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Asam Kumbang is an oval-shaped fruit which grows to around 8 to 10 centimeters in diameter. When immature, the outer flesh is a dark green, deepening to a black-purple when the fruit is ripe. Asam Kumbang is fragrant, with a plum-like scent. Its inner flesh is orange-yellow and extremely juicy and fibrous. It has a distinct sweet-sour taste. Each fruit has a large seed which is not edible.
Asam Kumbang is available in the late spring and early summer months.
Asam Kumbang a type of wild mango, and is botanically classified as Mangifera quadrifida Jack. It is one of some 25 species of mango that grows in Southeast Asia. Asam Kumbang is considered to be a rarity. It is not commercially cultivated, but rather grown in the wild or in backyard gardens.
Like other mangoes, Asam Kumbang contains vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as iron, potassium and magnesium.
Asam Kumbang may be enjoyed fresh. To eat the fruit, make an incision on the skin with a knife, then peel back the outer flesh. The juicy inner flesh is sucked off the inner seed, much like a mango. In Borneo, it may be seasoned with salt and sambal belacan before being eaten. Asam Kumbang is also added to curies, soups and fish dishes to add a sour-ish taste. The fruit is also commonly pickled, and eaten on the side along with rice dishes. Store Asam Kumbang in the refrigerator, where they will last for up to a week.
The word “asam” means “sour” in Malay, while the word “kumbang” means “beetle”. In Chinese, Asam Kumbang is also known as “Heipuisan”, which means “black-skinned mango”.
Asam Kumbang commonly grows in the tropical lowland forests of Borneo, and may be found in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The Asam Kumbang tree thrives in hot, humid areas with plenty of rain. In 1998, the species was listed as threatened by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre.