Calamansi vs Lime. What's the Difference?

In Malaysia and Singapore, there are two types of limes that are commonly used in cooking: key lime and calamansi lime.

Difference between Key Lime (limau nipis) & Calamansi Lime (limau kasturi)

Key lime (Limau nipis) is slightly larger and has thin skin. The fruit is normally used in making drinks.

Whereas Calamansi lime (Limau kasturi) is smaller and rounded. It’s also softer hence easier to juice with bare hands. Unlike key lime with light green flesh, calamansi lime’s flesh is golden yellow. It taste less acidic and sweeter than key lime.

Calamansi lime is widely used in Malaysian cooking (e.g okra with sambal belacan) and squeezed over food (e.g grilled fish and noodles) to enhance their flavour. It’s also used to make a refreshing juice called limau asam boi, made with lime and sour plum.

Other names: Limau Nipis

  • English name: Key lime
  • Malay name: Limau nipis
  • Chinese name: Suen Kam/ 酸金
  • Scientific name: Citrus aurantifolia

Other names: Limau Kasturi

  • English name: Calamansi Lime
  • Malay name: Limau kasturi
  • Chinese name: kat chai/ 桔子 or kam kat/ 金桔
  • Scientific name: c. mitis var microcarpa