Thursday, August 30, 2007

Food - Sarikei Exotic Fruits: Wuchong and Mujau

Wild fruit Wuchong. 2007

Part of the fun of traveling by road from Kuching to Sarikei is stopping at those rest stops. After your bio break and kopitiam (coffeshop) refuel, stroll along the amazing array of fruits and vegetables brought there by the natives (Iban, Bidayuh, etc). You will often find exotic Sarawak tropical fruits that you have not tasted before. After you have asked for the name of the fruits, you will have a tough time pronouncing it because of the different accent. Then you will forget the name as you walk along unless you have brought along a pen and paper like yours truly.

Wild fruit Wuchong. 2007

The fruit wuchong or uchong (Baccaurea angulata Merr.) is like a lady in red. Pretty and shapely with several facets on the outside. After you have broken through the thick skin, you will find the white flesh bundled in 4 cloves. The flesh is like sweet custard and does not come off easily from the seed. Export potential is low because it does not rank high on the delicious scale. Shelf life may be short because the skin starts to dry up (see picture 1 but I'm not sure how long that bunch had been displayed)

Wild fruit Mujau. 2007

The next fruit is what the Iban call mujau (scientific name Nephelium maingayi). The Melanau calls it serait. Its rounder cousins are called buah enseruit. It looks like a small version of the lychee with its red skin. Break the thin skin to reveal what looks like a small rambutan. Well, it does taste like a rambutan with an exotic twist in flavour. If you have enough adventurous spirit to try only one exotic fruit, this is the one not to miss.

Wild fruit Mujau. 2007

Why will you try only one type anyway? You may never see the same fruit again because some of these are seasonal and you may not pass by the area that time of the year again. The natives had traveled significant distance to trade at these rest stops. These are not just wild tropical fruits but also fruits of labour.


Sim Y said...

That is interesting. I don't think I saw these fruits before.
Will try them when I am back.

Daniel Yiek said...

Daniel Yiek said...
Ikan Sembilang wrote to Alastair Morrison, former Asst District Officer for Sarikei District. His wife, Hedda Morrison, took those old Sarikei pics. Click "Hedda" label on sidebar.

He remembers Mr. Ngu Ee King, the late owner of the textile shop and Southern Hotel at No. 21 Repok Road (Shop # 6, Block 3 Left from Rejang River), whom he had helped to obtain a 12-bore shotgun.

----- Original Message -----
To: (Ikan Sembilang - email address removed)
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2007 4:55 PM
Subject: from Alastair Morrison

Thank you for your interesting letter. I never heard the name ' Glass House' nor do I remember glass windows. I well remember Mr Ngu EE King and I am delighted to know that his family are still running the textile business he founded after his success as a pioneer pepper planter.

I think there must be additional photos of Sarikei amongst the negatives stored in Cornell. I now have serious problems with my sight but I had my 92nd birthday on August 24.

With best wishes and kind regards, Alastair Morrison

This was dictated to me , his cousin, on the afternoon of August 30th.
Melissa McCarthy

Lidasar said...

Ever wonder if this could be the next ‘raspberry’ or ‘kiwifruit’ if it grows somewhere in California or Florida. Everything that grows in Malaysia you have to marginalize it and today is 50th Merdeka and I have to stay in a far away land to have my talent welcome and appreciated. Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!

Frugivore said...

I love the Sarikei market.You can always find something unusual during fruit seasons. Like the juicy mujau or ucong you have posted.I'm looking forward seeing more local fruits posted on your blog!


paper said... a student from one of the local U in malaysia..and currently doing some research on nutritional composition of indigenous u knw where can i get this fruit (red angle tampoi)?? it fruiting season now..thank you very much

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