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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wong Dang - a fruit







This photo is from a Thai language blog. I am not able to "communicate" with the blogger as we do not have a common language. I would like to say thanks. And perhaps one day, I can get a photo of my own for this posting.

There was this fruit tree (Buah Kerong, Buah Kendoong, Manggis Hutan, Garcinia Hombroniana Pierre)in my grandfather's garden - called Wong Dang.

When the tree started to bear fruits we became extremely happy. It was like spring coming to the top of the hill and that we would soon be having this wonderful fruit to eat. The expectation of a forthcoming sweet treat was a wonderful childhood training.

Grand father was a very cautious and frugal man and he was a top notch disciplinarian. We kids were told not to climb the small tree at any one time and that if we ate too much of the fruit, it could kill us. The Foochow saying goes like this, "Wong Dang, Dang si nern." The fruit, wong dang, can kill (dang si) a person.

It is just a rhyme which is so much part of my happy childhood.

And for many many years, I have been trying to get a picture of this fruit tree. It was strange that my own photography adventure in life focussed on flora and fauna,whereas my dad's was on people and events. So he did not take any photo of any plant of those days. I know that this fruit has gone out of fashion and perhaps people don't know about this plant any more.

I hope this posting would help me find that illusive photo .

The skin of the fruit was dried by my frandmother to make soup or flavour fish soup. The flesh was sourish sweet and it gave us a lot of joy, eating the fruit together with grandfather. We could not wait for the fruits to ripen. The ripe fruits looked beautiful on the tree as they were red and pink of various shades.

Also I remember that we must never stain our clothes when eating these red fruits. There were no stain removers at that time.

We were scared to eat too many because we feared death.

15 memories:

Gaharuman said...

Sarawakiana,

Is the fruit tree a local species or exotic one? I suspect it could be a species of the mangosteen. Any lates? I would be interested to see a photo to confirm.

Gaharuman said...

Sarawakiana,

Is it a common fruit trees in Sarawak?

Alison

sarawakiana said...

Can check this out? garcinia hombroniana pierre, buah Kerong, Beruas Manggis Hutan or just wild mangosteen (but I am a little doubtful about the last mnetioned English name)

I am terribly excited about this fruit. If only I can get to eat it again.

A colleague of mine this afternoon mentioned that his longhouse has several trees . But his longhouse is in Ulu Saratok. (???!!!!)
It seems that you have a vast knowledge in botany.

thank you.

Gaharuman said...

Garcinia hombroniana is the wild species of mangosteen. The cultivated species is Garcinia mangostana.

The fruit you mentioned must be sourish and is dried and used in cooking. It is sold in some shops as asam.

Gaharuman said...

Sarawakiana,

The fruits are toxic because of the presence of Cyanogenic glycoside toxin. Such toxin is found throughout the plant kingdom including tapioca, apple seeds.

For more info visit,
http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/concen/specif/fruvegtoxe.shtml

sarawakiana said...

May be that was why my grand dad used to tell us not to eat too much. It was "dan" si nern. Kill people.

thanks for the info...appreciate it.

sarawakiana said...

A friend wrote that the old Chinese adage of using poison against poison has been proven right many times.

Perhaps this fruit, which is in the same family as Whampee, may be useful. My grandfather might have been one of the earliest believer-reseracher that this fruit had certain curative elements!!

Gaharuman said...

Sarawakiana,

I believe in the principle of "poison neutralise poison". In fact, scientifically speaking, in small amount, poison can be a cure. Scientists have been using and screening poinous snake and scorpion venoms as cure for diseases. Also poison from plants have been the target of research for anti-cancer drugs . Among such drugs is taxol from the pacific yew and is a miracle drugs for breast cancer!!!

sarawakiana said...

Dear Gaharuman,
Thanks. The Chinese adage is centuries old and I think if we work along the same line, we might find a cure for cancer, especially breat and cervical cancers, by using some of these fruits.

Heard of Whampee? Wang Pee - similar fruit - and the Chinese have been experimenting on it.

Gaharuman said...

Sarawakiana,

There is another species of mangosteen used for cooking. Asam Gelugor or Garcinia indica. It is cultivated on Penang Island.

For photos or image, click:

http://www.imr.gov.my/org/HMRC%20Gallery/g1.htm

http://www.borneofocus.com/saip/vaic/Natural_Wealth/gelugor.htm

Gaharuman said...

Soory Sarawakiana,

It should be Garcinia atroviridis. There are lots of species of garcinia in Sarawak and Southeast Asia and Asia (China included).

Garcidia is the first to be domesticted due to its sweetness. The other species have sour fruits.

sarawakiana said...

Gaharuman,
A friend called up and said that Mangosteen Juice is excellent as a supplement for our health.
May be this will propel more local folks who have land to grow all these fruits again.

Gaharuman said...

Sarawakiana,

Mangosteen juice is excellnet for health, a health drink but it has not been commercialise and I have not seen them on sale in coffee shops. But I have heard that latex dfrom mangosteen can be used to treat pimples!!!

It is well to not that the bintangor tree is related to the mangosteen and both are in the same plant family -Guttiferae. All members of the family have latex - westerner called such tree gum trees.

Gaharuman said...

Wong Dang is a sea shore species. I have actually seen one tree growing at the Tanjung Batu beach in Bintulu many years ago. I wonder if it is still there now!

sarawakiana said...

No I heard it grows best in the river banks. A friend of mine from Glass River, in Sarikei said that her village has many Wong Dang trees. May be Daniel Yek's friends can check this out. Poh Leh Kurn.

I may be able to check out the Bintulu trees if the season is on.

thanks. I think I may be able to eat my wong dang finally, after forty odd years.

 

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