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Mar 13, 2014 06:28 PM

Help me ID this herb/spice/item~


I got this at the farmer market in Taiwan. This is around 2.5 inches in diameter, the shells is hard like a walnut and the exterior smells very garlicy. The guy who sold it to me told me to crack the nut open, slice and put it in chicken soup.

I am hoping to ID this before I proceed to crack this open to see the insides. SOOO curious!

Does any of you know what this is? What other uses besides chicken soup?

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    1. re: ipsedixit

      Well, it's def not fruity. The garlic aroma is pretty pungent from it being next to the computer as I type.

    2. I don't know what it is, but I warn you.. don't do a search for 'hard nut, smells like garlic' .. some of the search results that were seen can not be unseen. And I'm not even talking about image search, but just the titles of some of the results.

      It isn't longan for sure though.. too big, and looks too woody.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JasFoodie

        Thanks for the tip, JasFoodie! ~

      2. Is it a candlenut with the shell still intact? I've seen them on trees when they are greener but the size and shape seems similar...

        4 Replies
        1. re: boogiebaby

          No candlenuts are heart shaped, even in the shells (plus, the shells are black).

          I think I know what this is, sort of. I seem to recall seeing a picture of something like this in my copy of Edible Nuts of the World (the one in the pic had a fat piece of stem at one end, but otherwise looked the same). I was called something like a "forest onion". I think it grew on some sort of Rainforest tree native to South East Asia, where the notes said it was eaten as a garlic substitute.
          Wish I could help, more, but it's been years since I saw that book (at it was seventy years old when I read it, so even the scientific names were out of date)

          1. re: jumpingmonk

            Based on jumpingmonk's post, search for images of Scorodocarpus borneensis (wood garlic, forest onion).

            Other names: buah kulim, Bawang Hutan, Forest Onion, Garlic Nut, Nutwood Garlic, Sindu, Wood Garlic, Woodland Onion.


            1. re: Springhaze2

              Nice work jumpingmonk and Springhaze2!

              1. re: Springhaze2

                Hum. I think this is it!! Thanks guys!!

          2. Chinese walnuts that were poorly handled by a vendor with garlicky hands?