A Kuap by Any Other Name

Terap, a local <em>Artocarpus</em> with small white fruits
Terap, a local Artocarpus with small white fruits

If Malaysia is the land of odd fruit, then Sarawak must be the capital. I have just as much fun looking at it all as I do eating it. This one is called a Kuap Terap, according to the guy who sold to me. My Malay dictionary doesn’t have it, Google doesn’t have it, SR had never seen one before. It must be in the same family as the durian, but it is even more bizarre. It’s about the size of a football (sorry, American football) but more rounded. It is completely covered in little rubbery stalks about an inch long. The stalks are stiff, with a rounded rubbery ball at the tip. It’s like fruit as designed by the Nerf people. The stalks come out of an inch thick skin. Inside is a mass of little white fruits attached to a central core. The fruits are very sweet, but are just a thin slimy wet skin over a nut. So out of a football sized nerf creature, there is maybe a tea cup worth of actually edible material. It’s tasty enough that I forgot to take a picture of the fruit itself before devouring it all. But I really am surprised that Google, the font of knowledge, doesn’t have any information on this thing at all. So I will start a little gallery of Sarawak fruit for your viewing pleasure. Longans are in season right now, so stay tuned.

[Update: Here’s a picture of the whole fruit. I’ve been scouring the web for any clues about this thing with no luck so far. But I did find a fruit that looks very similar, except that the fruit inside is red. It’s called a Bintawa. See a picture of it here (scroll down).

Nerf-like rind of the Terap
Nerf-like rind of the Terap

[Update #2: Terap! Terap, not Kuap. Thank you very much to Lan and/or Ambo for writing with the correction. Terap is in my Kamus Dwibahasa, according to which terap is:

A tree (Artocarpus elasticus) the bark of which is used as cloth, ropes etc. by aborigines; the sap from this tree is used for trapping birds.

No mention about the fruit. The Forestry Department of Brunei Darussalam (website in Malay) mentions terap on a page about traditional forest produce. They identify a fruit-bearing terap as Artocarpus odoratissimus. Either way, that puts the terap in the same genus as Cempedak and Jackfruit as Br. Affendi suggested, not Durian, which I would have guessed from the outer skin. And for my Michigan readers, the Artocarpus trees are all in the same family, Moraceae, as our common (to the point of being a weedy nuisance) Mulberry. So! Does anyone know where to find a quality illustrated botany text for Malaysia/Indonesia?


17 thoughts on “A Kuap by Any Other Name

  1. Assalamualaikum,
    I just wonder if this Kuap fruit you were eating is not what the Peninsular people call ‘nangka’ or ‘cempedak’? In English these two are not distinguished by different names. They shares the name ‘jackfruit’. Look here:
    http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/jackfruit.html
    Wassalam.

  2. wa alaykum salaam –

    Nope, it’s not nangka or cempedak. I’ve had both of those, though I don’t care for cempedak. Last month I did get an interesting fruit from a specialty fruit shop. The fruit was called Nancem; it’s a hybrid of nangka and cempedak. I thought it was excellent. The individual fruits inside were the size and shape of cempedak, but not as “heating” as cempedak, more mild.

    But this Kuap, the outside more closely resembles a durian, except instead of duris it is covered in these strange rubbery stalks. The fruit inside is pure white like mangosteen, not yellowish at all. I may very well have gotten the name wrong though, or it may have a different name on the peninsula.

  3. As-salamu ‘alaikum, ai seh men sorry le, thought u malay, but if u spend 10 years in Malaysia, sure know Malay la. That buah, here in Kuching, we call “Buah Terap”, I think Kuap is term used by the Iban. And u know what, the seed can be eaten too, u fry it dry before u eat, taste like kacang le.

  4. Terap! Terimah kasih banyak-banyak, encik Lan! Kamek salah dengar si-dakya cakap, agaknya… Or, in case I mangled my BM: I probably just misheard what the guy said. In my defense, I haven’t been here 10 years, only about four months. What I meant over here is that I plan to be here 10 years at least, insyallah.

  5. As-salamu alaikum,

    U seem to know Sarawak Malay dialect. Bintawa also name of place in Kuching, in fact our industrial zone is in Bintawa.

  6. I saw one of them on the ground in a Bangladeshi grocery in Queens NY. I think I was staring at it open-mouthed for a few seconds. I though it was a giant lychee; and regretted not buying it later. Glad to know what the thing really is.

  7. Not just you Affendi, I’m impressed too, end of this year he’ll be speaking Sarawakian fluently, insya-Allah, and u come to Kuching, I’ll treat u buah terap, provided u come during it season la.

  8. In Brunei it is called “Tarap” with an ‘a’ not an ‘e’ (like all Bruneian spelling )

    I like it. One of my favourite fruits. There is an art to eating it as well. Instead of chewing around the flesh you can just separate the flesh and the seed by sucking it. An unripe tarap can also be cooked as a vegetable dish. Cooked with coconut milk and belacan.

  9. Hey Guys, i was surfing the net looking for marang and chempedad ( i am belgian living in Mexico and a fanatic of tropical fruit )and so i ran in to your chat about …By the way did you agree on what it is finally…
    I loved reading all the coments etc… and you know what, i’ll be visiting Malaysia in the month of june this year 2004 , put some of these weird fruits aside , let me know where you live and i’ll just drop in uninvited ha ha ha….bey bey
    luc

  10. The round fruit above- is that the terap/tarap, and is is artocarpus elasticus???
    More importantly, is it similar to marang (specifically)? It sure looks like marang that I have enjoyed in the Philippines. I like marang, but not chempedak so much. Thanks for your input.
    lawrence

  11. Three chooses seems possible for this fruit :
    -Artocarpus odoratissimus
    -Artocarpus rigidus
    -Artocarpus lakoocha

Leave a Reply