Do You Know What Malaysia’s National Fruit Is? Hint: It’s NOT Durian

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Photo by Jordan Ling on Unsplash

“What’s the national fruit of Malaysia?”

If you were to stroll up to a typical gathering of Malaysians and pose this seemingly innocuous question, you might be met with a chorus of guesses ranging from the iconic durian to the rambutan, mangosteen or perhaps even the longan (along with puzzled faces and the classic, “Uhh, I’m not sure?”)

We know, because we actually got around to asking a few of our colleagues and none of their guesses hit the mark. We don’t blame them, though, because despite knowing the answer, we’re still in disbelief!

Brace yourselves, for Malaysia’s national fruit is none other than…

The papaya.

Yes, you read that correctly: The humble, unassuming papaya has been crowned as Malaysia’s emblematic fruit. And no, it’s not native to the Southeast Asia region.

But before you dismiss it as fake news or an elaborate prank, let’s explore the rationale behind this unexpected choice.

According to numerous sources, including Fruitonix, the papaya holds a special place in Malaysia’s heart. It’s not just a random selection; rather, it’s a deliberate nod to the country’s tropical climate and rich biodiversity. The papaya’s ubiquity and versatility in traditional Malay cuisine and medicine further solidify its status as a national symbol.

Photo by Pranjall Kumar on Unsplash

But how did the papaya stake its claim to fame in Malaysia?

The story takes us back to the colonial era when the British introduced this exotic fruit to the Malaysian soil.

Since then, the papaya has taken root and flourished, becoming a staple in the Malaysian diet. Today, Malaysia stands tall as one of the world’s leading producers of papaya, a fact that might leave you scratching your head in amazement.

In case you were curious about our ‘neighbours’, Thailand cherishes the mangosteen, while the Philippines favours the mango. Cambodia’s pick is the Lady’s Finger Banana (Pisang Emas), and Vietnam opts for the dragon fruit.

Another funny (and possibly irksome) fact is that the national fruit of Singapore is apparently… The durian. Yep, feel free to duke it out in the comments section over that one.

Cover photo by Jordan Ling on Unsplash