Sweet and Sour Treats – Malaysia Has It All!

Sweet and Sour Treats – Malaysia Has It All!
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Malaysian fruits are an integral part of Malaysian cuisine and they are readily available across the country. These range from the big and small to the sweet and sour, rough to smooth-skinned and even the brilliantly colourful to those that are well camouflaged. Some of these strange fruits taste amazing, while others are...well, they are an acquired taste. 

For this issue, the Centre has put together a top five ‘must try’ list of local fruits for delegates and visitors while in Malaysia!

Durian (top)
Durian is known as the King of fruit possibly for its exterior - football-sized with hard and spiky shell - and, in Malaysia, its revered status. There are many species and numerous cultivars, with the ‘D24’ variety arguably the finest, followed by ‘Musang King (Mou Shan Wong)’ and ‘Hor Lor’. Despite its reputation as a pungent, smelly fruit, plenty of Malaysians will drive many kilometres to seek it out from their favourite durian stall, which has sourced the fruit from deep within the jungle. Be warned though, durian’s pungent smell stays long after it’s consumed – and don’t take it into hotels, as it is banned in most for its far-reaching aroma.
Manggis (bottom)
What is a King without a Queen? Unique due to its appearance and flavour, the manggis (mangosteen) is often revered as the queen of tropical fruits. This exotic, purple-coloured fruit is popular for its snow-white, juicy, delicious segments of flesh, as well as for its numerous health benefits. About the size of a tangerine, manggis melts in your mouth releasing a delicious juice that is a perfect balance of sweet and sour. The fruit can be opened by squeezing until the rind splits or by using a knife. Like its King, manggis are banned from hotels as the purple skin leaves hard to remove stains on bed linens, upholstery, etc.
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Cempedak (top)
The cempedak is a fruit that is high in fibre and vitamin C, and one of the largest found in the country. Its green pocked outer flesh is hacked open to reveal fleshy yellow pulp which has a strong pungent smell and ‘honey-like’ taste (some even suggest they are more aromatic than durian!). It is often coated in batter, deep-fried, and sold as a tasty snack in Malaysian markets. 
Salak (bottom left)
Snake fruit (Salak) is a species of palm tree native to Java and Sumatra in Indonesia, and can be found in Sabah and Sarawak. Its scaly appearance looks like snake skin or even a dragon egg, but beneath its surface is flesh which is delicious combo of sweet, sour and juicy. 
Rambutan (bottom right)
The white fleshy fruit and seed are contained within a red or yellow “hairy skin” (its name is in fact derived from rambut, which means “hair” in Bahasa Malaysia).
 
The flesh is slightly smaller than a golf ball and while it’s related to the lychee and longan family, rambutan has its own sweet flavour profile. They are sold in bunches with long stems attached and eaten fresh. Simply pull the skin apart to reveal the delicious flesh inside.

While most are available in the large supermarkets, some are only available in remote tamu markets (local farmers’ markets). These fruits can also be found as the base for delicious local ice cream, called ice cream potong, which is served on a stick. While not always easy to find, ice cream potong made from cempedak and other flavours like jackfruit, coconut, and durian, is definitely worth seeking out.