Mata Kucing- Malaysia’s Version of the Longan

I’m pretty sure that most of us have tried or heard about the Mata Kucing before. For those of you who do not know the meaning of ‘Mata Kucing’, the direct translation would mean cats eye.  Its botanical Name would be  Euphoria malaiense (Sapindaceae). It is round and has a tough and brown exterior. However, on the inside, it is juicy and tastes a lot like ‘longan’. The reason why it is called cats eye is because once you have removed the skin, the flesh is pretty translucent, white and it will expose the dark seed which looks a lot like the eye of a cat. According to International Society for Horticultural Science, the Mata Kucing is actually a close relative of the longan (hence the similar smell and taste).

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The fruit is harvested a couple of times a year and it is relatively inexpensive.

There are many benefits to eating Mata Kucing. It was used as traditional medicine in the past. The fruit is rich in antioxidants like most indigenous fruits. The seeds of mata Kuching contains gallic acid, a common type of the phenol antioxidant.  Apart from that, saponins, tannins and fat also can be found.  The seeds can be used to treat excessive bleeding and sweating. This fruits was also used in the olden days as a type of traditional medicine and was used to treat allergies and cardiovascular diseases.

Compounds such as  quercetin which can be found in the leaves are also used to treat diabetes and cancer. The flesh on the other hand is used to treat indigestion and can also be used as an antidote to treat snake’s venom together with the seed.

The juice of the fruit can also be used as a cure for insomnia, lack of concentration and appetite as well as extreme tiredness, There are many other health benefits of Mata Kucing such as it prevents anemia, premature hair whitening and help combat fever. The fruit may also contain other vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins A, C thiamine, calcium, fiber and protein. It also produces a lot of energy and is known to increase stamina as it contains sucrose, protein, fat, sugar and tartaric acid,

As such, if you ever come across this fruit in the market, or on the road side, do give it a try. This fruit has also been commercialize,  made into syrup and exported to the US

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