28 Jul2007

Littuko / Rattan Fruit

by Marketman


I wrote about some rattan or yantok vines that I spotted roadside in Coron, Palawan a few months ago and some of the commenters on that post mentioned that rattan also has a fruit… I didn’t know that, and since then, have been on the lookout for rattan fruit. I found some in the markets this morning and since they seemed very reasonably priced, I decided to buy some so that I could try them for the first time. Actually, I have seen these many times before, but I never realized that they were rattan fruit. I thought they might be related to longgan or lychees or even snakefruit/salak, a delicious Indonesian fruit that we used to get in Bali quiet often… but oddly, I never bothered to taste the rattan fruit before. Rattan used to be a very common vine in the archipelago when it had more virgin rainforests, and the country is home to at least 40 different species of rattan, from very thick poled ones to rather slim varieties. Not all rattan fruit is edible, however. The fruit from Calamus manillensis (a variety of rattan with a larger diameter vine) is edible and it is now actually raised in small plantations for commercial sale.

When you peel away the snakeskin like outer layer, it reveals a fruit with at least 3 sections. In this case, a slightly brownish fruit around large seeds (the sections look rat2a bit like lansones). I popped some sections in my mouth and juicy but shockingly sour and astringent taste burst onto my palate. YUCK!!! The first taste and reaction were definitely a turn off! I think this is very much an unripe rattan fruit and I shall wait a couple of days before attempting to taste it again. I can see how this might be enjoyed with some rock salt and chilli, but for now, I can also see why it isn’t that popular and easy to find… Otherwise known as littuko in the North, this is probably an acquired taste, or at least one you needed to have early in life. A little googling suggests you can make jams or jellies from it, and that would be interesting, but the fruit still needs to grow on me a bit before I head down that route, if ever…



  1. millet says:

    i’ve always seen these in the baguio markets, but the fruits taste very much like ripe tamarind. thay make good additions to flower arrangements and such.

    Jul 28, 2007 | 7:29 pm


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  3. MRJP says:

    hahahahahahha…. MM, maybe you should use them in your sinigang next time because that is their natural taste… they will never turn any sweeter than that! I remember this fruit from childhood. The first time I tasted it, I spitted it out because it was just too sour for me. But being so into sour fruits, I tried it again, this time with some rock salt. I like sour fruits with salt. :)

    Jul 28, 2007 | 10:06 pm

  4. allen says:

    You should try the ones from Isabela which are larger and sweeter, almost red in color and have smaller seeds; Okay, I’m biased. I think the more ripe ones are those that peel easily. I grew up eating this cooked in sugar syrup with vinegar and stored in bottles so we can still have some when they go out of season. Great with rock salt, haven’t seen anyone use it in sinigang though.

    Jul 29, 2007 | 12:27 am

  5. marbles says:

    Too bad the ones you got were sour. The ones I’ve tasted were very sweet, to the point na nakakaumay na sha. Choose the smaller variety (probably as big as a P1 coin), maybe they’re sweeter.

    Jul 29, 2007 | 1:29 am

  6. noemi says:

    i miss this sour fruit.

    Jul 29, 2007 | 2:50 am

  7. Maria Clara says:

    I have not seen this fruit before. Only on your site! Looks beautiful though.

    Jul 29, 2007 | 5:18 am

  8. elaine says:

    They do abound in Baguio or somewhere up North as I see these in the market. They are very sour though, and sells for P10 bucks a bunch.

    Jul 29, 2007 | 6:50 am

  9. annette says:

    Yeah, Ive seen those fruits before but I wont put that in my mouth cos for me it looks like small armadillos.

    Jul 29, 2007 | 7:08 am

  10. Colleen says:

    In Butuan, we call this Kapi. Your posting brings back memories when we use to peel them, put them in a plastic bag, sprinkle salt over them and shake-shake-shake. We would then pour it into a bowl and munch on them.

    Oh my, now i am salivating! hehehehe

    Jul 29, 2007 | 8:19 am

  11. bernadette says:

    I really didn’t know they were edible because the only time I saw them was in a souvenir shop among carved objects. And then maybe, those I saw were not the edible variety. They look good though in a native-looking X’mas wreath. Thanks!

    Jul 29, 2007 | 9:17 am

  12. grocerypimp says:

    I tried a similar fruit in Sabah, Malaysia a few months ago. It was called ‘Snake Fruit’ because the the peel looked and felt like snake skin. Quite creepy actually. Peeling it was a chore as the scales were sharp. The flesh tasted like a cross between a tamarind and a ‘chico’ fruit. It’s always amazing when you you discover and try something new. (I actually have a picture if you’re interested).

    Jul 29, 2007 | 11:12 am

  13. Marketman says:

    grocerypimp, yes, I am familiar with snakefruit, I actually like it a lot, the skin is adark brown or almost burgundy and the fruit is significantly larger than this one with more opaque flesh… it was common in Indonesia and I grew to like it there…

    Jul 29, 2007 | 11:23 am

  14. honey says:

    An ex-officemate who is an ilocano tells me that they have a sweeter variety of this fruit. As for me, the ones i’ve tasted are so sour

    Jul 29, 2007 | 12:11 pm

  15. kulasa says:

    I’ve only tasted a sweet one once, all others were really sour. Our housekeeper used to bring some as pasalubong. Never really got the hang of eating this fruit.

    Jul 29, 2007 | 8:57 pm

  16. joey says:

    I tasted these at Salcedo market and the guy said it really tasted this way…asim enough to make you cry! And I almost did…right there in his stall when I had my free taste! I actually asked him, “Does anyone actually eat this?” And he said, “Oo, yung naglilihi”…okeeeey.

    Jul 30, 2007 | 8:51 am

  17. maria says:

    nakakapangasim. hmmm. intriguing. looks like fun to experiment with.

    Jul 30, 2007 | 11:33 am

  18. dhayL says:

    this is one interesting fruit to look at!!! so this fruit comes from “rattan” like the ones used for chairs, tables, etc? sorry to sound so dumb, i’ve never seen this fruit before!

    Jul 31, 2007 | 5:57 am

  19. connie says:

    I remember these on those fruit stands, I mean those food vendors with their “kariton”, selling seasonal fruits just outside the school’s gate. The vendors would usually give you salt in a rolled, cone shape recycled newspaper, dip the sour fruit in it. I forgot the local name we have for these,I think we just call them rattan. I like it but I tend to gravitate towards the other fruits they offer. Like the indian mangos cut in half, seeded then bagoong is placed in the hallowed out fruit.
    Funny, I miss things like that when Mom would always says those are not the cleanest places you could it from. She was right, but heck it tastes good for some reason. Maybe because of the extra dirt in it. Like eating salt off newspaper with ink coming of it. LOL.

    Jul 31, 2007 | 8:29 am

  20. starbuxadix says:

    i too have never heard and seen this fruit before. quite interesting but thanks, i think i’ll pass. “snakeskin like outer layer”?? creepy! =/

    Aug 1, 2007 | 1:41 am

  21. Vennis Jean says:

    MM I’m from Davao del Norte and i was intrigued with your littuko..yah its from rattan and when i was a kid I’d used to go with my cousins to the forest near the stream to hunt them up…but your littuko looks different from what we used to get as kids…ours have a brownish-yellow snakeskin peel…and the fruit isn’t segmented and it as a single bleck seed (wondering if its the same kind that you have here…or is mine from a different variety?)However i never forget how sour it was…we could peel them and pack them in jars or bowls and sprinkle it with lotsa salt(like burong mangga) then we’d wait for a couple of hours and eat it…this makes the seed easy to separate from the flesh….gotta go home to the province and hunt them up again … :)

    Aug 14, 2007 | 9:07 pm

  22. Ebba Myra says:

    I forgot what it is called locally, but my aunt from Quezon will bring some to us in Manila, and I remember them being sour and sweet. They do peel bits & pcs at times (like boiled egg), at certain times, half-whole My family and I loved sour fruits and I myself can eat a very raw fresh kamias. We also have one fruit that looks like duhat, but very sour (liputi) and we will put them in a bowl, add rock salt, cover and shake, shake, and eat it till our mouth goes berserk. Next time I come home, I will hunt for this fruit.

    Aug 22, 2007 | 1:26 am

  23. meekerz says:

    I saw these at Landmark supermarket. About 80 a kilo I think… it was pre-packed into a styro tray, about 30+ a tray :)

    Sep 3, 2007 | 11:43 am

  24. marivic lantican says:

    i was in the hypermart for my weekly routine (home supplies) of course, i was in the fruit section to buy lansones, i was curious about this fruit when i see this one… it’s really caught my attentiion so i bought it instead of lansones….i don’t know this fruit and even this name… so, when i see the tag of this fruit… so rushed in my computer in started to search about this fruit….and i found it at market manila website… so it’s really great,, i didn’t know that this fruit exists…it’s taste like you don’t wanna taste it again…but i guess, it’s good for the skin….and it’s a citrus fruit.. tnx

    Sep 17, 2007 | 9:00 pm

  25. Marketman says:

    marivic, I am glad you got to try it out. It is extremely sour, but I don’t think it qualifies as a citrus fruit.

    Sep 17, 2007 | 9:26 pm

  26. lei says:

    maasim yan,.. dami ganyan sa min,. masarap na ibabad sa suka na may konting asukal,..hmmmmm,.. asim asim tlga,..

    Feb 12, 2008 | 3:45 pm

  27. Rudy says:

    I tasted this fruit and found it very sour, but it reminded me the taste of “griottes”, sour cherries that we have in Europe. So I peeled the fruits, added a large quantity of water, a lot of sugar, and cooked it smoothly for a while, 1/2 hour at least. The result is a compote that I find delicious, and also my filipino friends like it.

    Jul 21, 2008 | 8:32 pm

  28. Dudit says:

    This is one of my favorite fruits. I brought some to the office, my officemates were curious bout the taste, they said that it was the first time they saw that fruit. One of my officemates peeled one and popped the whole fruit into her mouth then her face went ‘mukasim’ she wasn’t able to breath so she spit it out. and i was on the floor laughing. ^_^

    Oct 17, 2008 | 5:45 pm

  29. Dex Singpet says:

    naimas nga prutas datoy littuko uray nagsobra ti alsem na, naata man wenno naluum, uray ka la agrup-ruppa nget nu kanem. masarakan datoy dyay eli ti Viscaya. ^_^

    Nov 28, 2008 | 12:43 am

  30. nikki oliverio says:

    this kapi fruit of rattan is good when you were drinking. im not saying that you’ll use it as a ‘pulutan’ but me and my cousins new year… we had a drink and both get drunk. we wouldnt mind eating something… until my cousin open the jar of this kapi fruit and ate it… also i get one.

    you know what’s so good about this fruit, it makes your drunk hell gone~! try it…

    Jan 2, 2009 | 3:06 pm

  31. revnoj says:

    aside from the above mentioned ways to process this fruit..any other idea in the use of this fruit….


    May 31, 2009 | 11:03 am

  32. michaeL angeLo de castro says:

    hi..i just want to know where i can buy rattan fruit in metro manila..i really need to get some because my girlfriend has been craving for it..so if anyone here knows where i can buy some, please reply to this message..please..please..the future of our love affair depends on this..heheh..thanks..ü

    Jul 9, 2009 | 12:01 pm

  33. Lourian_Ripaldez0308 says:

    at SM Supermarket, you can possibly buy all of these fruits, but only during the rainy / wet season here in the Philippines.

    Aug 14, 2009 | 9:07 pm

  34. Eden Claire says:

    I laughed hard with the shockingly sour description…but yes, this fruit is better with Sinigang than when eaten raw like any other fruit….Enjoyed reading ur blog MM..9AM-7PM..in between tasks in my notebook

    Aug 25, 2009 | 7:15 pm

  35. shapine says:

    Lolz…we tasted this last month sa Bolinao… the Ale (vendor) promised “tikman mo neh maasim na matamis yan” (taste it…it’s sour and sweet). So me and my friend hastily peeled one hoping that it’ll be our best buy for the day.

    after a seed each…we said our thanks and then hurriedly look for fresh bangus.

    i’ll eat some again though if given a chance =)

    Sep 10, 2009 | 2:25 pm


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