One of the great perks of living in Thailand is the accessibility to a cuisine that bears succulent flavours and an boundless number of dishes. Thailand is also blessed with a wide variety of fruits, many of which remain in season throughout the year. Visitors to Thailand will find that exotic fruits are plentiful, diverse, inexpensive and so delicious everywhere you go in the country.

A combination of factors have contributed to Thailand’s fertile grounds for good quality and a high quantity of fruits. While the tropical climate is certainly favourable to the growth of vegetation, fertile soil and the comparative length of Thai territory- which extends into the sub tropical zone as well as in the cooler northern regions- makes it possible to grow fruits native to higher latitudes. In addition, there has been a continued effort to improve the quality of fruits by scientific methods.

In this article, we will introduce you to several kinds of Thai fruit that are commonly found in and around the country. If you are here in Thailand for the first time, many fruits you have never seen before may look strange, but they are worth a try!

 

Custard Apple (Soursop)

Although it does not look much like an apple, the custard apple can be recognised by its knobby exterior and light green appearance. A sweet fruit with many seeds, it is said to be an anti-oxidant with powers to strengthen your ability to find infection and disease.

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Dragon Fruit (Gaew Mang-Gon)

Originally from Central America, this bright pink fruit carries a similar texture to a kiwi fruit. While its white and dotted flesh is rather bland in taste, the dragon fruit makes for a great palate cleanser after  a spicy, flavourful meal.

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Durian 

Surely one of the most controversial fruits on earth, Durian is a unique tasting fruit and to its critics, has an extremely putrid aroma that can be smelt from a distance. It is one of the most expensive of all Thai fruits and actually banned in some public places.

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Guava (Farang)

Guava is consumed in many forms in Thailand, most popularly enjoyed in ripe crunchy chunks alongside salt, sugar, and chilli.

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Lychee (Linjee)

Smaller than a golfball, this bright red fruit is bursting with vitamin C. Underneath an inedible rough rind, the white flesh of a lychee is very sweet. While the fruit is only available a few months of the year, it is easily canned and served as part of desert year-round.

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Mango (Ma-Muang) 

One of the most well known fruits in Thailand, there are many varieties of mango and a few different ways to enjoy eating it. When ripe, it is often found in conjunction with sticky rice and coconut milk (Khao Niew Ma Muang). Half-ripe mango is also enjoyed in crunchy slices and with sugar.

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Mangosteen (Mung-Kut)

A bizarre looking fruit containing sections of white flavourful flesh. The number of sections found inside the fruit match the number of petals found at the bottom of the shell.

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Papaya (Ma-La-Kaw)

A delicious year round fruit full of flavour and offering a tremendous amount of health benefits. Papaya is also commonly shredded when unripe and mixed with lemon juice, chillies, peanuts, and dried shrimp to make Som Tum, a popular salad.

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Pomelo (Som-o)

A giant citrus native to South East Asia that resembles a sweet, mild grapefruit. There are a few different varieties ranging in sweetness and bitterness which are discernible from the color of their flesh.

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Rambutan (Ngor)

Its name is derived from the malay world ‘ramjet’ meaning hair- as the fruit is covered in yellow spiky hairs. Beneath the skin reveals a firm, white translucent flesh, something Thai people are especially adept at delicately carving out from its large seed.

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Rose Apple (Chom poo)

Shaped like a small pear, the rose apple is found in red, pink, and green varieties. You will often find this fruit being eaten Thai-style with pinches of sugar and salt which brings out its crisp, refreshing tate. It is also nice when mixed with shrimp and eaten in a spicy salad.

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Tamarind (Ma-Kahm)

Cultivated and preserved in many ways, tamarind is a staple ingredient in many Thai dishes. It is also just as flavourful when eaten raw. There are many varieties of tamarind. The reddish-brown pods hold several large seeds encased by moist, sticky, dark brown flesh that vary from being very sweet to very sour.

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Coconut (Ma Praow)

Among the most versatile of fruits, the coconut is actually a seed of the coconut tree with many many uses. While the water of the coconut is more hydrating than water, coconut milk- processed from grated coconut and mixed with warm water- is a staple ingredient in Asian cooking. The coconut husk is used as a potting medium for plants and as a mattress stuffing. Palmwood from the trunk is increasingly used in furniture and to make bridges due to its water and salt resistance. Coconut oil extracted from the coconut meat is a high quality oil used in cosmetics, medicines, and bio-fuels.

As a drink, the coconut is usually prepared as a “young coconut” or as a roasted coconut (Ma Praow Pao).

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The list of Thai fruits continues (with Jackfruit, Gooseberry, Longan) and we even have our own variety of Tangerine! Let your guard down and try something new this holiday season!