Friday, July 27, 2007

Food - Sarikei Longan

Sarikei's Thailand longan, 2007

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?

Thailand longan

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.

China longan (dried)

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.

Sarikei local longan, 2007

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.

Sarikei local longan, 2007

Do you have an eye for Thailand's longan or Sarawak's eye of the dragon?


Lidasar said...

Those are called Mata Kuching, now they sale them by weight Kg but in those days I bought them by the Cupak.

ront said...

swak longan....never seen them in KL....

the 1st says 'tempatan'....locals????

nelson said...

i know got ppl plant thai longans in miri

Daniel Yiek said...

Lidasar mentioned something that I have completely forgotten. In the old days, the hawkers and grocery stores measure and sell a lot of things like rice thru containers. Cupak (not sure about spelling) is a small container and there's a bigger container (Gantang => spelling?). I think 1 gantang = 4 cupaks.

Sim Y said...

At my old house, there was one lomgan tree, so was my neighbour. I also remember there were many other fruit trees like rambutan.

How keep the fruits safe from birds during day and bats during night?

One of the methods was using hanging nets, the other was hanging human metal figures which can also make a lot of noise by pulling the strings.

Kanga said...

I do recall the old standard measuring cylinders : 1 gantang = 4 cupaks (or pronounced chupaks??). And there was even a smaller measuring cylinder after cupak/chupak; i.e. 1 chupak = 2 Lins (or nins; some one please help with the spelling!). Back to the longan or mata kcuing; they are nice!

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