Ten of the World's Most Exotic Fruits - How many have you seen or tasted?

Do you like fruits?

I love fruits of all kinds. Do you? Besides apples and oranges, I like tropical fruits and many of them are considered "exotic" by most people. While I have had many exotic fruits, there are some that I haven't even heard of. If you are a fan of fruits, you will like this hub. Check the list to see how many have you eaten. Enjoy!

Want some fire? Then Dragon Fruit is for you!

A crosssection of red skinned dragon fruit.
A crosssection of red skinned dragon fruit. | Source

1. Dragon Fruit or Pitaya

Have you seen a dragon fruit or pitaya? Dragon fruit is a more common name. In Chinese, it's called 火龍果 (The direct translation of these Chinese characters is "fire dragon fruit). I have seen these firery fruits many years ago. Many vendors sell them in NYC's Chinatown. However, it's only recently that I have the courage to try them. The flesh of the dragon fruit very much resemble that of a kiwi. It tastes a bit like kiwi too - to me.

I have only seen the red skinned (with white flesh) dragon fruits. After some research, I learned that there are two other types: 1. Costa Rica pitaya - which has red skin and red flesh; 2.) Yellow pitaya - which has yellow skin and white flesh. Pitayas or dragon fruits are rich in fiber and minerals. The red skinned dragon fruits contain a good amount of calcium.

An interesting fact is that pitayas flower at nighttime! Like all cacti, they don't require much water. So, how do you eat a dragon fruit? Well, you eat it pretty much like a kiwi - cut the fruit in half, scoop out the inner flesh and enjoy! Dragon fruits have tons of seeds - if you have the patience, you might try to see if you can get a count of them.

 

Purple Mangosteen

2. Mangosteen

Whenever I walk by a street vendor selling fruits, I couldn't resist looking at the mangosteens that were for sale. I haven't conquered my inner fear to give this exotic fruit a try. Do you know that fresh mangosteens once cost as high as $45 per pound in NYC specialty stores? (Source: Wikipedia.org) This was when mangosteen was first introduced in the U.S. back in 2007. Nowadays, these fruits become more and more common so their prices have also dropped significantly. Though, at $8 per pound, it's still quite a luxury.

Akee - Amazing to look at

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Ackee fruitRipened ackee fruit - split open and revealing three large, shiny black seeds.
Ackee fruit
Ackee fruit | Source
Ripened ackee fruit - split open and revealing three large, shiny black seeds.
Ripened ackee fruit - split open and revealing three large, shiny black seeds. | Source

3. Akee

What is Akee? It's another exotic fruit that is related to the lychee and longan (which are among my favorite fruits). If you have eaten lychee and longan, you know what I'm talking about. Do you know that akee is the national fruit of Jamaica and that akee and saltfish is their national dish?

A Tree of Stars

Star fruits on a tree - are they beautiful?
Star fruits on a tree - are they beautiful? | Source

4. Star Fruit

I love star fruits or "carmbolas". Umm...I prefer to call them star fruits. You don't need a telescope to look at a star anymore! This amazing fruit (when sliced crosswisely) resembles a star, hence it's name. It's not only appealing to the naked eye, star fruit is also rich in antioxidants and vitamin C and low in sugar, sodium, and acid. While there are many benefits, there are also risks involved in consuming this exotic fruit. Star fruits contain oxalic acid, which can be harmful to individuals suffering from kidney failures, kidney stones, or those under kidney dialysis treatment.

I sliced a big star fruit and now I have a full plate of "stars"....and it's still daylight :)
I sliced a big star fruit and now I have a full plate of "stars"....and it's still daylight :) | Source

Brings back good memories

I remember when I was a kid, there was a star fuit tree in our village. The tree was so tall and bears star fruits too - just tiny ones though. I'm not sure whether they were not ripened or simply because the tree was so old in age. Anyway, I still ate them...adding salt to the fruit. It tasted a bit tart, it was fun to shoot them off the tree - almost like catching a star from the sky. You know, it's one of those crazying things you did as a kid.

Star fruits can be dried and have a delicious taste, just like dried cranberries. Next time you go to Shoprite, look for star fruits - they are available in many Asian groceries and local supermarkets.

Stars in Daylight?

Star fruits are beautiful...just like stars up above in the sky.
Star fruits are beautiful...just like stars up above in the sky. | Source

Sure, we have tried pomegranate juice....

Pomegranate fruit - opened
Pomegranate fruit - opened | Source

5. Pomegranate

Another amazing fruit - Pomegranate. It's a very pretty fruit. The taste of pomegranate is said to be in between a lemon and grapefruit. I like to chew each seed individually. The fruit reminds me much of a guava.

Benefits of pomegranate juice include: a rich source of vitamin C, fiber (contained in the seeds), and might be effective in reducing heart risk factors. Next time you go food shopping, add pomegranate to your list of fruits.

Rambutan - Have you seen one yet?

Source
My first rambutan....I finally tried it!!!!
My first rambutan....I finally tried it!!!! | Source

6. Rambutan - One Amazing Fruit

What exactly is a rambutan? The name came from the Indonesian word, rambutan, which means hairy caused by the "hair or spikes" that cover this fruit. To many of us, this is an extremely exotic fruit, but to the Indonesians, Filipinos, and Malaysians, this fruit is consumed just like apples and oranges because rambutans are native to them.

I have seen rambutans in Chinatown. The fruits kind of look cute, with the spiky hairs surrounding them. They are related to lychee and longan. However, I have not tried tasting a rambutan. Have you?

Whole kiwano
Whole kiwano | Source

7. Kiwano

Kiwano is also called horned melon, African horned melon, and English tomato. It has a nickname as well - in the southeastern United States, it is called "blowfish fruit". Kiwano is an oval shaped melon with horn-like spikes. Native to Africa, kiwanos are now grown in California, Chile, Australia, and New Zealand.

Buddha's hand in closed hand form
Buddha's hand in closed hand form | Source

8. Buddha's Hand

Buddha's Hand belong to the citrus family. The fruit is very fragrant and used in making perfume. In Western cooking, the peel from the fruit is used for its zest. "Bushukan" is its Japanese name. When in closed hand form, the fruit resembles a Buddha's hand in prayer. What an interesting fruit!

Longan

Longan branches
Longan branches | Source

9. Longan or "Dragon Eye"

If you happen to be shopping in Chinatown lately, you will find a lot of longans. Longans mean "dragon eyes" because when the fruit is peeled, it resembles an "eye." They are in season now. At their high prices, longans cost as much as $8-9 per pound. The other day, I just saw the price tag: "6 LBS for $10" - wow, an unbeatable price! If you like longans, you should enjoy them now, as they are so juicy and sweet.

You can find longan fruits in syrup (canned) or dried. Dried longans are used in Chinese cuisine as a main ingredient in desserts or soups. If you have a backyard, you can grow your own longan tree. Just drop a seed or two in the ground and watch for their growth.

What does this fruit look like to you? - an eyeball?

Longan fruit - does it resemble an "eye"?
Longan fruit - does it resemble an "eye"? | Source

Lychee Tree

Lychee fruit
Lychee fruit | Source

10. Lychees

Fresh lychees are very delicious. They are very nutritious as well. I am amazed at the content of vitamin C in lychee. To boost up your immune system, consider eating lychee like you would oranges. You get 72 grams of vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit. What a natural way to meet our vitamin C requirement! Lychees are now readily available in many Asian food markets as well as supermarkets. When you see lychee, you will also see longans because both of them are harvested around the same time, almost as if they're twins.

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Comments 28 comments

J Burgraff profile image

J Burgraff 5 years ago

Great article. We get so used to apples, oranges and grapes, that we don't think about the fact that most of the world doesn't eat the kind of fruit we do. I hope to taste every single one of these exotic (to me) fruits someday soon.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago

I'm happy to say that I'm eaten most of the fruits mentioned, thanks to growing up in Singapore. The only two I have yet to try are Akee and Kiwano. My favorites are longans, mangosteens and lychees. Great hub and thanks for sharing.


happypuppy profile image

happypuppy 5 years ago Author

Hi J Burgraff. Thanks for your comment! Yes, we can find apples, oranges, and grapes year round. Some of these exotic fruits are only available during a short time period. I'm glad to hear that you will give them a try some day :)


happypuppy profile image

happypuppy 5 years ago Author

Hi anglnwu. Thanks for stopping by. I have heard many great things about Singapore and hope I can visit some day. We share some common interest - longans and lychees :) Akee and Kiwano seem too exotic to me at the current moment. One of these days, I have to try mangosteens.


sonia05 profile image

sonia05 5 years ago from india

This is such a wonderful hub, informative with lovely pictures! I feel like eating all the exotic fruits. I have eaten star fruit and pomegranate and lychees. Lycheess are grown in my country India. I simply love eating lychees. Its juicy and yummy. Its shake or juice is also too good!

Thank you for sharing this hub!


happypuppy profile image

happypuppy 5 years ago Author

Thanks Sonia! Lychees are in season now. I just saw some fresh lychees (in branches) from my local grocery store.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

Thanks for the introduction to some beautiful,exotic fruits. The star fruit has become popular in grocery stores and looks so pretty mixed in with a fruit salad.


happypuppy profile image

happypuppy 5 years ago Author

Hi Dolores Monet! That's right, star fruit has gained some popularity. I can imagine how pretty they will look in a mixed fruit salad. Thanks for stopping by.


PiaC profile image

PiaC 5 years ago from Oakland, CA

While reading this Hub, I was counting out all the fruits that I have had the opportunity to taste! I would love to find some of the others as well. I'll have to keep an eye out for Buddha's Hande, akee and Kiwano. Thanks for this very interesting Hub.


Maddie Ruud profile image

Maddie Ruud 5 years ago from Oakland, CA

For a while when I was a kid, my mother would let me pick out one fruit or vegetable I'd never tasted on every visit to our local produce market. It was a great way to educate the palate, and make trying new things fun!


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

I have eaten most of these fruits except for Buddha's hand, Kiwano and Akee! :D

Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! This way to read and see your hub: http://koffeeklatchgals.hubpages.com/hubnuggets6/h... Don't forget to vote okay? Have a fantastic fruity day!


Recipe Gal profile image

Recipe Gal 5 years ago

Congratulations on your nomination! It is fun to see all these fruits again! I spent a summer in Thailand, and we had mangosteen, rambutans, and lychees for breakfast almost every day! Mangosteen are by far my favorite! If you every get a chance to try them you definitely should!


prektjr.dc profile image

prektjr.dc 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA

happypuppy,

Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination! Good hub! I have only tried 2 of them...the star fruit and pomegranite. I am anxious to look for the others at our grocers and give them a try! Thank you for introducing them to us! Voted up, useful and interesting! Good luck!


Elizabeth 5 years ago

I have had a few on the list. I LOVE Rambutans!!! My first encounter with the exotic fruit was in Korea. We were visiting Jeju Island and the hotel had them during the breakfast buffet. I wasn't quite sure what it was and when I poked it with a knife, it squirted my son across the table from me! The inside reminds me of a peeled grape but the taste is amazing!


happypuppy profile image

happypuppy 5 years ago Author

Thanks PiaC for commenting! Like you, I haven't had the Buddha's hand, akee, and kiwano. I'm not sure if I can find them in NYC.


happypuppy profile image

happypuppy 5 years ago Author

Hi Maddie Ruud! Thanks for sharing your childhood experience. It must've been fun to go to the produce market where you can pick all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits are also great as a centerpiece.


happypuppy profile image

happypuppy 5 years ago Author

Hi ripplemaker! I haven't tried those three fruits that you mentioned neither (haven't seen them).

Thanks. I didn't know that I was nominated for Hubnuggets until now. Although I'm not exactly sure what it is, I'm still happy! :)


happypuppy profile image

happypuppy 5 years ago Author

Thank you, Recipe Gal! It must have been nice to visit Thailand in the summer. Wow...fruits for breakfast - that's very healthy. I just saw mangosteens and rambutans the other day but hesitated buying because I don't know how to pick them. Hmmm, I should try mangosteen next! :)


happypuppy profile image

happypuppy 5 years ago Author

Thank you, prektjr.dc! The star fruit is so amazing. I love it so much. I'm glad that you find this hub useful. Hope you can find the other fruits at your local grocers. Thanks for the vote!

@Elizabeth - Every time I walk by a fruit stand selling Rambutans, I couldn't refrain from staring at the fruits because they look so interesting! I heard of Jeju Island from the Korean dramas that I watch. Thanks for sharing your encounter!:) Now that I know how it tastes like, I will not be so afraid to try it out.


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

happypuppy, fantastic hub. Great writing, great pictures. Congrats on becoming a hubnugget wannabe.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

Congratulations on your nomination. These look delicious. The only one I've ever seen in person-tasted it too-is the pomegranate. Some of these I had never heard of either.


happypuppy profile image

happypuppy 5 years ago Author

Thanks KoffeeKlatch Gals and FloraBreenRobison!

I just bought a Rambutan (just one piece to see how it tastes first) from the fruit market today...so anxious to try it! :)


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden

Some of the fruits here are familiar but there are also many new. Fantastic fruits, they look both interesting and beautiful. Congratulations on your nomination!

Tina


happypuppy profile image

happypuppy 5 years ago Author

Thanks Tina! I agree, fruits are so beautiful and some are so interesting :) I just added a picture of rambutan - I finally tried it! :) I liked it because it is somewhat like lychee, and it was fun cutting it open. What an amazing fruit!


Iftah Mashav 4 years ago

We sell almost all of these in the Miami FL area. You can place an order on www.fruitfool.com. If you are unhappy we will give you a full refund.


Bob 4 years ago

That's cool


ActorMan vs. Mr. Fame 3 years ago

My favorites exotic fruits on your list are rambutan and mangosteen. I couldn't get enough of "neanderthal nuts&mangosteen the entire 7 yrs. I lived in Bangkok as I often bought then together to snack on. Thank goodness I can still get them here in Oakland,CA's Chinatown.


Giselle 2 years ago

I thank you all who tasted lychees it is the bestest fruit Ever

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