7 Most Delicious Tropical Fruits You Have Never Tasted
Delicious Thai Fruits
Many of the fruits in Thailand you’ve seen before. The watermelon is sweet, juicy, and bright red year-round, and the pineapples and bananas basically taste like candy. And don’t even get me started on the mangos!
But why not discover something new with some of these amazing fruits?
7. Guava in Plum Juice
Forget the weird-tasting juices mixed with apple and “guava-flavored” anything you’ve tasted before. Farang Cherboy (guava soaked in plum juice) is a total taste sensation. The guava in Thailand is sweet and juicy, but it doesn’t have the candy-like “flavor explosion” of many of the other fruits. (It’s actually quite a bit like an apple or pear.) However, when they peel it and soak it in neon-green plum juice, you truly have an amazing flavor. Bonus points for dipping it in the sugar/chili/salt mixture the roadside fruit vendors handout with it.
Bonus fact: the word for “white people” in Thai is the same as the word for “guava”—farang. Depending on whom you believe, it comes from the word for French, foreigner, or Varangian – an old Viking tribe.
The jackfruit looks like something out of a Dr. Suess book. The fruits, which can reach up to 35 kg and 90 cm in length, are spiky green blobs which appear to “drip” from the trunks of their trees. You might want to leave preparing them to the professionals… it can be a little tricky to separate the edible fruit from all its protective packaging. The texture is a soft and stringy (but in a fun way) and the flavor is an enchanting mix of pineapple, mango, and banana all in one. Look for the yellow bulbs piled high in the street carts during the peak season.
You’ve probably tasted this one without even knowing it. Not only is the flavoring in everyone’s favorite, Pad Thai, it’s also found in HP and Worcestershire Sauces.
Tamarind grows in long, brown pods and the look of the fruit is admittedly slightly unappetizing (but – bonus – if you need a deliciously edible stand-in for poop, you’ve come to the right place). To eat it, crack the shell with your fingers and remove the fibrous bits that hold it together. Voila! Just be sure to eat around the hard seeds still inside. The flavor of ripe tamarind is a bit like apricot with an orange-y tang added in.
If you like your snacks a little less work-intensive, try the spicy, pre-peeled version available in gift shops and even 7-11s throughout Thailand. It comes in a little bucket and looks like sugar-covered feces. Yum!
Longan is simply delicious, with a flavor somewhere in the plum/lychee range. You can find them on sale on the back of trucks year round.
Longan means “dragon eye” in Chinese and it’s so named because the papery outer shell gives way to a semi-translucent white sphere with a shiny black pit in the middle. If you’re lucky, the shell cracks away a bit like a sunflower seed, but maybe you’ll have to pick away some of the skin.
Don’t be surprised if you buy a kilo or two and find yourself in a daze with nothing left but a big pile of seeds and shells.
Rambutan is definitely the most photogenic fruit on this list. It’s the size of an elongated plum with a bright pink or fuschia-colored shell that extends in soft, bright-green “fur spikes.” It’s closely related to lychee and longan and the translucent white flesh has a similar flavor to both.
Look for the brightest colors to find the juiciest fruit.
Mangosteen is like a tangerine from another planet. The bright purple shell can easily be removed to reveal the edible white fruit inside (just beware the pips). If it’s too hard to open it, don’t bother—it’s not ripe yet.
Be sure to enjoy fresh mangosteen in Thailand and don’t even try to take it home– it’s illegal to import raw mangosteen to most Western countries
Of course our #1 had to be durian – the King of Fruits in Southeast Asia. Its reputation of “tastes like heaven, smells like hell” is well deserved. Depending on the delicacy of you nose, it can smell like a dog park on a hot day, and it’s banned in many hotels and on public transport.
The flavor, though, has been inspiring poets for years, and it’s been described as “a rich custard highly flavored with almonds.”
The world is your oyster! Uhh... I mean, durian! Try something new!
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