- Farzeen Heesambee
Mauritiusly Yours: The Islet of Monkey's Apple
Pom Zako which can be roughly translated in English as 'Monkey's Apple' is an edible fruit that was once commonly found on the island but has become a rare phenomenon. The plant is believed to have originated from Madagascar and Comoros Island and was introduced to Mauritius later on. It grows mainly on sandy coasts, and in Mauritius it can be mainly found at Ilot Sancho, commonly known as Lil Pom Zako.
Ilot Sanchot is an islet found on the South West coast of Mauritius near Bel Ombre, the islet can be easily missed if you are driving past as it is very near to the coast, and visitors can simply walk over to the islet by crossing the 2 metres or so between the mainland and the islet when tides are low.
Children are particularly fond of picking the edible fruit which can have a somewhat strange after-taste. As a not sought-after fruit, it was probably one of the main source of food for monkeys residing on the island, as the name suggests. Many Mauritians can recollect picking and eating the Pom Zako as a child, something which the new generation may be missing out on. This is not the type of fruit that you will find in the local markets, but it is more of a cultural practice such as picking the goyave de chine.
Legend has it that a treasure might be buried there, but the coral texture of the islet makes it hard to believe.