Asian Fruit: The fruits of Thailand.
South East Asian Fruit
Eaten it? What's your favourite?
Why are you writing about Asian fruit?
There are many weird and wonderful sights ready to astonish you on a voyage to the land of smiles. None more so than the locally sourced super Asian fruits you are sure to encounter at a local market. Always consisting of a mind blowing array of the bizarre, these mini fruit havens are sure to both excite and surprise even the most hardened and well explored of fruit lovers!
A trip to a market anywhere in South East Asian market may be a fruitless exercise to the inexperienced globetrotter; potential becoming somewhat of a chore when discovering the range and variety of deliciousness on offer. Fear not, a useful guide is at hand highlighting some fruits of Thailand, useful when roaming such places.
Outlined here is information about these fruits including nutritional values, price guides based on my experiences and samplings on a regular basis whilst living in Thailand.
Thai Fruit: Jack Fruit
Jack Fruit (Ka-Non) ขนุน
Looking more like a rugby ball hanging from a tree than anything else, this huge fruit can grow up to nearly a metre in length and weigh as much as a small elephant, a slight exaggeration, however a 35kg monster fruit is quite a sight hanging from a tree. The outer shell is hard and needs proper work to get into, a chainsaw preferably.
Apparently this Asian fruit beauty is the national fruit of Bangladesh. So, as well as 'big apple' (New York), the 'big Mango' (Bangkok) and, you can now add the - ahem, the 'big Jack fruit' to your bucket list.
This fruit's texture is again unique. Soft, yet chewy, aromatic and sticky are words that spring to mind. As well as it's sweetness, you'll often find a not so sweet nut spoiling your bad boy banquet. Not edible, be warned.
Nutritional Values: High in Vitamin B-6, magnesium and Vitamin C. Low Fat and only about 100 calories, per 100g. Another super fruit.
Price Guide: Usually a little more on the expensive side. Partly due, one should imagine, to the laborious efforts of the poor souls who have to cut it! 50 - 100 baht.
My personal opinion: Addicted. Love it.
Lover or hater?
Fruits of Thailand: Durian, aka the King of Fruits.
Durian (tu-rean) ทุเรียน
Durian, known as the king of fruits, is the one of the most hotly debated fruits you're likely to come across, comparable to Marmite in the western world.They grow in abundance here in South East Asia and your opinion is sure to be divided the moment you lay eyes on it, or, smell it.
A hard, spikey outer shell can be chopped back to eventually reveal a soft meaty, custard like texture inside; similar to that of nothing comparable in the fruit world! However, an informed decision may not be made purely on a visual basis. Until your nostrils are reached by that truly unique smell, you are sure not to know whether you are actually a lover or hater of the infamous king of fruits!
Nutritional values: High in Vitamin C, no cholesterol and only 147 calories per 100g.
Price guide: 50-100 baht for 200 grams
My personal opinion: Hater * I can’t stand that smell and custard like texture!
Eating options: If you are brave enough, I hear it goes well with lots of things and is strangely considered by some as a delicacy!
Thai Fruit: Mangosteen aka the Queen of Fruits.
Mangosteen (Mangkoot) มังคุด
Where would the King be without the Queen? Mangosteen, affectionately known in Thailand as the queen of fruits, on appearance looks rather uninspiring as far as fruits go. It's dull purple robust exterior soon reveals the opposite in design and taste.
This queen of fruits is loved the country over, and I can see why. Her Royal Highnesses rather crunchy hard shell is nothing more than the traditional myth of Jekyll and Hyde. After getting past it's deceiving alter ego, a brilliant white meat is exposed leaving your palate indescribably satisfied and craving for more! Fear not, when Mangosteen are in season they are cheap, plentiful and well worth the effort getting into!
Nutritional values: High in Vitamin A.
Price guide: Anything from 20-35 baht per kilo. Found in every street market and on every street corner.
My personal opinion: Lover. ***** An unbelievably sweet Thai fruit which is very addictive.
Eating options: Perfect on its own.
*Warning!! The purple residue left behind can leave your prized new knock-off gear stained.
Fruits of Asia: Mango.
Mango (Ma-muang) มะม่วง
Mango to you and me, or, as the Thais know it, Ma-muang. Found throughout most of the year this oval shaped fruit can either be eaten ripe or raw, depending on your sweet or sour preference. Either way, it’s sure to get your mouth tingling! The soft outer skin when ripe is easily peeled back to reveal an even softer inside. When fully ripe, segments of finely chopped mango will melt on your tongue releasing a brilliant flow sweet juice sure to amaze your mouth. Maybe I’m being too biased? Intrigued as to how to conquer cutting this delicate, extremely juicy and altogether messy fruit, I ventured to the market to get some tips from the locals after many failed DYI attempts. Not quite the expert as you can see, but a rough guide on how to.
Price guide: Anything from up to 80 baht for one, depending on the ripeness and time of year.
My personal opinion: Lover J. ***** My favourite Thai fruit.
Another weird and wonderful fruit found all over Thailand, and many parts of Asia when in season. Small round shaped balls, not to dissimilar in size of a ping-pong ball, harbour a very sweet, chewy opaque flesh that melts in your mouth when peeled away from a leathery skin.
A tip from the top; use two fingers to pinch the skin to open. Being of a sticky nature, I usually invariably end up in a mess as my technique isn't quite honed!
Price guide: 30-40 baht per kilo in season.
Nutritional value: High in Vitamin B6 and phosphorous.
Eating options: On it's own