It is the moment of seasonal fruits in Bintulu. Towards the end of every year, all kinds of seasonal fruits will be seen in the market place. Two kinds of fruits shown above are the rambutans ( red and yellow varieties) and the black fruit is called the dabai.
The dabai is sometimes called the tropical olive or Sibu olive. Sibu being a town in Sarawak where they are found in abundance .
Dabai fruits in basketsGoing to town today, I dropped by at the Tamu ( jungle produce market) to buy a kilo of these rare fruits. A kilo of dabai, depending on their varieties, tastes and sizes fetch around RM 6 - 15 a kilo in peak season.
How do you eat the dabai? First dip them inside a bowl of warm water for 15-20 minutes. Then add salt or soya bean sauce for flavour. The fruit tastes buttery and has a yellowish soft texture. Size is about 3-4 cm long, 2 cm wide. The trees can reach about 20 m high and initially the unripe fruits appear white in colour and changes to red and finally black in its successive ripening stages. The black skin is eaten together with the flesh but not the seed which is very hard. Here people eat the dabai with their rice.