Red and black blues…

They are black – they have always been black…

*recycled pic*

That’s why in Chinese, they are called or-kana or black olives but the local name for them is buah dabai.

This is one fruit that I love eating and a long time ago, the price never went beyond RM10 a kilo. Then, it went past that and was selling at around RM15 and I remember at one time, the very good ones were going for RM18. Unfortunately, the escalating prices did not stop there and it went up to RM25 a kilo. That was when I stopped buying and eating it. Much as I love the fruit, I feel it is absolutely ridiculous to pay that amount of money for it. As a matter of fact, just the other day, I heard that somebody bought some very good ones for RM30 a kilo. No, thank you. With that amount of money, I can easily go for a very nice meal at some nice cafe or restaurant…not only for one but even for two, in fact…and I would probably enjoy it a whole lot more.

The other day, however, I came across these at a shop near my house…

Red dabai

– RED dabais! Β Never in my life had I seen any in this colour and I just had to buy and try.Β The lady told me that the selling price was RM35 a kilo and I almost fainted! In the end, I told her to just give me a few to sample. She took some of the fruits and weighed them and charged me RM5.20 for the lot. When I went home, I counted and there were 12 seeds altogether – that would work out to 43 sen per seed.

They were very nice…

Red dabai 1

– the skin was thin, it was fleshy and very lemak (rich) so I would say that it was of a very good quality. Still, at that price, don’t expect me to go back and buy some more, no way!

Red dabai 2

Then I heard from a friend in Sarikei that she saw these same red dabais in the town selling for RM24 a kilo only. Holy Moses!!! I know this shop gets some of their supplies from Sarikei so the dabais probably came from there as well. I don’t know how much their cost price is but if we just take the selling price in Sarikei, they are already making a profit of RM11.00 for each kilo that they sell.

Well, never mind! At least I have tried and I do know now that they taste exactly the same as the black ones and never mind what colour they may be, at those prices, you would never catch me buying any ever again.

I would add in passing that the fruit somehow seems symbolic to me. Like us humans, whatever colour we may be on the outside, we are all the same inside…but at times, we do find that some are nicer than others. I guess all of you would agree with me on this…

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

46 thoughts on “Red and black blues…”

  1. wei wei… same price as a stick of ciggy mah… hahaha…

    Dabai’s cheaper a bit…but not if compared with duty free, Hint! Hint! Hehehehehe!

    1. Hahaha! Same price as a stick of ciggie. So you are willing to spend exorbitant amount on ciggies but not dabai……lol!

      Dabai not addictive mah! Hehehehehehe!!!

    2. when’s your next trip to KL? can accumulate some but guess ciggy do masuk angin too eh?

      Yalor… No plans at the moment, I’m afraid. 😦

  2. oh, i didn’t know we have olives here!!! i always thought they are only available at seasonal countries..

    Obviously there are lots of things about your own country that you do not know…

  3. So freaking expensive lah! I rather eat durian! πŸ˜› Hard to get that in Sabah and I don’t think there have it here in KL. LOL

    But if I were to spend around RM100 for a box of mooncakes. I would rather buy these. For one thing, they would be much healthier, I guess.

  4. Never seen this kind of fruit before…very interesting! It looks more like dates than olives to me ?!

    Dates? The seeds are not like those of dates. The seeds are like those of the preserved olives we get from China.

  5. too bad you are discouraged from buying (and eating) more because of the price… tsk.. sk.. tsk.,. how could things be soo expensive these days?


    Yes, it’s absolutely ridiculous…but never mind! I can jolly well live without it – I shall not be fleeced!

    P.S. Thanks for dropping by.

  6. Normally wholesaler sells much cheaper than those vendors… never mind.. think of it this way, if u paid RM35 instead, you will be more “heartbroken”… πŸ™‚

    Wholesalers sell by the baskets – huge ones. Can’t possibly buy so much.

    1. I have yet to taste these… looks like “plums” or in cantonese “larm” to me..

      Definitely not the same. You have to come over if you want to try. Come! AA having a sale right now – booking till 7th…and travel till end of December. Check out their website.

  7. The only kana I know are to preserved sweet sour ones, but I think those are not the same as the kana in your post. Looks like a very interesting fruit and from the price, it must be in high demand. Like eating gold! I would not pay such a high price either. Would rather not eat πŸ™‚

    Should be the same family. The seeds are more or less the same shape.

  8. errrr. i still dunno what izit. >.< haha. and yah agree with u! just like banana, i might be green, u might be yellow, but we both yellow in the inside. but i might be a thin and long banana, but u are short and plump one. =p

    Excuse me! Correction- you’re a short thin one and I’m a long fat one. LOL!!! You have lots to learn about your own country…and you can get started
    by visiting places here…like Sibu, for instance. Do ask to find out and learn – like you went to Trengganu and had their nasi dagang…and shared in your blog but you don”t know what it’s called… Tsk! TsK!!!

  9. Have not taken or seen any fresh kana only dried ones lap em very much. Commenting on hospital bed waiting to go under the knife for cataract at 14:00hrs.

    Oh dear! All the best, pray that all goes well…and after that, you will be able to see clearly. πŸ˜‰

    1. tQ after ops can even see you from KatLumPor haha. Coror blind got no cure gotta live with it.

      Hahahahaha!!! I may be big but I’m not THAT big!!! πŸ˜‰

  10. Never had that before. Eat the skin or eat the seed? Possible to tanam at home?

    Maybe that is y kl dun have. Sarikei to sibu already rm35/kg. If sampai kl maybe rm70/kg lo

    Skin and flesh…and the kernel in the seed too if you want to go through the trouble of chopping the stone hard seeds. I had a post on that long long ago…

  11. Red & black blues? All looked same coror haha

    Yes, you’re colour blind. After operation, will see colours or not?

  12. Love dabais. I do have a sneaky suspicion, though, that they are more closely related to avocados than actual olives. Somehow the flesh is completely different. Still as yummy nonetheless, with soy and sugar.

    Yes, if really good and rich (lemak), it tastes a bit like avocado. But the seeds are different – not like kana chee.

  13. i tried the black dabai but i didn’t like the taste. it must have been an acquired taste, just like durian. hahaha

    Ya…you did not like what you got that time. It depends a lot on the quality…plus the preparation…and whether you eat it instantly or not. I’m not a fan of durian…but I love durian cakes and desserts.

  14. I have never even seen this fruit before…. curious… I ll certainly try it if I can find it here… πŸ˜€

    I don’t think you can… Even in Sarawak, it is mainly found in the central zone…

  15. The black olives I know are the ones from Italy. I hope you didn’t throw the seed away. If you’ve enough land at your house, you can try to plant it. =)

    The ones in your cocktail drinks…or your salads? These local ones are completely different, I would say…and way nicer!!!

    1. The ones in the salads. I’ve always avoided it, will never know how it tastes like. If it isn’t terribly sour, I guess I could have a bite for starters…

      Those would be the mat salleh olives. Not crazy about those either but will eat, anyhow. These are a whole lot nicer…

  16. Love these for their texture and aroma but have only tasted the black ones. In fact, I still have some in the freezer.

    Didn’t know they cost that much. I usually get them as gifts.

    You have? You have friends here? Gee!!! Lucky you!!!

  17. Never know that black olives fetch so good price.. 1st time see the red olives. No thanks, I am not a fan of black olives.

    No? Maybe you have not trie the really good, really lemak ones… Love them!!!

  18. Nice! I didn’t like these as a kid – my sister loves them though.

    It was only when I got older that I started to appreciate the umami taste of these – it’s really good when blanched, saturated with soy sauce and a bit of sugar.

    I don’t think I’ve come across the red ones either! I’ve seen the flat ones though, but not these. Very unique? From Sarikei eh? Sounds great, I’ll keep an eye out for it when I come back. πŸ˜€

    You have had flat ones? I’ve only had the oval ones, some big, some small…and some may be a bit round. They say the season will be from around the middle of this month right through till December but I dunno how reliable the information is.

  19. Usually see the black dabai..common..but I’ve not seen the red ones. Next time I want to open my eyes bigger… =p
    How do prefer to eat them? Isit commonly seasoned with kicap & sugar? That’s what I tried before…

    Yup… It seems that seasoned this way, the fruit will not turn too soft and sour even when you do not eat it right away…but of course, it is best eaten the moment it is done.

  20. I love kana! Not tasted the red ones. Hopefully can find them in KL.

    Hah!!! That will be the day…and even if you can, it will probably cost a bomb. Already soooo expensive here.

  21. is it dabai season now?? Like i comment earlier, once in a year, if it is good i don’t mind to pay. Since i don’t eat durian, so spent money on dabai better.

    I can see yours is really good, and very ‘rich” ..nice!! Healthy “fruit” lots of vitamin E. πŸ˜€

    Oh? You’re like me too. I don’t BUY durian…but if somebody gives to me, then I will eat. Otherwise, I would not be craving for it…but dabai… I would rush for it whenever it was in season but these days, I cannot afford to do that anymore. Sobssss!!!! 😦

  22. Do you usually just eat those seeds raw or are they used for cooking too?

    Have to soak in warm water to soften before eating. They soak in salt water to ferment them and eat with porridge too…but I have not acquired the taste for that. I don’t think they use them in cooking, not that I know of…

  23. I’ve never seen Red kana before! I miss this, can’t believe the price has gone up so much!

    Neither had I…and yes, it is a luxury that I cannot afford anymore now. 😦

  24. Guess this is native to Sarawak. Are this available in sabah? I studied in sabah for 4 years but never come across such food…I tried salak and dalap in sabah before.

    I don’t think so. Salak is everywhere, I think…even in the peninsula. Dalap? You mean buah terap? We have that here but small, smaller than a bowling bowl. Gosh!!! I’ve seen the ones in Sabah! HUGE…like nangka!!!

  25. Hi, I’ve never eaten this and not seen any fruit stall in JB selling. But it’s expensive, maybe can eat once in a while only. Or else feel heart sick.

    Have a nice week ahead, regards.

    I’ve an ex-student selling and so far he has not asked me to buy. That means what’s in the market right now isn;t so good. He only sells me the best…but the high prices are beyond his control. At best, he may just give me a handful or two more.

  26. Honestly, I dono what are those ‘buah’.. ehhehehehehe! I know la. I know , I admit im ‘ulu’.. ;P but i never seen such thing in my life before.. ;P I wonder how it taste like.. can mail to me? HAHAHA ! Just kiddin

    Nah!!! You’re ultra-urban…dunno any ulu stuff. Can’t send these anywhere. The heat inside will make them all wrinkled and inedible…or if there is any moisture inside, they will be cooked in transit. Anyone who wants to try will just have to hop over to Sibu…

  27. For the first time, I came across this dabais fruit. I don’t think it is selling over the West, How does it taste like? From the picture, it look like nangka. πŸ™‚

    Those are the Mat Salleh olives…but these have a high content of oil too – that is what makes it very very rich (lemak) and nice.

  28. Soooooo…expensive! No thanks…unless you buying for me.ahahhahahahha

    Go, go and pray…very very hard! Hope that Vincent Tan will donate to me…tonight. LOL!!! πŸ˜€

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

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