We have one belimbing buluh/asam or 杨桃酸 (Averrhoa bilimbi) tree at the back of the garden courtesy of my younger brother, Tak. It is a fast growing and rather attractive tree.
The tree produces bunches of flower buds directly off the tree trunk. This is normal for camias.
The flowers are deep maroon in colour and are small but very attractive and seems to attract a lot of insects.
The Belimbing fruit has a sour acidic taste compared to the much sweeter and tastier relative, the starfruit (known in the west as the carambola) and has a very high content of Vitamin C.
The tree is very productive, flowering and fruiting in abundance - with bunches of the fruits hanging off the main trunk!
How to deal with the bounty crop? It is used in some traditional medicines but at home, we use them for making drinks and dips and in cooking.
Put them into a blender. Add salt, sugar syrup and ice - you get a very nice tangy cold drink!
Or mash them and then fry with belacan and chilli to get a very nice sour belacan sambal as our Indonesian maid did.
My younger brother, however, prefers them cooked with peeled prawns. This make for a very very tasty prawn dish - which is why he has this tree growing in my garden!!