Wild exotic tropical fruits a hit during fruit season in Sabah

MOHD IZHAM UNNIP ABDULLAH

TAMPARULI: Apart from wild dalit durians (red to orange flesh), the wild mango or locally known as ‘bambangan’ is one of the most sought after exotic tropical fruits during the fruit season in Sabah.

The Mangifera pajang, as it is scientifically called, has yellowish-gold flesh with a unique sour, sweet taste. It can be eaten on its own and it can also be made into sambal or pickle as well as mixed into cooking to enhance flavour.

Endemic to Borneo island, the ‘bambangan’ fruit can be found throughout Sabah and they are sold at market places, shops, and roadside stalls while in season which is early August to October end.

The fruit is measured based in its weight. A ‘bambangan’ usually weighs between 500g to 1kg and priced between RM1 to RM5.

However, there is a giant ‘bambangan’ variety weighing 3kg at an open market in Tamparuli town, near here. It is being sold at RM15 by a local trader Joana Pedtung, 38.

Joana said although the size of her ‘bambangan’ was somewhat extraordinary, there was no difference except the larger ones have more flesh. “The taste is still the same. It’s sour and sweet but if you make it into pickle, it’s better because of the thick flesh. You can get more flesh when sliced before they are fermented in containers. Once it is made into pickle, the price will be more expensive,” she said.

She said the bambangan pickle, with added salts, could last for about a year.

Another exotic fruit known as ‘bundu’ or ‘belunu’ is also among the sought-after fruits during the fruit season, mostly in the west coast and interior districts.

Lupini Musi, 47, who sells fruits at the market in Tamparuli, said the ‘bundu’ was priced between RM5 to RM10. The fruits were usually sold in bunches of between four to 10 fruits. The fruits are sweet.

“However, one has to be very careful when opening the fruit. If you come into contact with the seed, you’ll get ‘bunduon’,” he said.

‘Bunduon’, for the Kadazandusun community, means to be inflicted with diseases such as scabies or rashes after consuming a ‘belunu’ fruit, in which its gummy seed is sliced. It is said to affect those with low antibodies.

Another exotic local fruit which can be found at markets is the ‘marang’ or ‘tarap’, sold at RM5 and RM15 a fruit.

When the ‘tarap’ fruit is still young, it can be cooked as a vegetable and mixed with salted fish. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd