1 – Mango
Mangos are without question, the best! (in our opinion)) When venturing through Thailand you’ll find many a vendor selling Mango in a wide variety of forms.
You can indulge in a fresh Mango smoothie on the beach to help alleviate that nasty hangover; you can enjoy them at their finest when ripened to perfection and as succulent as can be; or if you’re feeling a little bit crazy and want to try it “Thai-style,” you can have them un-ripened for a sour flavour best enjoyed with salt and spices.
2 – Coconut
Coconut. Needless to say, we love it, which is why it’s sat at number two. And not only is it one of the most nutritious tropical fruits, but they’re available all-year-round, and the oil can be used for cosmetics, frying food, medicine, and even biofuel! You could say that they’re a wonder-fruit that can be found in a wide variety of dishes, both sweet and savoury.
3 – Banana
Who doesn’t love the Banana? Certainly, it’s not the most exciting of fruits as they’ve been readily available all over the world for many years now, however, they are delicious! That, and in Thailand, they have a stunning variety called Gluay Hom, and Gluay Khai. In addition to being a delicious snack, you’ll find that many restaurants use banana leaves for wrapping fish and chicken for grilling.
4 – Rose Apple
Rose Apples (AKA Chom-Poo), resemble tiny red apples, though are bell-shaped. These offer a very similar texture to apples, but they are much, much sweeter. You can either eat these raw, with salt or find them mixed into a succulent, spicy salad!
5 – Dragon Fruit
Not only does the Dragon Fruit (AKA Gao Mung Gorn) have the coolest name by a long stretch, but they look amazing as well. They get their name from the rugged exterior which looks similar to the scaled hide of a fearsome dragon. That said when opened a treasure trove of fuchsia coloured fruit packed with black seeds is revealed. The flavour is often described as being a “sugar-free” strawberry—a must-try tropical delight!
6 – Mangosteen
Mangosteen (AKA Mang-Kut) is said to be the Queen of Fruits, which we’ll leave for you to decide. This cooling and refreshing effects that this fruit has on the body is what truly sets it apart, as the rest of the tropical fruits in Thailand are said to have a “heating” effect on the body. When you crack open the purple leathery shell, 4-8 segments with a delicious white texture are revealed. Am I the only one with “Ra Ra Mangosteen” stuck in my head?
7 – Guava
The Guava (AKA Falang) is a fruit that is seldom found in Thailand, making it a truly rare treat. These are best consumed when they’re un-ripened (you guessed it, with salt & chilli).
8 – Jackfruit
The Jackfruit (AKA Khanoon) is available in Thailand, from January through to May every year, making them a delightful seasonal treat. These are often the size of a watermelon and can weigh up to 80 pounds, each containing dozens of delicious yellow seeds. The flavour is compared to pineapple, though not as juicy.
9 – Lychee
These little golf-ball sized fruits have a white texture that enshrouds a single seed. They’re available from March through to June (unless you’re buying tinned lychees) and can be found in all-manner of delicious smoothies. Just be sure not to bite in too hard as you’ll end up cracking your teeth on the stone-seed inside!
10 – Rambutan
From the outside, Rambutan look like hairy lychees! Then, when cracked, a very similar white-textured fruit is revealed on the inside. You have to bite and peel off the outside layer of the fruit, which reveals a sweet and refreshing flavour with mild acidity. It is said that the very best Rambutan hail from Surat Thani, where they were first planted in 1926. There you go, a little bit of history for you!
11 – Pomelo
Pomelo (AKA Som-O) is a large and heavy citrus fruit that can often grow up to the size of a basketball! When opened, a large number of pale-red segments are revealed. Depending on the ripeness of the fruit, a sweet or sour flavour can be achieved, again, often fused with salt & chilli condiments.
12 – Durian
Phew! Can you smell that? Yup! That would be the Durian. Much like the coconut, this is another “Marmite” of the fruit world, as it has a terribly overpowering aroma. Some people think it’s sweet (crazy people), other’s find it to be utterly foul. That said, if you can see past the smell (you know what I mean), then you’ll be able to enjoy a truly unique flavour. The fruit has a custard, creamy, smooth texture, and is known to be an incredibly popular aphrodisiac—Oo-err!
Sure, there are many other fruits available, but these are a must-try variety if you’re hailing from the west. Naturally, you can pick up plenty of fresh pineapple and watermelon, but if you want to try something a little unusual, then you should pick any one of the exotic tropical fruits on the list.
What have we missed? Let’s hear about your favourite fruits in the comments below!