I was surprised to find the Thailand type of longan in a make shift stall behind Ah Kow's restaurant. It even had green leaves. It's likely imported from Thaialnd via West Malaysia. Or has Sarikei started to farm them? In the 1960-80s, I didn't see such longan in Sarikei, except in canned desserts. Remember those longan and peach dessert from the masssive wedding banquets?
Longan 龍眼 (dragon's eyes) is aptly named because its black seed is covered by thick translucent white meat and resembles an eye. In Malaysia, it's also known as mata kuching (cat's eyes in Malay). It has its origin in Southern China but is found throughout SE Asia now. The brown shell in not edible but the white flesh is absolutely sweet and juicy.
Dried longan 圓肉 (round meat in Chinese) is often found in Sarikei's grocery stores. Its dried meat is black and sweet. Its dried shell is brittle. It is often used to cook herbal soups and desserts.
Sarawak's local longan has a lumpy shell. The meat is thinner and the flesh is clearer. It has an exotic sweetness that's different from the Thailand version. Have you ever seen Sarawak's longan in West Malaysia or Singapore? Sarawak's longan may benefit from selective breeding to develop hybrids with thicker flesh.
Do you have an eye for Thailand's longan or Sarawak's eye of the dragon?