THE TERAP OR TARAP
Terap or Maran or Tarap are local names for a fruit which is highly demanded in Sarawak when the season arrives. The fruit is known only to grow in Borneo, Palawan and Mindanao in the Philippines. This is why the fruit is not well known by the public in Peninsular Malaysia and only those in Sarawak and Sabah craved it.
Bearing the scientific name of "Artocarpus odoratissimus", the fruit tree it is an evergreen plant from the family "Moraceae". If in the past it only proliferated in the tropical forests of Borneo and the Philippines, but in line with the current time and higher demand, people in Thailand have also started to plant this fruit for commercial purposes.
In Sabah it is also known as "Buah Tarap", in the Philippines it is known as "Johey", "Green Pedalai," "Madang" or "Timadang" where these names are based on the dialects of ethnic groups in the Philippines.
The interesting part about this fruit is its strong aroma that is akin to the aroma of ripe Nangka (jackfruit) or Cempedak (another fruit related to the jackfruit family). However it still could not compete against the aroma of the Durian considered as the "King of Fruits" for people in Malaysia. The taste of the Tarap is creamy fat-like bananas but it is much tastier.
Although the skin is fairly thick, it is not difficult to open as it is quite soft. Hence that is the reason for the necessity of the fruit to be plucked while it has ripen on the tree, as once it has fallen to the ground, the fruit will be shattered by the strong impact.
When it is not yet ripe, the colour of the Tarap will be greenish but once it has ripen, it will turn brown, and it is at this point that the aroma would be widespread. In the case when that happens in the forests, wild animals such as monkeys or birds such as wild birds will be attracted to the fruit to taste its sweetness.
The Tarap is also a seasonal plant and its fruiting season is July to September every year. In some areas of Sarawak which have many Tarap trees such as in in Lawas, it will have its own Tarap fruit festival in its annual tourism calendar as they try to popularise the Tarap as a tourism icon in Lawas.
This brief information is our effort to promote the exotic fruits in Borneo and in Sarawak in particular. Perhaps many of the new generation have not tasted it and for you to please try if the opportunity arises.
Originally written in Sarawak Malay author unknown
Published in the Borneo Oracle
Adapted and rewritten in Engllish by Rozan Yunos