Tamarind Balls – The best reason to visit St. Kitts

27 Feb

Sorry, I feel like I have been neglecting all of you… but I was away for the weekend celebrating my 20th high school reunion aboard the Empress of the Seas, a weekend cruise that took us to St. Kitts and St. Maarten.  It was awesome to spend time with my school friends, some of whom I had not seen in over 10 years and have known for almost 32 years of my life.  I practically grew up with these people!!!

We visited St. Kitts as one of the stops in our journey… and my good friend Marly told me about Tamarind Balls.  This is a local sweet made with tamarind pulp, sugar, sometimes spices and even has the tamarind seed inside.  They’re tart and sweet, all in the same bite.  This is my kind of souvenir – not a t-shirt or a hat, a good sweet treat only made and found in this little Caribbean island.  My friend Marly discovered them because a cousin for her husband went to school in St. Kitts and used to bring them to them as gifts from the Island.  She tells me she has kept some for over a year in her fridge and they do not go bad.

 tamarind-balls.jpg

I bought them in a pharmacy – they were sitting right there amongst the traditional commercially made candy.  The lighter colored version is made with sugar and spices.  The darker ones are made only with sugar.  To my taste, they taste truer to a raw tamarind fruit.  They’re both good in their won little way.  They cost me about a $1 USD each.  I brought in about 10 packages – some for me, some to give as gifts…

 tamarind-balls-2.jpg

The beach was great – we went to Turtle Beach, with Nevis on the background.  I will not go into the details on how we got to Turtle Beach, but to me, the best reason to visit St Kitts, is for their Tamarind Balls.

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10 Responses to “Tamarind Balls – The best reason to visit St. Kitts”

  1. MJ February 27, 2008 at 3:59 pm #

    In Mexico we have very similar tamarind balls, plain, sugar and hot ones. They are very popular all over the country.

  2. Foodie Cutie February 27, 2008 at 5:04 pm #

    Hi there,
    I’m Southeast Asian and I used to looove eating these as a kid. They would come wrapped in a tube of cellophane. I love your blog btw. I’m not a vegetarian or vegan but I appreciate your lifestyle and your approach to cooking. Is it okay if I linked your blog to mine?

    http://foodiecutie.blogspot.com

  3. karmafreecooking February 27, 2008 at 6:45 pm #

    Foodie Cutie – Of course it’s OK to link this blog to yours… By the way… love your penguin pants!!

  4. Teresa February 28, 2008 at 2:18 am #

    I’m Vietnamese and these are bar none my favorite candy ever. Yum yum the kind sold in asian stores looks very much like the darker colored one and come in little plastic boxes for about 80cents. They even sell seedless ones, I’m partial to those because they are sticky and delicious!

    I have very fond memories eating these candies and watching care bears as a kid

  5. Chantal July 17, 2008 at 11:23 pm #

    Ah! :D

    Best reason for me to visit St. Kitts is to see family :D

  6. Donna James March 15, 2009 at 5:46 pm #

    Tamarind balls are a great reason to visit St. Kitts! I’m glad you got a chance to sample them (they are my favourite candy by far). This confection is found throughout the Caribbean and many parts of Asia and Mexico as well. Tamarind is also used to make a refreshing drink. Very nice blog by the way.

  7. Monica November 11, 2009 at 5:56 pm #

    Ah, you say they are only found in St. Kitts, but I enjoyed the same tamarind balls while in Trinidad this June.

    KFC – Monica, after writing this post I have seen these in Miami too. At a place called EL PALACIO DE LOS JUGOS. They have several locations in Miami, including one in Hialeah. Also, I bought some ARRAYAN in Mexico that taste very, very similar, but the seeds are smaller. So this is definitely not a St. Kitts-only treat…

  8. ixan March 9, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    Taman balls are made on every single Caribbean island. The best ones are cleaned, the others have seeds or strings left in. As they are all made from tamarind pulp, sugar and black pepper (sometimes with a bit of flour to bind them and of course a pinch of salt) they all taste more or less the same.

  9. Kerri July 17, 2010 at 6:17 pm #

    Hi-
    Glad I found this blog. I just bought some tamarind balls in St. Kitts and was expecting a delicious treat. Little did I know that the first one I “bit” into had a seed in it and I almost cracked a tooth! I was disappointed and thought maybe they are to be used as a flavoring in cooking something, not to eat straight up. I just tried another one and proceeded with caution. A few had seeds and others not. Still, they are delicious!! In fact, I just ate the whole pack!!
    Yumm!!
    Kerri

  10. Jehancancook May 1, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Yum, I love Tamarind balls! I grew up eating these in Guyana.

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