Malaysia is a fruit enthusiasts' paradise. The tropical climate creates a luxuriant plant life and produces a wide and remarkable diversity of edible and succulent fruit. It's indeed a fruit paradise for fruit-lovers. Several popular tropical fruits, whether they are indigenous to Malaysia or are introduced from other countries, are described.
Delicious tropical fruits grow in abundance in Malaysia
Malaysia is blessed with a vibrant tropical climate where perennial heat and abundant rainfall permit a wide variety of delicious fruit to flourish. Some of the fruits such as durian, mangosteen, cempedak, pomelo, rambutan,duku-langsat and snakefruit are indigenous, while the papaya, guava, ciku, soursop, mango, wax or honey apple, jackfruit, starfruit, and watermelon have been introduced over the years.
Some Malaysian fruits are seasonal while some are easily available throughout the year. Seasonal fruits are generally available between June and August and between November and February.
Come and discover the many interesting wonderful fruits of Malaysia.
The durian is the most popular local fruit and fondly regarded as the "King of Fruit". It's about the size of a football with a thick and fibrous husk covered by sharp spines. The flesh or pulp is creamy, white, yellow or golden yellow which is strongly flavored and sharply aromatic. Often eaten together with the mangosteen.
Durian season is from June to August and a smaller one from November to January.
Commonly referred to as the "Queen of Fruit", the mangosteen is often eaten after a hearty meal of durians. This delicate, globular fruit has a leathery, purplish-brown skin which encloses four snowy white segments of flesh. Mangosteen has a sweet pleasant taste and rich in vitamin C and essential minerals.
Mangosteen season is from June to August and a smaller one from December to January.
Cempedak (Artocarpus chempedon; A. integer)
An exquisite native Malaysian fruit and a cousin of the Jackfruit, the cempedak is a favorite fruit of most Malaysians. The cempedak exudes a distinctly strong smell when ripe. The waxy, golden yellow flesh is custard-like, juicy, sweet and has a pleasant smell. It can be eaten fresh, deep-fried in oil or processed into a refreshing juice. The seeds are edible when roasted or boiled in salty water and have a nutty flavor.
Cempedak season is from May to July and a smaller season from November to February.
Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum)
A very popular native fruit and a cousin to the Chinese lychee, the rambutan is named because of its hairy skin. The yellow or red rambutan is rich in vitamin C and essential minerals. The translucent flesh is soft, sweet and juicy. The rambutan is a very refreshing treat in the hot, humid weather of Malaysia.
Rambutan season is from June to August and a smaller one from November to January.
Papaya (Carica papaya)
The papaya or paw-paw is very popular for its sweet and succulent flesh. The thick flesh can be yellowish or pinkish-orange. It is rich in vitamins A and C and high in calcium. Papaya is a favorite breakfast fruit as well as a tantalizing dessert, especially when served chilled with a dash of lime. Try out the popular Exotica variety.
The papaya is available all the year round.
Mango (Mangifera indica)
The other "king of tropical fruit", Malaysian mangoes come in different shapes, sizes, textures and tastes. The pulp is slightly fibrous, succulent and firm. Mangoes are eaten fresh or processed into a refreshing drink. It flavors ice-cream and cereals, and makes excellent pickle and chutney. It is rich in vitamins A and C.
Mango season is from April to November.
Starfruit (Averrhoa carambola)
Starfruit or carambola is a refreshing and juicy five-angled fruit that has translucent attractive soft flesh with a distinctive flavor. Its deep ridges produce beautiful star-shaped cross-sections. Starfruit is very rich in vitamins and essential minerals (especially potassium) and high fibre content.
The starfruit is available all the year round.
Guava (Psidium guajava)
The guava is usually yellowish or yellowish green when ripe. This tropical fruit has a pleasant crunchy texture and a sweet-sour taste. It can be eaten fresh or blended and served as a refreshing juice. Guava is a good natural source of vitamins C and A, and minerals such as iron, potassium and calcium. The fruit is packed with tiny hard seeds or almost seedless.
The guava is available all the year round.
Ciku (Achras sapota Linn.)
The ciku or sapodilla comes from Central America. The fruit is round or oval with a smooth brown skin when ripe. The flesh is deep brownish hue with fine texture. It has a distinct sweet flavor to complement any dessert serving. Ciku has high vitamin and mineral content.
The ciku is available all the year round.
Pomelo (Citrus grandis)
The pomelo or pummelo is also known as 'Shaddock' and is the biggest of all citrus fruits. The locals called the fruit "Limau Bali". Closely related to the grapefruit, the pomelo is divided into 10 to 15 segments of juice-filled sacs. It is usually sweet and juicy. Popular varieties are the Tambun pomelo and Shating pomelo.
Pomelo season is from August to October and a smaller season from January to March.
Wax/Honey Apple (Syzgium samarangense)
Unlike the sweet-sour and smaller water apple (Jambu air) that comes from the villages, the better quality fruit that is usually sold in fresh markets or supermarkets is popularly known as "Jambu madu" or "honey apple". Jambu madu is sweeter and crunchier than the native water apple. It comes in many shapes, colors and sizes. Some are bell-shaped or conical, elongated or oval. It has a smooth texture, spongy, juicy and high in vitamin C. The skin is waxy and delicate and has a shiny light green to a rich red or crimson color.
Wax apple is usually available from March to May and August to November.
Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus)
The largest fruit in the world
The jackfruit which is rich in vitamins is a cousin of the cempedak. It is one of the larger tropical fruit popular in Malaysia. The golden flesh around the seed is succulent and has a very distinctive taste. Some are very sweet and often compared to honey. The seed is edible when boiled or roasted and is very nutritious. Unripe fruit serves as a vegetable in many local dishes. The ripe fruit often ends up in soups, ice creams and fruit salad.
The jackfruit is available all the year round.
Duku Langsat (Lansium domesticum)
Combining the good qualities of duku and langsat
The duku langsat is native to this country and has a high reputation for visitors especially from the East. Usually eaten as a fresh fruit, the flesh is translucent,with a delicate and sweet flavour.
Duku langsat season is from July to August and from November to February.
Watermelon (Citrullus vulgaris/lanatus)
Ancient fruit with numerous medicinal properties
The watermelon is a very popular and refreshing fruit in the hot and humid tropical climate. The flesh is pink, deep red or bright yellow. Some has small dark brown or black seeds and some are seedless. The chilled juice is a very soothing thirst-quencher. The flesh is a popular dessert and in combinations with other fruits. The juice and flesh are useful for heatstroke, fever, and vomiting. If your mouth is dry with a bitter taste and bad breath, eat some watermelon flesh or drink a glass of watermelon juice. It's refreshing and it works.
The watermelon is available all the year round.
Soursop (Annona muricata)
Locally call durian Belanda or durian mekah
The soursop belongs to the same family as the more famous custard apple and sugar apple. The fruit has a thin light greenish skin and bruised easily when ripe. The white pulp is rather fibrous and the soursop is more well known for its delightful sweet-acidic juice. The fruit has a high sugar content and a good source of vitamins B and C. The juice makes an excellent sorbet and flavourings for ice cream.
Soursop is usually available throughout the year with peaks during March-April, June-July and October-December.
Snakefruit (Salacca zalacca)
Tropical fruit with husk of scales
Known locally as salak, this exotic tropical fruit is little known outside Southeast Asia. The conical fruit is brownish and the thin skin is covered with scales like a snake - thus its name, snakefruit. The flesh is translucent, juicy and taste something like eating pineapple and banana together.
Salak season is from July-September on the east coast, and December-January and May-July from Pahang and Johore.