I had the privilege of tasting honeycomb for the very first time during my holiday trip to the Cameron Highlands, a very popular tourist spot in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia due to its relatively much cooler and drier weather compared to most areas in tropical Asia.
It was at the biggest weekend evening flea market – we call it "pasar malam" ("night market" in Malay language), that I chanced upon a stall that was selling honey and honey combs. After reading so much about honeycomb, I was of course totally carried away when I finally saw frames of honeycomb for sale. In some countries like Australia and New Zealand, honeycombs are commonly found in health food shops and supermarkets, but in many other countries, like here in Singapore, honeycombs have become a rare commercial item; few honey combs are seen anywhere in the shops, and in fact nobody farms bees or keeps any bee hive here! (I believe many children here think that honey comes from the factories and many adults know very little about how honey originates from the bees and flowers!)
The hexagonal wax structure was a sure beauty to look at and a paradox to ponder over – totally enchanting, so very solid and sturdy and at the same time delicate and fragile. It left me wonderstruck how those tiny bees could so intricately build such awesome cells of geometric perfection. The stall owner gave me two cells of the comb to sample taste it. It was just so memorable – chewy, pleasantly sweet, brightly flavoured, and fresh, like rays of the first sunshine (probably a multi-floral honey ...)! Not sure if it's psychological, but honey tastes especially delicious and fresh when it's eaten straight from the honey comb! (Truly raw honey, healthy raw food, which is totally free from any form of processing.) When all the honey was eaten and gone, what's left in the mouth was the wax – a completely tasteless fibre. Though I knew bee wax was edible and could be chewed like a gum and eaten as white yellowish roughage (some people leave it on hot buttered toast and let it soak in, or on toast spread with crunchy peanut butter while others put it into their hot tea or dip into melted milk chocolate...), I asked the stall owner if I should spit it out as the remaining bits really tasted like it was not edible. Surprisingly, his reply was if I had gastric problem, I should eat the wax as it could bring healing to the gastric, and throw it away if I found it too awful to eat it. Never did I know that honey comb had such a medical benefit!
June 2014 (Updated)
1. Candies with a "Honeycomb" label or manufactured to appear like real honeycombs seem to be able to present themeselves as healthier options. See in here some of these candies that many of us have got ourselves hooked on: World of Honeycombs.
2. Has any kid asked you before why the shape of a beehive honeycomb pattern is hexagonal? Read: Hexagonal Honeycomb Pattern.