All Recipes/ Vegan/ Vegetarian

Fresh Acar Buah Recipe (Pickled Malaysian Salad)

February 23, 2022 (Last Updated: March 2, 2023)
acar buah

Have you heard of acar buah? Acar buah is (and isn’t) a type of fresh lightly pickled cucumber pineapple salad that’s served with rice and curries. There are two main kinds of acar buah: fresh lightly pickled no-cook salad and preserved cooked pickled fruit salad.

This acar buah recipe is the no-cook fresh, lightly pickled fruit salad version. The only annoying thing about this cucumber, pineapple salad Malaysian recipe is the pineapple making tongue itch. I teach you how to completely avoid that in this post.

If you want to learn how to make this easy Malaysian cucumber salad, stick around until the end. We’re also going to cover some other topics like:

One valuable thing my mother taught me while I was learning how to make this simple acar recipe was how to cut pineapple without wasting too much of it and how to avoid the annoying itchy tongue feeling after eating pineapple.

Do you want to know how to get rid of that itchy tongue sensation and the best way to cut a pineapple without wasting it? Today’s your lucky day because that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in the next section! 

Why Is My Tongue Itchy After Eating Pineapple? How To AVOID This

acar buah

This pineapple carving tip and recipe guarantees you won’t have that annoying itchy tongue sensation and it will teach you how to carve a pineapple with the least amount of wastage.

If your tongue is itchy, that could mean two things. You’re either allergic to pineapples or you’ve got a particularly acidic pineapple with a high content of bromelain –an enzyme that causes irritation in your mouth.

Salting and pickling the pineapple will neutralize this enzyme and remove the risk of an itchy mouth or tongue when eating this dish.

You know when you buy a pineapple for $3-5 and you cut the skin and you see lots of pineapple flesh attached to it? And what’s worse is those black dots or “pineapple eyes” are still there. But you’ll only have a little pineapple if you keep cutting it to remove the brown dots.

The solution? Cut close enough to the edge of the pineapple to remove the skin while exposing those brown dots. They’re a little sharp, not nice to eat and make your tongue itchy. 

Have a look at your pineapple and you’ll be able to see a spiral pattern. Take it one eye or two eyes at a time. Cut at a diagonal and repeat on the other side.

Follow the natural pattern of the pineapple eyes and repeat this step all around the pineapple. You’ll have a beautifully carved pineapple that is eye free.

Your carved pineapple is ready to be added to your Asian pickled cucumber salad. With your beautifully carved pineapple and all our bases covered, it is finally time to make this lightly pickled cucumber salad!

How To Make Acar Buah Recipe

acar buah recipe

We’re finally here and I will now teach you how to make this quick and simple acar buah. There are only two steps:

  • Cut everything up
  • Mix it all together

Cut Everything Up

Take your pineapple and slice it in half. Remove the middle and divide each half into four sections. Cut each section into bite-sized pieces like so:

Grab your cucumbers and chop them up too. Try and make sure they’re roughly the same size as your pineapple pieces. I chopped mine at an angle because I was making a large batch. Slice your red onion as thinly as you can and toss everything into a large bowl or pot.

My mother adds carrots in her acar buah and you can do so if you like (I don’t so I won’t). This is also a good time to mention that you can add sliced red chilies in the salad for a pop of color and a bit of heat. 

Mix It All Together

Add the lime juice, vinegar, sugar, and salt into the bowl and mix everything together. This salad can be enjoyed immediately but I really recommend making it in advance and letting the ingredients mingle. As they sit in the vinegar and sugar, the pineapple enzymes break down, and the onions not only pickle and perfume the salad but also transform into a bright shade of pink. Here’s a comparison after a few hours in the fridge.

acar buah

This salad is already an amazing addition to any meal but once you’ve kept it in the fridge and the flavors have been left to develop, it’s a whole other level.

The salt will draw out the moisture from the cucumber and pineapple making them cold crisp and crunchy. Then you have a sweet tangy liquid marinade that is mixed with the natural juices of the pineapples.

What Is Acar Buah?

Acar buah comes in many forms but the basic concept of this salad stems from its name. In Bahasa Melayu, “acar” means pickle and “buah” means fruit. Pickled fruit salad can sound funny but there is a long and rich history you probably don’t want me to explain right now. You can read up about it on Wiki if you’re interested.

Variations of this dish can be found in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Brunei.

This simple pineapple cucumber salad comes in many forms but it’s essentially a pickled vegetable salad. It is a localized version of the Indian dish achar and is known as atjar.  

Made in bulk, this salad is a great accompaniment to lighten heavily spiced dishes. It’s served at weddings and special events. One variation of acar resembles sambal and is made with dried or pickled fruit.

That’s why I said it is and isn’t a fresh pickled salad. But let’s talk about that in the next section and learn about some acar variations.

Different Kinds Of Acar

acar buah

This acar recipe from Malaysia is a no cook pickled cucumbers with pineapple. There is a cooked version of this salad made with dried fruits, prunes, raisins, nutmeg fruit, and pickled green and red cherries.

This mix of dried fruit is tossed in a sambal-type sauce made from onions, garlic, ginger, chili paste, salt, and sugar. This pickled dried fruit salad is very different in comparison to this quick pickled cucumber salad recipe.

Acar buah is made with vegetables and fruits. Today, we’re sticking with this basic quick, and easy salad that requires zero cooking. 

Acar buah is a condiment, a side dish that compliments and rounds up a meal. So, if you’re wondering what to serve it with, continue on to the next part for ideas and a few recipe recommendations!

What To Serve With Acar Buah?

acar buah

You want to make this pineapple and cucumber achar recipe but you’re wondering what to serve with it. I feel you! Acar freshens up a meal and balance fatty dishes. 

In Malaysia, you will find acar served alongside dishes like martabak (a beef filled pancake of sorts), fried rice, grilled fish (ikan bakar) and satay. Acar is served at special events next to nasi minyak (a fragrant spiced rice dish) and ayam masak merah (red chicken). 

This Malaysian achar recipe is a condiment for special events and served during Hari Raya (eid ul fitr). My mother serves these Malaysian pickled vegetables with her famous ayam golek (Malaysian Royal Roast Chicken) and nasi carrot: a variation of a spiced rice dish. 

The acar buah paired with the rich coconut roast chicken and fragrant spiced rice cooked in evaporated milk pairs perfectly. It’s an amazing meal fit for royalty.

That’s all from me today, folks. A simple, quick, and humble acar buah recipe that will impress. All that flavor for minimal effort sounds like a great deal to me. I think this is the best Malaysian acar recipe but you’ll have to make this pickled Malaysian salad and find out yourself.

What do you think about this Malaysian acar recipe? Is there a variation of acar buah in your country? Drop them in the comments below so we can all learn about other pickled fruit salads together!

Also, check out these great Malaysian dishes to complement your acar buah:

Ayam Golek (Malaysian Royal Coconut Roast Chicken)

Nasi Carrot (Malaysian Spiced Rice)

Acar Buah (Pickled Malaysian Salad)

Side Malaysian
By Yummyble -Aisha Serves: 10
Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes

Acar buah is a lightly pickled Malaysian salad that is sweet, tangy, and fresh. It is commonly served cold, can be made ahead of time and for such a simple dish, it really packs a punch.


  • 1 whole pineapple
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 large red onion
  • 150ml white vinegar
  • 7 tbsp white sugar (fine)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • a pinch of salt
  • Optional: fresh red chili



Remove the top and bottom of your pineapple.


Slice the skin off and remove the 'eyes'. There is a visual guide in the blog to show you how to do this. The 'eyes' of the pineapple are the part that makes the itchy tongue sensation occur.


Chop your pineapple into small pieces, do the same to your cucumber and add them into a large bowl.


Slice your red onion into thin ribbons and add it to the bowl.


Add sugar, salt, juice from one lime, and vinegar to the salad mix.


Toss everything together and allow the salad to pickle for a minimum of 15 minutes.


Serve alongside coconut roast chicken (ayam golek) and nasi carrot (Malaysian spiced rice) and you'll have a feast perfect for any celebration!


This salad is amazing if you make it ahead of time! The flavors will develop the longer it sits in the marinade.

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