Malaysia is a country blessed with many wonderful things. This tropical country enjoys perennial economic and political stability and is home to many expatriates who come to Malaysia to seize opportunities from the growing economy. Not surprisingly, many expats have made Malaysia their second home, enjoying the country, the hospitality of the people, the heat, and the climate; and they love our fruits.
Malaysia is a country with a vibrant tropical climate where year-long heat and abundant rainfall permit a wide variety of delicious fruits to flourish. Some of the fruits – such as durian, mangosteen, rambutan, and pomelo – are indigenous, while some (like papaya, guava, jackfruit, and watermelon) were introduced to the country many years ago. Some are seasonal, while some are available throughout the year. As a general guide, most seasonal fruits can be found in abundance between June and August, and between November and February each year.
When travelling to the country, many people are curious about durian. With its distinct features, durian is one of the most recognisable fruits in Malaysia. 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 (depending on its variety) and is strongly flavored and sharply aromatic. The smell is strong and can put off many first-time tasters but, once the succulent and creamy flesh is tasted, many begin to understand why it is called the King of Fruits. Durian is a must-try for anyone visiting Malaysia. The durian season peaks in May and late December each year.
What is a King without a Queen, you may ask. Quite rightly so; let us hail mangosteen, durian’s majestic companion. This delicate, globular fruit has a leathery, purplish-brown skin which encloses four or five snowy white segments of flesh. Mangosteen has a sweet pleasant taste and is rich in vitamin C and other essential minerals. The taste of Malaysian mangosteen is so good that this fruit is much sought after in distant places such as Europe, USA, China, and Japan. Mangosteen season peaks in early June and late December each year.
Next up is the rambutan, a very popular native fruit that shares some similarities with lychees. Rambutan is an egg-shaped red fruit covered in dark, thin hair and grows in bunches. The yellow or red rambutan is believed to be rich in vitamin C and essential minerals. The translucent flesh inside the rambutan is soft, sweet, and juicy. Malaysia is blessed with this fruit as it is a refreshing treat, especially during a hot and humid day. Rambutan season peaks in early May and late December each year.
In the category of perennial fruits, Malaysia has the watermelon, which is widely available throughout the year and a very popular and refreshing fruit in the heat. The flesh of the watermelon is pink, deep red, or bright yellow (depending on the variety) and is occasionally served as a dessert in restaurants. Some watermelons have seeds and some are seedless. Chilled watermelon juice is a very soothing thirst-quencher and is readily available at most food stalls.
Another popular Malaysian fruit is the jackfruit, which is also available throughout the year. Jackfruit is rich in vitamins and one of the larger tropical fruits: it can weigh up to 40kg, but most traders prefer the smaller sizes. The golden flesh around the seed is succulent and has a very distinctive taste. Some jackfruit is very sweet and the taste is likened to honey. The seed is edible when boiled or roasted and is very nutritious. Jackfruit can be eaten fresh and is sometimes found in salads.
There are many other seasonal and perennial fruits available in Malaysia such as dokong (Lansium domesticum), papaya, mango, pineapple, dragonfruits, pomelo, and starfruit. Any of these fruits can be easily found at the various markets or in the supermarkets throughout the country, and they are best enjoyed when in season. Experience Malaysia through its wonderful fruits and be healthy at the same time!
Courtesy of the Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority (FAMA). For more information, visit www.fama.gov.my.
Source: The Expat March 2013
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