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Why Does Semenanjung Fail at Lemons? February 17, 2010

Posted by Wilz in Personal.

Lime vs Lemon

Coming back to Sarawak almost reminds me of a major quibble I have with drinks in Peninsular Malaysia – they fail at lemons.

It is close to impossible to get iced lemon tea at your basic food stall in the Peninsular, but not so in Sarawak. I grew up getting used to ordering iced lemon tea and getting tea with actual slices of those big yellow skinned lemons in it. Ordering the same in Peninsular lands you iced lime tea instead, which is just… odd (to me).

The lime we have locally, the most common “limau kasturi” (citrus madurensis) and the less common “limau nipis” or key lime (citrus aurantifolia) is not quite the same as the lemon shaped persian lime people in the west are probably familiar with (citrus latifolia). The lemon which I wish drinks stalls in the Peninsular would start actually using in their drinks is known simply as the lemon (citrus limon). I’m guessing we don’t have a word for because it doesn’t grow here.

We have words for all the other kinds of lime – “kasturi“, “nipis” (literally means thin), “parut” (literally means scar, referring to some wrinkled skin lemons), “kupas” (literally means to peel, referring to mandarin oranges) and “manis” (literally means sweet, referring to sweet oranges) – to name a few. But until today I can’t figure out how to refer to lemons in Malay.

After a few months in the Peninsular attempting to explain using descriptions like, “that yellow skinned lime fruit thing,” and “no, not the small one, the big one,” I kinda gave up. At the expensive eating places, you mostly get Seasons Iced Lemon Tea which is a factory processed drink you can also purchase in bottles. Ewww.

We need to start a “teh o ais lemon” revolution over there!



1. edo - February 17, 2010

Oh, I thought I was the only one bitching about it. lol. Yes, I want my “teh o ais LEMON” here!

2. Lich King - February 18, 2010

lol….ice lime tea…..

3. V - February 18, 2010

i ordered it once and got watermelon juice… lemon, melon… dude got confused.

I have a suggestion though. Perhaps you can find the foreign word for lemon… because all those taking our orders at mamak shops are bangladeshis and nepalis…

Sometimes i actually do see those lemons in the fridge, but it will just be there for a very long time.

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