While strolling through the Wan Chai market I was looking for longan fruits and I came across a fruit that looked a bit similar. I tried to ask the vendor if that’s a similar fruit, but all she could say is ‘not longan, different’. I was intrigued and bought it.
The fruits have similar skin to longans – they look like small yellow potatoes. But they hang together in clusters similar to grapes and they all come in different sizes (a longan tree has fruits of similar sizes).
The skin is thin, but quite sticky when you open it. Inside, the fruit has five segments and contains one to three small seeds (which are bitter, I spit them out). The taste of the fruit is like a combination of grape, grapefruit and lychee – quite sweet. So it is very different to a longan.
I looked online, the fruit I bought is a langsat from a tree that is grown throughout the entire Southeast asian region, ranging from Southern India to the Philippines. The ones I saw in Wan Chai came from the Philippines. There is also a different version, which is called Duku. Those fruits are sweeter and with less sap in the peel. They have smaller seeds too.
One distinguishing feature of the Langsat fruit is that it is not durable after being picked. In three days, the skin turns black (the ones I’ve bought started to become black spots already) but it does not impact the taste. Just the looks. Nonetheless, I peeled the fruits I bought and stored them in the fridge until I ate them all. They were very yummy!