A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.

Met ya hui

Posted date:  March 22, 2009

 Cashew nuts, Ko Yao Noi, Thailand

or met ya ruang, or kayii or kayuu. Or met thai khrok or met hua khrok. Or perhaps even met mamuang himaphaan. These are all the different Thai dialect words for cashew nuts. The English word, cashew, is almost certainly a cognate of the Portuguese cajou, which apparently originates from the Tupi word acajú, and which is most likely also the source of kayuu, the term used on Phuket, the thought being that the Portuguese first introduced the fruit to Asia from its native Brazil.

Met ya hui and met ya ruang, however, are the terms used only on the island of Ko Yao Noi, in the Phang Nga Bay, not far from Phuket. As in much of the south, cashew trees are just about everywhere on this beautiful island, their yellow and red fruit emitting a sweet smell and making colourful stains on the roads:

Cashew fruits, Ko Yao Noi, Thailand

Most of us have only ever eaten cashew nuts plain, but in the south, cashews are used in various local-style curries, and the fruits are sometimes consumed as a sweet snack. I’ve also recently seen a cashew-based bottled drink here in Bangkok.

To prepare cashews for consumption, the nuts are first collected, separated from their fruits and dried, as illustrated at the top of this post. The next step involves roasting the nuts:

Roasting cashew nuts, Ko Yao Noi, Thailand

This is done in large black woks with holes in the bottom to encourage the nuts to catch on fire, causing a toxic substance in the shell to dissipate. When the nuts are flaming, hissing and emitting a shocking amount of black smoke, they’re dumped onto the ground to cool:

Roasting cashew nuts, Ko Yao Noi, Thailand

After being peeled, the nuts can be eaten at this point. But if the cashews are to be packaged and sold, they’re typically roasted in ovens first:

Cashew nuts, Ko Yao Noi, Thailand

They’re then graded for quality (whole nuts without any shells demand higher prices), packaged and sold:

Cashew nuts, Ko Yao Noi, Thailand

3 Comments for Met ya hui

In Krabi recently, I had a great curry of salted fish and cashew apples. It’s a funky tree. That yellow-red bulb (the apple), which looks like a fruit, is really a pseudo-fruit. The green stem below the apple is the actual fruit. Inside it is the nut. Apples and nuts, I love them both.

from Brasil, just to agree with Karen comments about the fruit (pseudofruit and fruit). Its considered the”national” fruit from Brasil (native from here), the second largest grown (after orange) , especially in northeast where is a symbol: cajú should be the fresh fruit and castanha , the nut. As i am gonig Krabi next week, Karen i would like to know where u ate that curry fish.

Alberto, it was at the Gastropod Fossil Beach. One of the vendors near the entrance, served from a bin at the front (not on the menu). Cheers!

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