January 28, 2013 Tripoli North Lebanon Lebanon Middle East

A Taste of Africa in Tripoli: Fresh Coconut

Are you a coconut fan like me? Do you wait for the season year after year just to enjoy the taste of this bizarre crunchy fruit? I do and in between waiting, I often grab a bar of Bounty to satisfy my craves.

Found throughout the tropic and subtropic area, the coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many domestic, commercial, and industrial uses of its different parts. Coconuts are part of the daily diet of many people. Coconuts are different from any other fruits because they contain a large quantity of "water" and when immature they are known as tender-nuts or jelly-nuts and may be harvested for drinking. When mature they still contain some water and can be used as seednuts or processed to give oil from the kernel, charcoal from the hard shell and coir from the fibrous husk.

Today, while spending the day in Tripoli for a scheduled photo shoot, I parked my car and decided to take a walk around the city's busy streets. I bumped into one of those local street sellers working meticulously on a round piece of something that looked like wood. A hammer in one hand and a sharp carving tool in an another Abou Mahmoud was putting all his energy into opening a coconut. A process that took him more than 10 minutes. I didn't expect it to be that complicated. On my last trip to Paris, I bought a small container with a couple of coconut pieces in it which cost me more than 3€ and today, it took Abou Mahmoud 10 painful minutes to open this thing for me to enjoy the water for only 1.5€ or 3,000L.L.

He took a dirty knife, just poured some water on it, cleaned it with his shirt, and we have a clean knife he used to cut the coconut in half and see the fresh liquid exploding from its heart. Fresh and tasty, cold and transparent, a sweet liquid that is more refreshing than any other man made juice.  Coconut water contains sugar, dietary fiber, proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and provides an isotonic electrolyte balance. Afterwards, all you have to do is use your two hands to break this fruit into little edible bites.

You should be a fan of coconuts to enjoy them; dry and sometimes without a pronounced taste... My favorite!


Categories: Street Food





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