KOTA KINABALU: It is the season of fruits this time of the year, not only for durian but also for many others.
In Sabah, there is a fruit called tarap that is also much loved and sought after. It comes into season starting July and August.
Tarap is mainly found in the Land Below the Wind and best eaten when it is almost ripe so that it will still have that little bit of crunch and bouncy texture.
This fruit, when still immature, can be made into a soup or stir fried with chicken or pork.
Tarap lovers describe this jackfruit- and durian-like fruit as sweet and aromatic, but those who are not quite so fond of it often go so far as to say it has a weird diesel-like stench.
“I am from Ipoh but have been in Sabah since 2003 and am now married to a Sabahan,” said 39-year-old Dino Ng.
“One day, my wife brought home some tarap, but due to my non-existent knowledge of this fruit, I initially thought that someone – perhaps loan sharks – had poured diesel into our house,” he said.
Ng, who loves durian, found out that the smell came from the fruit his wife had brought home and he was then forced to try it and finish it, although he did not like it.
Amy Chan, 37, tried tarap 10 years ago during a trip to Sabah.
“It tasted interesting, but not so much that I immediately fell in love and wanted more – it was just okay for me,” she said.
Trader Albert Chia from Klang said he also did not find this fruit up to his expectations, given the hype over it.
“I felt that it tasted all right, but not so much that I wanted to have it over and over again,” said the 48-year-old.
However, there are many who fell in love immediately after the first taste.
Teacher Azlina Sabar, who lives in Johor Baru, said words cannot describe how delicious she finds this fruit.
“I tasted it many years back when I visited Sabah. I love this fruit and do not know when I’ll be able to go to Sabah just to taste it again,” she said.
Alyssa Qhaizara posted on Facebook that she loves tarap and she finds it juicier and more delicious than jackfruit or cempedak.
Sabahan Ashley Leslie loves tarap and misses eating it, as he has been stuck in Kuala Lumpur for over a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Can someone please send it over here to me?” he said.
He heard there were traders who managed to ship the fruit over to Peninsular Malaysia, but the price was marked up too much.
This fruit is usually priced less than RM10 each – cheaper or more expensive depending on supply and demand – and in Peninsular Malaysia, they can be sold for up to RM100 per kg.