This photograph in my post sometime ago


…certainly raised a lot of questions.

This is the young buah tupang, as we call it in Melanau…while the Malays here call it buah pulo. It grows in a huge tree that looks similar to the buah sukun (breadfruit) and the fruits are similar too except that this one is thorny but the thorns are not sharp like durian.

I had one such tree in the garden during my childhood days and I would go regularly to check if there were any ripe ones that had dropped to the ground. When ripe, the skin would have become soft so it would be easy to get rid of that and take out all the mature seeds…

Tupang seeds

Sometimes, when the fruit had dropped for a few days already and I did not realise that, the skin would have turned brown and mushy (and smelly) with some kinds of insects hovering over it…and the seeds would be of a darker shade of brown – those would not be very nice so most of the time, we would just leave it there. After some time, we would see seedlings sprouting out from the ground from these seeds.

So what do we do with the seeds? We simply boil them in water with a pinch of salt added and once they are cooked, we can start eating them. To eat them, we have to remove the hard brown shell and inside, there is a thin layer of skin. You can see one at the top of the above photograph, slightly to the left. The skin will have to be removed to reveal the kernel inside…

Tupang seeds - kernels

This is the edible part of the tupang seeds – the taste is something like chestnuts or boiled cempedak seeds but you will not have that sensation of gum sticking to the upper part inside your mouth which I do not fancy when eating the latter.

We can cook the young tupangmasak rebus kampung-style like how I did it here…or masak lemak – the way in which some people will cook nangka or cempedak muda (young jackfruit or the “cousin”). When cooking the fruit at this stage, one would have to make sure that it is really young or you will end up with the hassle of having to remove the hard shell from the seeds when you eat it. In the young ones, the shell would be soft and white in colour and one can eat it all up just like that.

I do not have a tree in my garden anymore – that was at my old house when I was growing up and we had one big one so these days, whenever I feel like eating buah tupang – the young fruit or mature seeds, I would have to go to the jungle produce market in town or the one in Sungai Merah to buy. Like money, they don’t “drop down from the sky” – not anymore. Sigh!!!