Engkala - Gastro Obscura

Fruits & Vegetables


This creamy, bright pink fruit is known as the "Borneo avocado."

Borneo is a treasure trove for unique produce. If you ever pass through a market in the state of Sarawak, you’ll likely come across a tiny fruit with smooth, bright pink skin, a large green cap, and a flavor that’s a bit like an avocado. This is the engkala.

The engkala is a small fruit that looks more suited for the diet of hobbits, rather than humans. Typically it’s not eaten raw, but soaked in hot water until its pink hue turns white. A careful squeeze to its sides will cause the delicate white center to slide out. This part can be eaten as it is, but a dash of salt is strongly recommended.

The flavor of engkala is often compared to avocado, which is a distant relative, and it even has the nickname “Borneo avocado.” However this fruit would not be a good replacement in a recipe for guacamole. Its taste is much milder and milkier, like eating a big spoonful of sour cream or buttermilk. It is very filling and can be a little too rich for some palates.

For vegans and those who are lactose intolerant, engkala could be an invaluable dairy substitute, providing a healthy alternative in an adorable pink package.

Need to Know

Engkala is available throughout the regions of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo. Ripe engkala will be pink, whereas unripe versions will be white or light green.

Where to Try It
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Jared Rydelek Jared Rydelek
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