Indonesia is a tropical paradise known for its rich biodiversity, which includes a treasure trove of exotic fruits. While some fruits are readily available in local markets, there are several rare gems that are less commonly seen but boast unique flavors and textures.
Honje (Baccaurea Racemosa)
Honje, also known as Binjai Belanda, is a tropical fruit with a distinct sweet and sour taste. It is native to Southeast Asia and is commonly found in the western part of Java, such as in West Java and Banten. The fruit has a greenish-yellow skin and juicy white flesh. Despite its mouth-watering taste, Honje is not widely available in commercial markets, making it a rare and sought-after treat.
Kupa Gowok (Salacca Sumatrana)
Kupa Gowok, also known as Salak Sumatera, is a type of salak fruit that is native to Sumatra. Unlike the common salak varieties, Kupa Gowok has a reddish-brown skin with a unique elongated shape. Its sweet and crunchy flesh is highly refreshing, making it a favorite among locals in Sumatra. Due to its limited cultivation, Kupa Gowok is rarely found outside of the region.
The nipah fruit, also known as nipah palm or nibung, is a fruit that originates from the nipah tree (Nypa fruticans). The nipah tree thrives in coastal areas, swamps, or marshy regions in tropical and subtropical areas. It is round and slightly flattened, measuring around 2 to 3 centimeters in diameter. When young, the fruit’s skin is green, but it turns brown or black when ripe. Inside the skin, there is yellow or orange-colored fruit flesh with large, hard seeds.
Kelubi (Pycnarrhena Cauliflora)
Kelubi is an extraordinary fruit native to the Riau Islands and parts of Kalimantan. Its outer appearance is reminiscent of a small watermelon with a greenish-yellow skin. When ripe, the fruit offers a delightful combination of sweet and sour flavors, making it a prized delicacy among locals in the region. However, Kelubi’s scarcity limits its availability beyond its place of origin, very exotic fruits.
Angkung (Nothaphoebe Coriacea)
Angkung, or Latak, is an indigenous fruit from Papua and the Maluku Islands. This small berry-like fruit is renowned for its bittersweet taste and is often used as a natural remedy to alleviate stomachaches. The Angkung tree is primarily found in the tropical rainforests of eastern Indonesia, and its fruit is not widely distributed in commercial markets.
Butong (Blumeodendron Mollis)
Butong, or Sibu Sibu, is a rare fruit found in the forests of Kalimantan and Sulawesi. The fruit resembles a large walnut with a tough outer shell. Once cracked open, Butong reveals its creamy, custard-like pulp with a unique mix of flavors, including sweet, sour, and slightly bitter. Its scarcity in mainstream markets makes Butong an exclusive find for adventurous fruit enthusiasts.
Buah Tanjung (Mimusops Elengi)
Buah Tanjung, also known as Spanish Cherry, is a lesser-known fruit native to various regions in Indonesia, including Java and Sumatra. It has a small, round shape with a reddish-brown color and is celebrated for its juicy, aromatic flesh. Buah Tanjung is often eaten fresh, and its delightful taste and fragrance have earned it a place in local culinary traditions.
While these exotic fruits may not be easily found in commercial markets, they are true gems of Indonesian biodiversity. If you’re an adventurous fruit enthusiast, consider exploring local markets and regions where these rare delights can be discovered and relished. Be prepared to embark on a unique gastronomic journey as you savor the extraordinary flavors and textures of these hidden treasures from the Indonesian archipelago.