June 18, 2009

Sarawakian Local Delights : Lovely Mujau

Mujau is a very tiny fruit which is like a mini lycee. It comes out in bunches like longans. It is usually about 3/4 inch long (25 cm). The skin is rather thin and animals like to eat it. Little children sometimes chew whole the fruit with the skin because there is so little in the fruit!!

It is sourish sweet and there is actually very little flesh. As it grows wild in the Rajang it has actually been the food which sustains little boys who play in the river and the river banks and hunters who need something to munch as they wait for their animals. If they are just sitting by the river the children can munch on the fruits and have a spitting competition: Who can spit the furthest into the river! Some can be really powerful spitter!

Very little is known about this fruit as it is not profitable and marketable. It is very perishable so whenever it is sold in Sibu for example it has to be eaten almost immediately.

No one has tried to preserve it probably because it is not cost effective. Besides it is a seasonal fruit and the trees do not grow in large clumps. No one also has tried to domesticate it. Many however do feel that it might be a good fruit to make jam with because it is tart and sourish.

There is a whole place near Kapit named after this fruit. Mujau was probably the place where lots of mujau was found! There are several other places in Sarawak named after the fruit e.g. Nanga Mujau in Saribas and another place called Mujau somewhere in Lower Rajang I heard. I heared too that there is even a primary school called SK Mujau .

In Sibu you can buy a bunch of mujau for 2 ringgit. But the customers are rather few and the vendor is usually an Iban who sits by a five foot way. My latest bunch of mujau came from Sg. Assan. So there must be still many trees there.

Sarikei Time Capsule featured this fruit some time ago. Apart from Daniel Yiek no one else I think have blogged about this fruit.

Who knows one day some one may find that it can cure HIV?


Anonymous said...

I live in Sibu and has never seen/eaten this fruit!! Looks lovely in the photos.

Daniel Yiek said...

If you take the route from Kuching to Sarikei and if you are lucky, some of the natives sell them at rest stops like Lachau, etc.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Daniel
How are you? I am stil without the comma.

Just back from a short trip up to Brunei. Thanks. I often stop by Lachau - for a short break. Mujau is slowly disappearing.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anon
Thanks for writing in. Mujau is a nice fruit but you have to have patience eating it. It really looks lovely.

Ahock said...

this fruit is nice for kids to eat. We used to keep them in our mouth and suck the sour taste out of the fruit! It is getting more difficult to find this fruit.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Ahock
Childhood memories are good and get sweeter each time we remember things.
The mujai may just become part of our child hood memories if all the trees are gone in the Rajang.

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