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Bite Into The Freshest Local Fruits This Summer—And Find New Ways To Cook Them

Every summer, we’re lucky to be rewarded with a bounty of delicious fruits right in our very own backyard. Little green jewels of sumptuously sour kamias (bilimbi), lime green or dark purple spheres of creamy kaimito (star apple), bright citrusy half-moons of dalandan (sweet orange)—the list is endless. While we’ll happily eat these plucked straight from the tree, we can (and should) use them for many more savory applications. With recipes developed by food stylist Katherine Jao, here’s how our local backyard fruits can be used to make familiar Asian and Filipino-inspired dishes sure to be loved by everyone at the family table.


Seafood Pancit Buko

Here’s an upscale version of our beloved pancit, with the addition of scallops and clams. This recipe is naturally gluten-free, too, as it replaces the usual wheat noodles with strips of young, juicy coconut meat. To make this dish even heartier, just add even more meat and vegetables. 



Serves 4 


2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 red onion, sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/3 cup squid rings

1/3 cup clam meat

1/3 cup scallops

2 cups grated buko meat

1/2 cup carrots, julienned

2 cups shredded cabbage

1 cup chicken broth

salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 cup chopped spring onion


1. Over medium-high heat, sauté garlic and onion in olive oil.

2. Add shrimp, squid rings, clam meat, and scallops. Sauté until half-cooked. 

3. Add buko meat, carrots, cabbage, and chicken broth. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until broth evaporates and seafood and vegetables are completely cooked. 

4. Season with salt and pepper. Once done, turn off heat, sprinkle spring onions on top and serve.



Paksiw na Isda sa Kamias 

Paksiw involves simmering meat or seafood in vinegar in order to preserve it. This traditional Filipino cooking technique works exceptionally well with very acidic fruits like kamias. Cooked in rendered pork fat, all those strong flavors—sour, rich, and unctuous—are absorbed by the fish and the tender slivers of kamias. In place of tambakol (yellow marlin), you can also use kalapato (horse mackerel), hasa-hasa (short mackerel), or ayungin (silver perch).



Serves 6 to 8


1 cup pork back fat, sliced into short strips

1/4 cup garlic cloves, crushed

2 cups kamias, halved

8 to 10 slices tambakol (yellow marlin) 

2 thumb-size pieces ginger, sliced into strips

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup fish sauce

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon peppercorns

water, as needed

pinch of salt


1. Layer pork fat in the bottom of a palayok or clay pot. Add garlic, 1 cup of sliced kamias, then top with half of the fish. 

2. Add remaining kamias and arrange the rest of the fish. Put ginger on top. Drizzle with olive oil.

3. Add fish sauce, vinegar, peppercorns, and some water. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until oil is released from pork fat and the kamias is soft. Season to taste with salt.



Kaimito Melon Sherbet

We like to eat our kaimito cold, straight from the refrigerator, as its texture and taste remind us of ice cream. So it makes perfect sense for this fruit to be paired with melons to make a perfectly refreshing, summery panghimagas. Serve this sherbet topped with crunchy cereal, shredded corn, and drenched in even more condensed milk. 



Serves 4


2/3 cup kaimito meat (star apple)

1/2 cup melon balls, scooped with a melon baller

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup condensed milk

pinch of salt


In a blender, process all ingredients until smooth. Freeze for 3 to 4 hours or until the sherbet completely crystallizes.



This article first appeared in FOOD Magazine, Issue 2, 2016

Recipes by Katherine Jao 

Photography by Paul del Rosario

Styling by Aby Nachura