Tengkawang Fat

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Tengkawang Fat

Lemak Tengkawang

Tengkawang fat, or lemak tengkawang, is the fat or oil derived from a tengkawang or illipe nuts (species of the Shorea genus, also called “red meranti”) that are native to Borneo. Specifically, the Tunggul species (Shorea stenoptera) can be found in the Kapuas Hulu region and Sintang region of West Kalimantan in western Borneo. These tengkawang tree can reach 15 to 30 meters in height and begin bearing fruit after 8 years. Harvest takes place every 3 to 5 years. Seeds are approximately 5 cm long and 3 cm wide.   The local residents or indigenous people of Borneo collect fresh tengkawang seeds from wild forests and treat them with a natural curing and fumigation method called salai. Traditionally, the fat is obtained by boiling the nuts. A wooden tool is used to extract the fat from within the seed, and the obtained fat is stored within hollow bamboo reeds.   Tengkawang fat is solid at room temperature and up to 29°C, similar to butter or margarine. It is yellow in color, has a nutty aroma and is often used to cook and season animal proteins. It is often used communally by local tribes for cooking and also to treat animal bites. The fat can also be slightly melted and served as a sauce over rice, vegetables or meat. Tengkawang fat is also harvested and sold for use as an additive in certain cosmetic products and in chocolate production.   Habitat destruction has led to the loss of local biodiversity in Borneo’s forests, due to demand for timber and the creation of palm oil plantations. Multiple species of tengkawang, including those used for their fat, are listed as threatened or endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Tengkawang trees are an important component of the economy and culture of the indigenous people of West Kalimantan, who view them as sacred. Their food security, society and livelihoods are directly threatened by the destruction of the tengkawang trees’ habitat.

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West Kalimantan

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Nominated by:Djoko Prakoso e Bibong Widyarti