A not-so-commonly-known fruit of the Garcinia family. The name 'Asam Gelugor' is used in Malaysia. In Sri Lanka it is called Goraka, and in Thailand Som-maw-won.
A distinctive narrow tree growing to about 20 metres in height with drooping branches, twigs and leaves. The sap is colourless and twigs are smooth, green and not angled. Leaves are commonly about 20 by 5 cm, long and narrow with a pointed tip and upturned edges. They are dark green and glossy, and new leaves are bright pink; all of them drooping in a limp way.
The female flowers, about 4 cm wide, have 4 cherry red, slightly convex petals surrounding a thick green ovary which is capped by a dull brick-red stigma. Fruits are solitary on the twig ends and hang down with their weight. They are about 10 cm wide and fluted from top to bottom with 12-16 deep grooves. The apex is flattened, the centre being hollow and dark; the skin between the flutings is smooth and thin, it is green at first, ripening to a bright orange-yellow. The texture is firm even when ripe and the flesh is the same orange colour.
Ripe fruits are acid and astringent in taste, but are eaten with savoury foods. They are also sliced and sun-dried, being commonly seen on flat trays on roadsides in the north: these are used in Malay curries.
Asam Gelugor is native to West Malaysia and Burma and is commonly cultivated in kampongs, being very common from Perak northwards and it is also common in Thailand. The narrow tree with drooping branches is conspicuous even without the orange fruit and is commonly seen on roadsides.
DATE: March 1993
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