Everywhere you go in Thailand, you will be met with plenty of fruit stands in almost every corner. The bright colors and shapes of these exotic fruits will attract your attention and call you to stop in your tracks and take a moment to divulge your senses in their sweet aroma and delicious flavors.
A fruity ugly ducking story. Dragon fruit (called pittaya in other parts of the world) is the gorgeous product of the ugliest plant you’ve ever seen. Think of Medusa as a cactus and you’re on the right track. While white fruit is most common, you’ll also find purple dragon fruit and – rarer still – yellow dragon fruit.
A Thai fruit that weighs as much as a german shepherd. Only in the tropics! Enjoy the fruit alone or with ice cream; the massive seeds have a variety of uses in cooking. Jackfruit can grow up to three feet long and might weigh up to 80 pounds. Thailand’s jackfruit season lasts into spring.
Mangosteen fruits resemble a little present. Cut through the thick red skin to find a bite-sized treat waiting within. Thailand has a second mangosteen season, in autumn. Freeze-dried mangosteen is a decent substitute if you can’t find it fresh near you.
Surely the most controversial fruit on earth, durian is to its fans a rich, unique tasting fruit, and to its critics, a putrid-smelling, lame duck of a fruit. Its extremely strong aroma – which some say resembles rotting fruit down a blocked drain – let alone its aggressive look, is enough to put many off tasting it altogether. Others, swear by it. Its the most expensive of all Thai fruits and actually banned, yes banned, from some public places, hotels and on planes.
Perhaps the most visually striking of Thai fruits – rambutans are also one of the cheapest. A delicious fruit to be inhaled in mammoth quantities. Dig in! Rambutan is cheap and abundant when in season and makes an ideal breakfast.
The Kingdom is one of the largest producers of this flavourful, juicy fruit. Growing year round it is best planted in sandy seacoast soil, and grows on a low lying plant. It’s an incredibly versatile fruit that finds its way into desserts, drinks and savoury dishes.
One of the most well-known fruits in Thailand, there are many varieties of the delicious, refreshing mango and a few different ways of eating it. When ripe, it can be halved and eaten with a spoon, while many choose to enjoy it with sticky rice and coconut milk (Khao Niew Ma-muang). Others like to eat it half-ripe and dip the crunchy slices in sugar. Also makes a wonderful juice.
Originally from Central America and the West Indies, guava is now grown in many tropical countries and favoured especially for its fragrant, exotic taste. Available all year round, it makes a popular snack that can be eaten green and crunchy alongside salt, sugar and chilli, or when ripe. Tasty and highly refreshing, guava can also be made into delicious drinks, luscious ice creams or rich jams and jellies. It’s Thai name, Farang, is also the term that foreigners are known by.
A lesser known sibling of the lychee and rambutan, the longan has a sweet, delicate flavour and grows in Northern Thailand in the Chang Mai area, especially between June and August. The skin is pierced by the finger and the delicious, juicy flesh revealed by squeezing it out of its shell using the thumb and forefinger.
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