Like any state in the country, Terengganu is never lack of fruits supplies through the whole year. Some of these fruits are grown locally here to serve the local market or other nearby areas and some are imported from the neighbouring countries or states. The major fruits cultivation area in Terengganu is in Ketengah where there are orchards cultivating duku, durian, rambutan etc. Almost all of the fruits can be found in any fruit stall by the road or in the market. During fruit season, a visit to Centre Market in Kuala Terengganu is worth as you can see all kind of on-season fruits and of course not to forget to carry some with you when you leave.
Duku (Lansium domesticum)
Duku is round in shape and slightly bigger than a golf ball. It grows in clusters with a thick leathery skin which is in golden brown colour and can be peeled into segments when gently pressed on the top of the fruit. Each fruit composed of a few segments of juicy and refreshing flesh that is tangy sour to sweet taste. Some segments may contain small and bitter seeds. The flesh is usually white but some are pink.
Duku is originated from West Malaysia but it is cultivated through out the whole region nowadays. It takes about fifteen years for a duku tree to reach maturity; but the wait is worthwhile as they bear clusters of fruit twice a year thereafter. There are farmers blend both duku and langsat and produce a new innovation species, that is the Duku-Langsat which bears the characteristic of both duku and langsat.
In Terengganu, duku is cultivated in Manir area in Kuala Terengganu. During the harvest season, there are lorries lining up outside the orchards as to collect and weight the fruits then distribute to other areas later.
Salak (Snake fruit)
The salak, or snake fruit which grows in clusters at the base of the plant has dark-brown shiny skin which is tough. It is originated from Indonesia but is now also grown in Thailand and Malaysia. Surprisingly the rough skin is thin and easy to peel. Inside you'll find a light-tan firm, dry and crunchy fruit divided into three or more lobes, usually with a single seed in the largest section. The fruit has a tannin content and if it is not properly ripe, the taste can be unpleasantly astringent. A ripe salak is always creamy yellow colour and has a sweet acid taste rather like a pineapple. Salak is not juicy which makes them especially convenient to peel and eat. The fruit has the firmness of a carrot and a distinctively agreeable flavour quite unlike any other fruit. Beside eaten in fresh, people in Terengganu also make this fruit into pickled or hot packed into syrup. These reproduced salak can be found in stalls by the road or in Center Market of Kuala Terengganu.
Salak fruit is cultivated in for commercial purpose in Ketengah in Terengganu. Recently there is another newly innovated clone, the salak pondos which can be cultivated in hydroponics method and harvest all year round in 2 years time. It is sweeter and allows higher yield.
Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum)
Rambutan is natively grows in Malaysia and Indonesia. This hairy fruits hang on branches on woody stalk and is round or oblong in shape. The hairy thin and pliable skin gains it the name, which ‘rambut’ means hair in Malay. It is usually in greenish colour and will turn to yellow or red when it is ripe. To eat the fruit, you have peel or cut the skin. The pearly white flesh of the fruit varies in quality and taste. A good rambutan is said to have firm and juicy flesh. Rambutan is usually eaten in fresh and raw or can be added to fruit salads or made into jams. When you pass by any village area during the fruiting season, you can easily see clusters of rambutans hanging on the trees, when it is ripe, the tree will actually look like a enlarged Christmas tree.
Langsat comes from the same species as duku but langsat grows not as wide as duku does and is cultivated on a lesser scale. Langsat fruits are always smaller and oval in the shape as compared with duku. The skin is pale and fawn colour. Langsat usually grow in 6 to 12 fruits in a single cluster and each fruits composed of a few segments each each with green and bitter seed and sourer in the taste. The skin exudes latex or sap even when it is mature, this makes it less welcome than duku.
Durian (Durio zibethinus)
The locals call this thorny football-size fruit as the 'King of Fruits'. The fruit is round to elongated green to greenish bronze in colour and covered with sharp spines. It normally contains 5-6 locules, each with 1- 5 seeds embedded in custard-like aril which is whitish-cream to orangey yellow in colour.
Durian is a seasonal fruits seasonal fruit although commercial cultivation has made it available most times of the year. A ripe durian produces strong smell so bad that it is prohibited in most of the hotel and airplane in South East Asia. Beside eaten fresh, it is also produced into various traditional products such as durian cake, durian ice ream or the fermented tempoyak which is eat with the ulam. It is worth to have at least a try on this King of the fruit. A good durian is always creamy rich and little bitter. Orchards in Ketengah cultivate durian for commercial purpose for the local market beside imported from Thailand.
Star fruit (Averrhoea carambola)
Star fruit tree has a lot of branches thus producing a lot of water shoots. The fruit is oval in shape with 5 ribs or angles which give a star shape when cut. This gives it the name as star fruit. The skin of the fruit is green when small and will turn into yellow or orange when ripe. The flesh is always juicy and varies from sour to sweet. Star fruit is not a seasonal fruit and can be found all year round. It is rich in Vitamin B and C and is believed that star fruit can lower the blood pressure.
There is no English name for this fruit but Belimbing asam is a little similar appearance with star fruit, only differences are the size and taste which is smaller and sourer than star fruit. Apart from this, Belimbing Assam is also distinguishable by its smooth, unridged, yellowish-green skin, looking a little like a pickle. Juicy and acidic, this fruit is used in Malaysia for making such pickles as the Malay "sunti"; in curries; and stewed as a vegetable. Unlike the star fruit, Belimbing assam has less market value and is not exported. It is normally grown in the yard for home used.
There are various type of banana can be found in Malaysia all with different name and appearance. For example Pisang mas is the short and little banana, Pisang rastali and Pisang Tanduk are often made into fried banana and other dining banana such as Pisang Susu, Pisang Raja etc. Some bananas are even made into dishes together with its stem and flowers.
Banana is available year round and it is always not expensive in price. Banana tree has a large expanded leaves, about 2.0 m long and 50 cm wide. It has entire leaf margin and the leaf stalk elongated to form the leaf sheath. Because of the unique fragrance produced and the size, banana leaf is often used as wrapper to certain local food such as Nasi Lemak and Kuih Tepung Pelita.
When buying a banana select that is slightly green, firm, and without bruises. If the bananas have a gray tint and a dull appearance, these have been refrigerated, preventing them from ripening properly.
Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana)
Mangosteen is round in shape and the skin is light green when it is young and will eventually turn to reddish or dark purple when it is ripe. It takes about 15 years to grow a mangosteen tree before it is mature enough to produce any fruit. The flesh in the fruit is snowy white and nicely arranged in segmental form. Each fruit will have normally 6-10 segments inside. It is delicately tasted and soft. There are stigmatic lobes at the bottom part of the external cortex that shows the number of segments of the fruit and will persist until the fruit ripens. Amazing! To eat the fruit, you have to cut the thick but yet soft cortex. Be careful with the purple colour juice excretes from the cortex when you open it, it will stain your cloth.
It is also called ‘the Queen of Fruits’ in Malaysia and is believe to be cool (Ying) in nature and will neutralized the heat (Yang) from other fruit, eg. durian, the King of the fruits. This answers the doubt that why it is always bought when ones is buying durian. Mangosteen is always eaten in ripen. However there are villagers eat when it is unripe by washing away the latex produces from the unripe skin.
Jack fruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus)
There is proverbs in Malay : Siapa makan nangka, dia kena getah” ---- who eats the nangka (jack fruit), will be touched by the sap, meaning that you are responsible for your own action. Name of this fruit always gives space for imagination as it always sounds like ‘Jack’s fruit’. Jack fruit hang on a stalk from the tree trunk, large and oblong in shape. A mature Jack fruit can reach to 30-90cm long, 30-50cm wide and 5-8kg in weight. Therefore it can be easily recognized among the fruit. Jack fruit has thick skin with thorns which are not shape. The flesh is firm and yellowish with seed encases in the fruit. It is eaten raw and the seeds can be eaten when it is boiled. However, the flesh is also used as dish when the fruit is unripe. There is sap produced when you cut the fruit and it is sometimes used to capture birds by the villagers. It is normally grown in yard in the village area.
Cempedak (Artocarpus champeden)
Many people confuse Cempedak with Jack fruit. They both look similar from the outer skin except cempedak is smaller and with stronger smell than jack fruit and it is a seasonal fruit. The flesh of cempedak is softer and smaller with orangey yellow. It is eaten in raw but more commonly deep fried.
Papaya (Carica papaya)
This is one of the non seasonal and evergreen fruits in Malaysia. There is always a soft main trunk and tufted leaves at the top.
Papaya vary in sizes, shape, colour and taste. The outer skin is smooth and always in green colour and will turn to yellow when it is ripe. It's an excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Folic Acid, Potassium, Copper, Phosphorus, Iron and Fiber. It is excellent for digestive.
Ciku (Manilkara achras)
Ciku looks similar to a kiwi fruit except it has smooth, non hairy but rusty skin. Ciku is granulated and yellowish to pinkish brown in colour when it is ripe. It can be oblong or round in shape depends on the species. Ciku found in Terengganu is always oblong and light brownish in the flesh.
A well grown ciku can be in a size of 5 to 10cm long. Ripe ciku is soft and sweet unlike the unripe which is hard and unpleasantly astringent and with milky sap. It is normally eaten in fresh although there is also fried ciku slices and jam in the market.
When the skin is peeled, the soft flesh is sliced into pieces which often carved into decorative shapes. There are about 2 to 4 flat oblong black and smooth seeds in the fruit.
Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)
Perhaps everybody will agree that watermelon is the best choice to cure your thirst in a hot sunny day. It produces so much sweet and pleasantly scented juice that can easy your throat in a second.
Watermelon has herbaceous stem and tendrils and creeps on the ground. It is vary in the shape and colour of the fresh. The traditional species has light green with stripes on the skin and passionate red in the flesh. However with the new innovation in the cultivation, you can see watermelon in dark green skin and yellowish or orangey yellow flesh.