1. Durio Kutejensis
This is a species of durian I sometimes call the Pineapple Durian or Bubblegum durian. Sweet and waxy, it tastes very different from the durian you’re accustomed to. It’s also quite a bit lower in fat! A normal durian has about 30% of it’s calories from fat, while Durio kutejensis has just 10%.
You can spy them by their small size, yellow-colored thorns, and the way they look like 5-petaled flowers from the top with all their lobes sticking out.
Many people who dislike durian actually like these, especially the young/unripe versions, which have a pale orange flesh and are even a bit crispy. If allowed to ripen on the tree, they’ll turn a dark, fiery orange and develop a delicious white-chocolate creaminess.
2. Durio Graveolens
One of my top favorites, orange or yellow D. graveolens are dense and peanut-butter creamy. Unlike D. kutejensis, these are higher in fat than normal durian, and you can totally tell! Sticky, sweet, with a weird alcoholic zing, I could eat these all day.
You can recognize them by their small size, perfect round shape, close knit green thorns, and a tiny nub of a stem that may be so small you can’t hold it.
3. Belimbing Hutan (Baccaurea angulata)
This sweet-sour, fluffy fruit tastes like a very big rambai. The flesh sticks to the seed and has that same weird, marshmallowy quality that I personally love. Locals call them “forest starfruits,” even though they’re not even close to related to the actual Starfruit.
I wouldn’t personally choose to eat a lot of these, but they’re a fun snack while wandering the market, and a beautiful fruit.
4. Bambangan (Mangifera pajang)
One of my favorite fruit in all this world, the large Pajang or Bambangan mango is an odd creature. They vary widely in flavor and texture, from so stringy and juicy you basically have to suck on them without chewing, to dense and satisfyingly meaty. The flavor can be burn-your-lips sour, a bit peppery or pizza-like, or sweet and savory like the best basil-herbal gelato. I love these things.
Luckily, they’re relatively easy to find. They look like enormous brown cannonballs or dinosaur eggs, sometimes grayish with cracks or scarring.
Be careful of the peel, as it contains a sap that will burn your skin and is the reason I took so few photos of myself in Sarawak — one overeager bite too close to that skin and I had a large, ugly scab across my cheek and chin. Peel them with a knife and then enjoy!
5. Cempedak (Artocarpus integer)
Cempedak is another of my top fruits. A good one sends orange or yellow juice trickling down your forearms as you bask in its soft, intense honey-lemon sweetness. It’s a relative of the jackfruit, and can interbreed with jack pretty freely, but is not the same thing. Just try it.
Cempedaks looks like small, lumpy jackfruits with a smooth skin. They are light greenish brown when ripe, and turn orangey-brown as they become overripe. Test them by squeezing them for give/springiness and smelling them for a very strong aroma.
One of my top reasons to go to Sarawak would be to eat Dabai. These things are addictive, truly “moreish” if I can use the Australian slang. When they’re around, I can’t stop eating them.
Sometimes known as tropical olives, Dabai are fatty fruits with a delectable nutty savoriness. You have to soften them in hot water before eating.
They sell them in various “tiers” by price. Cheaper ones tend to be small, with barely any flesh to soften. Larger ones are meatier but can have less flavor. Shoot for the middle.
My friend Daniela goes wild for these elfin pinks, so I’m always on the look out for them even though I have personally not developed a liking for them yet. They’re soft and creamy as cheesecake inside, pure white or slightly greenish, and the flavor is just strange. It’s cheesy, I think, but it’s been a long time since I’ve had cheese.
The trick to these is that they must be beaten and bruised and then left for 10-15 minutes before eating, otherwise they taste spicy and will likely make your throat hurt.
Another fruit that I inexplicably love, tampois look like brown mangosteens with a little stem attached. But they’re not in the same family and don’t taste the same at all.
Tampoi can be white or yellow inside, are sweet with a hint of acid that makes them very delicious. They have the same marshmallowy texture of all the Bauccareas, but they’re bigger, so more to eat.
9. Pulasan (Nephelium mutabile)
These are rambutan’s tastier cousins. They’re juicier, sweeter, and taste a lot like concord grapes. I do actually prefer them to rambutans, but they’re often so hard to find.
These can be recognized because they look like rambutans but they don’t have any hair. They’re just bumpy. They’re also easier to open — just twist them in half.
10. Rambai (Baccaurea motleyana)
These are another relative of tampoi and belimbing hutan. They’re actually more common, and you can find them in Thailand and peninsular Malaysia too. I really like them as a snack. They’re small and sweet-tart, and and the flesh clings inseparable to their small seeds. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t swallow seeds you could find them really frustrating to eat. – From of The Durian