For the past few weeks, fruit lovers in Malaysia have been indulging themselves with juicy seasonal fruits. As a tropical country, Malaysia is home to many tropical fruits of Malaysia. People often travel to this country around June to August to taste this special season. Since you have prepared yourself with Malay greetings and vocabs, why not plan a trip to Malaysia, maybe around June to August, and enjoy all the Malay fruits at your disposal? Let’s learn some fruits of Malaysia, their names and how to pronounce them!
Seasonal Malaysian Fruits
Fruit in Malay is called ‘buah‘ (pronounce: boo-uh). This is because the tropical climate in Malaysia is perfect for many tropical fruits of Malaysia. Hence we have fruits that are always in the season and those that are available all year round.
1. Durian: The King
Durian, also a famous fruit in Thailand, is named after the Bahasa Malaysia word ‘Duri,’ which means ‘thorn’, and the suffix ‘-an‘. It has been gaining popularity recently, with many famous people giving it a try in front of the camera. There are only two types of people when it comes to Durian: those who love Durians to the point of obsession and those who cannot stand it due to the smell. It is always one extreme or the other when it comes to loving and hating Durian.
Durian is crowned as the King of Fruits due to the regal appearance of its thorns; the king of fruits can grow up to the size of a basketball (depending on the species). Its shell is green-brown, and it is covered with thick thorns. To get to the sweet, fragrant (or pungent) yellow flesh inside, one must peel off the complicated and thorny shell.
There are many varieties of Durian that can be found in Malaysia, but the most common ones will be “D24” and “Musang King” (Musang = civet). The prices of these Durian varieties can go up to RM100 (24 USD) per kilogram, depending on the season. The cheapest one can get during the peak of Durian season, where you can buy Durian almost everywhere, which is usually in the middle of July.
Durian is best eaten fresh. However, there is always an excessive amount of Durian, especially from not-so-famous species. So what to do with these leftovers? Usually, Malaysians will cook it or process it into products. Some Durian dishes and products include Tempoyak, Durian fritters, Durian ice cream, Durian chips/crackers, and many more.
Also, a warning, of all fruits, Durian is the only one usually banned from public transport, airplane rides, hotels, and other public places. So make sure to enjoy it where you are supposed to!
Now, all kings must have a queen, right? Presenting mangosteen, the Queen of Fruits. In Bahasa Malaysia, Mangosteen is called Manggis (pronounce: Mung-geese).
Why is mangosteen considered the Queen? It is probably because its season is the same as the Durian, and people enjoy it. The sweet and juicy flesh of mangosteen has a cool and welcoming effect after a hot feast of Durian. There is also the fact that the top of the mangosteen looks like a crown of a queen.
The size of the fruit is usually no bigger than your average palm. The outside is purple-black in color, while the rind is bright purple when peeling; the white flesh inside is segmented into five or more pieces. Thus, there is only one way to enjoy it, eaten fresh from the fruit.
Mangosteen is known to have a high count of vitamin C and other health benefits. Hence it is one of the most famous seasonal tropical fruits. The rind is also packed with vitamin C, B1, B2, and others, which are good, especially for the skin, stomach, and blood pressure. Thus, there are many local soap products as well as powder for medicinal purposes made out of Mangosteen rind.
Another one of the famous Malaysian fruits is called rambutan, also the same name in Bahasa Malaysia (pronounce: rum-boo-tun). The name comes from the Bahasa Malaysia word ‘Rambut,’ which means ‘hair,’ plus the suffix ‘-an’. Why hair? That is because the fruit is covered with hair. The color of the rind is usually red or yellow.
Rambutan is never bigger than a table tennis ball. The rambutan fruit has white-cream translucent flesh, and the taste is sweet and juicy. If it is not sweet, then it is not ripe. Just like the previous tropical fruit, rambutan has to be eaten fresh, or you can peel it beforehand and eat it after it is refrigerated. Rambutan fruit is also rich in vitamin C, which means a perfect snack to have during your leisure time without feeling guilty.
If you try to translate Cempedak Fruit (pronounce: chuhm-puh-duck) into English, you will probably get the name Jackfruit. However, Jackfruit is usually referring to the Nangka fruit. The Cempedak Fruit is similar looking to the Jackfruit, but it is generally smaller in size, and its sweet smell is stronger, especially when it ripens. You can find the fruit during its season a little early, around May to July, between November and February.
The rind of the fruit is dull green, and its flesh is a shiny golden-yellow color. The flesh is sweet and can be eaten as it is, or you can fry it and turn it into Cempedak Fritters! Cempedak fritters are a common snack that you can find in any local Malaysian night market; their soft texture inside and the crunchiness outside are a favorite amongst locals. The seeds of Cempedak are also edible; people would boil the seeds and eat them like nuts.
5. Longkong / Langsat
Langsat (pronounce: lung-suht) is also known as the longkong fruit in English. The Langsat fruit is another fruit native to Malaysia. Its flesh is transparent and has a unique sweet and sour taste to it. The skin is a soft yellow color that is easy to peel.
Langsat has been known for its properties to fight against many types of cancer. Unfortunately, the Langsat fruit is also seasonal, meaning you can only find them around June to August.
6. Rose Apple
Rose Apple, also identified as a water apple, is commonly known as Jambu Air in Bahasa Malaysia. The word ‘Jambu’ (pronounce: jum-boo) is actually Guava Fruit, while ‘Air’ (pronounce: uh-y-air) means ‘water’ in Bahasa Malaysia, so it directly translates to ‘water guava.’ It is a local fruit, and the skin of Jambu Air fruit is pink to bright red and has a wax feeling to it. The Rose Apple fruit itself is bell-shaped and can be eaten as it is, though the taste and texture are not the same as an Apple. The season for this fruit is from May to September and November to March. This native fruit is also rich in vitamin C and other nutrients.
Sapodilla fruit is called ‘Ciku’ (pronounce: chee-coo) in Bahasa Melayu. You can find this fruit in Malaysia and other countries like India, Thailand, Mexico, and others. The Ciku trees will only fruit twice a year- the perfect season to look for Ciku is around March and November only. So do watch out for them if you happen to be in Malaysia around this time.
The Ciku fruit is small, oval, and brown- almost like a kiwi fruit in appearance, except its hair is finer than a kiwi’s. The taste is also supposed to be sweet, despite not looking very colorful.
Starfruit is considered a popular fruit in Malaysia due to its shape. It looks like an elongated star, and it will take the shape of a perfectly proportioned star if sliced horizontally. In Bahasa, it is called Belimbing (pronounce: buh-leem-bing).
Its season is usually between April to June and October to December. The skin of the starfruit has a wax appearance to it, while the flesh is juicy and slightly crunchy. There are two types of color for starfruit, which are the yellow ones, which taste sweet, and the light green ones, which have a slightly salty taste.
Malaysians are very creative with not wasting fruits that are not directly edible due to their strong taste. Hence, if the starfruit has a strong flavor, people would include them in their dishes to replace vegetables or meat.
Year-Round Malaysian Fruits
Yes, a widely known fruit but also native to Malaysia. You can use the name ‘Papaya’ anywhere in Malaysia, and everyone would understand you. Still, the Bahasa Malaysia word for Papaya is ‘Betik‘ (pronounce: buh-take), and its skin color is yellow-orangey when it ripens. Betik is also one of the fruits of Malaysia you can find throughout the year and should be eaten raw. The taste of Papaya is usually sweet and juicy with a soft texture. Unless you eat it when it is not ripe enough, then the fruit would be very hard to chew, and tasteless. As long as the skin has no light green color, you are good to go.
If you visit anyone in a village area, almost every house and land would at least have a Papaya tree. It is easy to grow anywhere in Malaysia!
Jangfruit, as mentioned above, is known as ‘Nangka‘ in Bahasa Malaysia (pronounce: nung-kuh). It is a local fruit, and it is slightly larger than Cempedak and not as soft or sweet, but it has its unique taste and chewy texture. The rind can be of light green to brownish-dark green color. People in Malaysia usually eat the flesh raw or cook it in gravy/curry. Therefore, you may find this fruit throughout the year.
Warning: if you plan to crack open any of Nangka or Cempadak fruits, you might want to wear plastic gloves or prepare any oil to wash away the tree and fruit sap!
3. Snake Fruit
The Snake fruit is known as ‘Salak‘ in Bahasa Malaysia (pronounce: suh-luck). Why is it called the snake fruit? Well, the skin of the fruit is reddish-brown and scaly, just like snakeskin. The skin might look hard, but it is pretty easy to eat. The Salak fruit is also local to Malaysia and available all year round. The flesh inside has an apple-like texture and can be dry, moist, or crunchy- depending on the type and species. The taste can be sweet and sour on a stronger side. Some say that the flesh of this fruit is a combination of pineapple and banana.
It is said that Salak is good for the brain and has anti-cancer properties as well. In Malaysia, people usually eat the fruit after it is fermented.
Other Fruits In Malaysia
Learn More About Malaysia And The Language
As you can observe, many fruits would be in season in these following months: November to March and June to August. Therefore, after learning about the fruits of Malaysia, you have plenty of time to plan your visit to Malaysia and learn Bahasa Malaysia before heading here and enjoy the local fruits of Malaysia.
If you need a way to learn Bahasa Malaysia effectively, you can visit Ling App and give it a try. Why not speak to the local people like a local while you’re at it? If you want to learn any other language, you are very welcome to try Ling App. We have so many to offer! You can also learn how to say greetings in different languages, learn to introduce yourself in other languages, different cultures, and many more.