Borneo’s wild mango, buah mawang: A lesser-known delight overshadowed by local favorite

The fibrous and fleshy buah mawang smells like ripe mango.

by Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, Feb 1: Buah mawang, a less popular globose-shaped fruit native to Borneo and also known as wild mango, holds its own unique charm in the local fruit landscape.

Once peeled, its fibrous yellowish flesh emits a fragrance and flavor reminiscent of the beloved mango.

According to 72-year-old fruit seller Biman Pungut at Kota Sento Community Market 7th Mile, this seasonal fruit consistently graces the local market, often in large, fleshy specimens weighing over a kilogramme.

Fruit seller Biman Pungut holds up a large buah mawang specimen at his stall in the Kota Sentosa community market, 7th Mile.

Biman lamented that despite its merits, buah mawang often plays second fiddle to more celebrated local fruits like rambutan, kuini mangoes, langsat, durian, and dabai, which all coincide in seasonality.

“Buah mawang’s availability coincides with other popular fruits, so it tends to get overshadowed, leading fruit suppliers to prioritize other orchard offerings,” he remarked to DayakDaily.

Nevertheless, he highlighted that those familiar with the fruit appreciate its mango-like qualities. “There’s a niche audience for it,” he added.

“While demand exists, its leathery exterior and lower commercial priority contribute to its lesser-known status, particularly in larger towns,” Biman revealed.

Having sold fruits for 42 years, Biman noted another culinary use for buah mawang: its dried, thinly sliced skin serves as a flavorful condiment for steamed fish dishes.

However, he cautioned against mishandling, noting that the peeled skin contains a corrosive latex layer that can cause burns and blisters if not handled carefully.

“Despite its unique appeal, some may opt for safer choices like local mangoes due to the risks associated with handling buah mawang,” he concluded. — DayakDaily