The Lansium parasiticum is an evergreen tree that is native to Southeast Asia and can produce vast quantities of fruit. There are two varieties of this fruit commonly sold at markets in Malaysia and Thailand, the langsat and duku. There’s some confusion around how they differ so in this guide, we’re going to compare their flavor so that you can learn which is best.
What’s the difference between a langsat and duku?
A langsat is a small edible fruit with white flesh that is sweet and bitter, like a mild grapefruit. It is shaped like an egg and contains latex. The duku is usually slightly larger with less juice, but a stronger citrusy taste. Its skin is thicker and easier to peel and there is no latex.
Both varieties have a bitter membrane which is best to remove from the arils (segments) before eating. They also both contain edible bitter seeds; some may need to be discarded due to their size.
Which fruit is best?
Although the duku and langsat are very similar in taste and appearance, we preferred the duku for its size and stronger flavor. The fact it doesn’t contain any latex and that it has a longer shelf life are also positives that weighed in the duku’s favor.
Summary Table Comparing Langsat and Duku
|Taste||Citrusy, like sweet grapefruit, low bitterness, slightly sour||Stronger citrusy taste than langsat|
|Shape||Egg-shaped measuring roughly 1 inch wide by 1.5 inches long||Round and bigger than a langsat|
|Seeds||Small green seeds that are edible but bitter||Small green seeds that are edible and not as bitter as langsat|
|Juice||Very juicy||Moderately juicy|
|Skin||Yellow peel that is thin and can have soft hair||Yellowish-brown rind that is thick and rougher than a langsat’s|
|Difficulty to peel||Easy||Very easy|
|Size||Smaller, less flesh||Bigger, more flesh|
|Storage||Short life once picked||Longer shelf life|
The duku and langsat are most commonly eaten out of hand as their tangy, sweet flavor is delicious when consumed raw. They can be used in the same way in the kitchen. They pair deliciously with herbs like mint, cilantro, and basil.
- Fruit pulp can be juiced or blended into smoothies for a refreshing, nutritious drink.
- The segments of flesh can also be added to garden salads and fruit salads.
- Cook the fruit to produce jams, jellies, sauces.
- Add them to puddings, ice cream, sorbet, or baked goods.
A duku is high in vitamin A and C as well as antioxidants. It can help reduce the damage caused by free radicals, maintain healthy skin, and help with eye health. Dukus are high in fiber and are considered an excellent snack for those with diabetes.
Langsat is also high in vitamin A and C and is excellent for keeping the skin looking supple and radiant. It is used in some skin-washing products in some countries within Southeast Asia.
Both the duku and langsat can be replaced with similar types of tropical fruit such as:
Interesting reading: How does the lychee and mangosteen differ?
- The longkong is a cross between a duku and a langsat and is considered the best eating of the three varieties in Thailand.
- The Lansium parasiticum tree is extremely popular in Indonesia and is the provincial flower in South Sumatra. It is a part of the Mahogany family.
- Langsat trees grow up to 66 feet (20 meters) in height and produce large clusters of fruit in each bunch. The tree can bear fruit twice in the same year.
Dukus and langsats are different types of tropical fruit that are picked from the Lansium parasiticum tree, also known as Lansium Domesticum. Newcomers to these varieties would have trouble identifying which is which as they are so similar. They can be used interchangeably in recipes although a duku is usually a little larger and has more flavor.
They are both delicious fruits, but we’d score the duku higher as it’s bigger, easier to peel, and doesn’t release any latex when opened.
What is your favorite tropical fruit? Please let us know in the comments below.