Tropical fruits of Borneo

Here’s a list of some of the fruits that you can find in Borneo. Some are common tropical fruits like the rambutan and mangosteen, while some are less commonly found like the tarap, bambangan and belunu.

Some fruits can be found the whole year round, but most are seasonal. Fruiting season is usually between July to September and December to January.

In Sabah, the best place to sample the local fruits is at Kundasang, near Kinabalu Park, and for those heading south, along the roadside from Papar to Beaufort. In Kota Kinabalu, the Filipino market and Central market are good places to satisfy your tropical fruit cravings.


Local Fruits

Local/English name: Rambutan

“Rambut” means hair in Malay, and the name aptly describes this local seasonal fruit. The flesh inside is transparent white in colour and completely covers the wood-like seed. It is sometimes difficult to completely remove the flesh from the seed. Rambutans look and tastes like lychee, but is sweeter and very juicy.  Tastes even better when it is refrigerated.

Taste: 8 (out of 10)


Local/English name: langsat

A small oval-shaped fruit, about the size of the circle that you make with your thumb and index finger. A bit sourish, compared to the rambutan. The greenish seed is bitter, so be careful not to bite into it. The latex from the fruit leaves your hand sticky after eating it.

Taste: 6.5 (out of 10)


Local/English name: Bambangan

A mango disguised as a coconut. The skin colour is similar to a husked coconut, but one touch and you will know the difference. Peel it, and it is even more apparent. This mango-like fruit tastes like a very sour mango, and is therefore seldom eaten as a fruit, but rather it is used in cooking when you want to add a sour taste to your dish. Cut up and mixed with its grated seed to be sold in bottles in local markets in Borneo. A fruit very common in Borneo, but not found in Peninsular Malaysia.

Taste: 3 (out of 10)