calamansi juice. The calamansi syrup just does not compare.

  17. Anh

    yes, this drink is very refreshing indeed! In Vietnam, these citrus fruits are called trai tac. A lot of vendors that sell sugar can juice in Little Saigon will add this ingredient into their drinks – try Nuoc Mia Vien Tay in Garden Grove. I think you can find them in the viet markets sometimes too, but they tend to sell the longer version and not these round versions.

    Lucikly my dad has two of these large trees in his back yard and they fruit almost year round since we are in southern Cali.

    • Yes, Anh. I have seen calamansi used in sugar cane drinks in Little Saigon here. As much as I love both fresh drinks, I have to admit I am not a fan of the mix because I enjoy my sugar cane, or calamansi juice just the way they are. No mix :) Your dad has 2 large trees? I am envious!

  18. Sean

    Hi saw a bottle of calamansi “juice” (not a drink but a bottle of concentrated calamansi). It wasn’t pure, there were some other ingredients and flavours I believe. It was in the philipino section of the grocery store. Have you ever tried using this kind of concentrated juice in cooking?

    • I have not used any concentrated calamansi juice in my cooking. I have tried some lime and lemon concentrates. They do conveniently served the purpose. But nothing beats the fresh ingredients. That’s why I am so excited finding these calamansi :)

  19. I’d love to try some calamansi. I’m already dreaming about the possibilities…mojitos, tarts, curds, ahh…but doing a quick search, I don’t see any sources in NYC. If anyone knows a place to get it here, please let me know!

  20. thelma

    i have a kalamansi tree that was given by a friend. i planted it on a huge pot three years ago. i never run out of kalamansi because the little tree is always loaded all year round.
    it’s always good to have kalamansi when you need it and i use it a lot in my cooking.

  21. Hello,

    I just found your site this evening while looking for some Chinese recipes – great site!

    About the calamansi, is that the same or related to the Japanese/Okinawan shikuwasa? I lived in Japan for several years and really enjoyed the variety of citrus fruits they have there that I cannot find easily here in SoCal. The shikuwasa was my favorite, but its season is short – only early autumn.

  22. I would kill for calamansi… they are tough to obtain in my part of the world. I learned to love the flavor while traveling Malaysia and Singapore – iced tea with calamansi was one of my favorites.

  23. QueenDamidala

    All this talk about calamansi is making me thirsty… must go and squeeze me a few, mix in some honey, drop the ice cubes and pour in cold water, shake my bootie to get some foam on the drink, reach for a straw, slice up a ripe papaya, and rest my feet on the sofa… simply heaven! Now all I need is a beach… =D

  24. calamansilover

    Calamansi (Kalamansi or Kalamunding as we call it) is a ubiquitous fruit in the Philippines. They sell calamansi here all year round, everywhere.

    If a Filipino dish needs a souring agent, it’s either vinegar or calamansi! That also applies for other dishes we inherited from Spain, China, Japan and America.

    We love it especially with soy sauce as dip for grilled meat, chicken or fish. For marinades, calamansi is always used.

    In my opinion, calamansi halves are much better for vodka than lemons!

    In the supermarkets here, you’ll find packs of fresh calamansi (about 1kg) that sell for less than a US dollar.

    (An yes, it is shikuwasa, and it’s different from the bitter orange from Mexico.)

  25. Beth

    I lived in Bangkok for a while and actually got a bit depressed because I could not find any calamansi, only limes. So I could understand your excitement!

    My partner, who is British, has also learned to love this little citrus. On every meal, except maybe for pasta, he would have his little bowl of soy sauce, calamansi and chili as a dipping sauce.

    Last month I got him a plant so that every time he needs just one fruit, he can just pluck it out of the bush :)

    More power, I love your site!

  26. Hi Author of this wonderful blog,
    I am Jo, and I am new to your blog. I really like the pictures and contents. I didn’t know you are in SoCal but as I read your blogs, it seems to me that the ingredients and how to get them sound to familiar. Because I live in San Diego! I am a Malaysian and I moved here in 2008. But so sadly to say that, I do have a really hard time looking for a job here! Couldn’t find a worse time to move to US :)
    Anyway, where are you in SoCal? I had met a Malaysian so far, and now you, it makes me feel so happy, yay!

  27. Sako

    Totally cute sight – was looking for “shikwasa” recipes on line and found this! Nice Job – by the way in Okinawa, we call the calamansi, shikwasa. My eyes have been opened – I thought only kids that grew up in Okinawa and the Philippines sipped on homemade Shikwasa and calamsi juice!

  28. tiffany

    I have a calamansi tree in my backyard here in orange county. Its weird because nobody waters the tree except maybe once or twice a month, yet it still produces a huge amount of calamansi. I was unsure what to do with this strange/sour fruit, so thank you for the recipe.

  29. Dan Webb

    I live in san diego county and was wondering if anyone knows where to find shikuwasa juice concentrate

  30. hanis

    i know how u feel! i love calamansi juice, beats orang juice anytime, but can’t find it here in limerick, ireland :( guess will have to wait till my next trip home to malaysia!

  31. jane

    Im in Calgary, Canada. Is there someone who knows where I can buy a Calamansi/ Calamondin tree or any in Canada? I was searching and I found this posts. Maybe someone can help me look for it. Thanks so much! I really wanted to plant this one rather buying it frozen or fresh that is so expensive.

  32. Rebecca Lee

    话梅 +limau kasturi + syrup + ice is the best drink !! My daughter’s favorite !! 话梅 is sold in packet of dried salted plums from China !! Mostly pregnant women eat this !! Jane, plant yours with the seed if you can’t find the plant !! Please, not the seeds of the frozen limau kasturi !!

  33. Jeremy

    Hey there, just wondering– on my latest trip to Malaysia, I drank this everyday, but sometimes (mostly in KL, but not Kuching) it had a faint bit unmistakeable hint of saltiness to it, and this little brownish nugget at the bottom if the glass. Was that some sort if dried plum or tamarind or something? It was amazing, but I can’t find any info about it in English. I guess it doesn’t matter, because I’d be shocked to see calamansis anywhere near New England or New York, so I’ll never get to make this at home…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *