Tampoi / Tampui fruit of Sabah

Tampoi / Tampui
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Early this month I was driving to Kinabalu Park, when I was near the junction to Kota Belud, about 42 KM before Ranau, I saw a roadside stall selling a fruit that I’ve never seen before. As I was in a hurry, I didn’t pull over and check it out.

roadside stall selling Tampoi / Tampui

However, my curiosity keeps on bugging me and I couldn’t stop thinking what it is. After nearly 10 KM, I made a U-turn to come back to that stall. The fruit looks like mini-orange with smooth skin. The stall is quite striking with this orange-color fruit hanging and displayed all over the place.

Tampui fruit

The owner, Ms Latifah told me that this fruit is called Tampui or Tampoi. It’s a familiar name to me coz my friends who live in villages of highland told me about it, but I never taste one.

Tampoi on display

Latifah says this fruits are pluck in her orchard not far away. The Tampoi tree takes about 3 years to fully grown and it normally flowers near year end. This is a seasonal fruit that is only available between Jan and Mar.

selling Tampui

Tampoi in Waki basket

If you like, you can sample the fruit before buying.

Tampui in bamboo basket

Latifah is busy taking Tampoi from her bamboo basket (called “waki”) and string them into a clump of ten, each is only sold for RM2 (≈USD0.60).

Tampoi for sale

Actually I am more interested in photographing the stall as it looks so visually pleasing with these orange fruit. Latifah gladly agreed. I bet she was thinking who the heck I am coz I shot so many photos. I also bought Tampoi from her to show my appreciation.

inside of Tampoi / Tampui

pulp of Tampui

Of course, photo-taking is not enough. I got to try one. Tampoi has very thick skin but it’s effortless to peel it into half to reveal the white pulp inside.

tasting Tampoi

Tampoi looks like mangosteen. Its pulp is divided into a few slices, each with a seed in it. However, unlike mangosteen, the pulp of Tampui is dry and slight harder. I ate it and it tastes sweet with a bit of sour, very similar to mangosteen but less sour. Actually Mangosteen is a Garcinia species, while Tampoi is a Baccaurea species (Thanks Jason for the info).

seed of Tampoi

The seed is small and has a layer of pulp glued with it. I believe such feature will make monkey consumes the whole seed, so Tampoi can take advantage of its mobility to spread to further place via excretion.

Related post
Wild mangosteen of Borneo

Photos taken in Kota Belud, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

You might also like:

  • Jason

    Tampoi is not a type of mangosteen, Mangosteen is a Garcinia sp. while Tampoi Is a Baccaurea sp. These are beautiful pictures however, and Tampoi is an amazing fruit, lucky you for getting to taste some.

  • Thank you Jason for the correction. I’ve updated the information. Sorry, I’m not an expert in plant. 🙂