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Nov 1, 2010 06:46 AM

ID this (Indonesian) fruit!

I spent this past summer in Indonesia, and one of the best parts was getting to try all the wonderful tropical fruits. (I fell in love with mangosteens.) One night my host father brought home this fruit. He said it was rare to find in Java, but that his sister has a tree she brought back from Sulawesi, where it's pretty common. Problem is I can't for the life of me remember what he called it. Not sure if you can tell the scale from the picture, they're maybe a bit under 2 inches long. Anybody know what they are?

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  1. They look like mangosteens to me. I love eating them fresh when I go to Malaysia.

    4 Replies
    1. re: boogiebaby

      I remember eating a fruit in Bali that the natives called snake fruit because the skin was snake like. It was juicy and had a lot of seeds in it. I cant remeber the color of the flesh but i remember eating them and spitting out the seeds. I remember thinking that they were passion fruit. Its hard to tell from your pictures what the skin looks like, but the shape is the same as the fruit I recall.

      1. re: lilmomma

        Nope, the fruit with snake-like texture is called buah salak, but these ones seemed to have smoother skin.

      2. re: boogiebaby

        No, they don't seem to be mangosteens.

        Emmmily: What do the insides of the fruit look like? Do you remember the texture & color?

        There are a few native fruits listed in this Indonesian-language blog, but none of the fruits matched your photo 100%. Is it "sawo durian", which has milky-white flesh?

        1. re: klyeoh

          Definitely not snakefruit/salak or mangosteen; I know those well (love mangosteen, hate salak). It might be sawo, but all the pictures I found online of that look much less shiny, sort of dull, dusty exterior. If I remember right the flesh is fairly soft and there's a big pit in the middle you have to eat around, sort of like a date. Gandaria looks promising, but these are much darker in color. Puzzling...

      3. I want to say that it's the Gandaria. The picture in the link below looks about the same, but yellow. In the description it does say they turn brown like your picture. It's the closest thing I can find that is native to Indonesia.

        1. I want to say chikoo, but it's been many years since I've had them.

          1. It is definitely not durian fruit. It smells and tastes terrible.

            1. Success! I emailed the picture to my host sister, and she says it's matoa. This website ( says it's native to Papua, and tastes similar to rambutan or longan, which sounds about right. Thanks to all who chimed in!

              2 Replies
              1. re: Emmmily

                Wow, that is one hard-to-find fruit!!

                BTW, the passage from the link you sent, which read:

                "Selama ini orang mengenal buah matoa berasal dari Papua, padahal sebenarnya pohon matoa tumbuh juga di Maluku, Sulawesi, Kalimantan, dan Jawa pada ketinggian hingga sekitar 1.400 meter di atas permukaan laut. Selain di Indonesia pohon matoa juga tumbuh di Malaysia, tentunya juga di Papua New Guinea (belahan timurnya Papua), serta di daerah tropis Australia."

                translates as:

                "All along, people recognize matoa as originating from Papua, but in reality the matoa tree also grows in Maluku (the Moluccas), Sulawesi, Kalimantan, and Jawa (Java) at altitudes around 1400 meters above sea-level. Besides in Indonesia, the matoa tree also grows in Malaysia, definitely on Papua New Guinea (the eastern part of Papua), and in the tropical area of Australia.

                So, there's hope for some of us that the fruit may be more accessible. I'll definitely be looking out for it :-D

                1. re: klyeoh

                  That's what I get for skimming. Makes sense, since my host father definitely said it was from Sulawesi. Thanks for the correction :-)