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Thai Food

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Fruits of Thailand

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FRUITS OF THAILAND


Thailand has all the fruits you would expect of a tropical country, including many that are familiar to most farangs these days, such as coconut, pineapple and banana. Northern Chiang Mai with its cooler climate now also produces apples, peaches and strawberries, but Thailand has a veritable plethora of exotic fruits to offer, most of which I had never even heard of before I came to Thailand.

These are just some of the most common or simply most bizarre fruits you’ll find in Thailand.

Custard Apple / Sugar Apple

Thai name: noi na
Taste: sweet
Season: June to September

Durian

It is often said the durian tastes like heaven but smells like hell. It is so pungent that it has been banned from public transport in Singapore, something even the Sex Pistols never managed at the height of their infamy!!! Durian has a thick, spiky green skin and yellow flesh. There are many varieties and it can weigh anything between 1 and 5 kg.

Thai name: Toorian
Taste: exquisite
Season: May to August

Dragon Fruit

This introduced fruit is a particular favourite of mine. It is an excellent thirst-quencher, with just the right degree of sweetness.
Thai name: keaw mon korn
Taste: sweet and juicy
Season:

Guava

I’m not sure how the guava came to have the same name as any foreigners of European descent in Thailand, but I will hypothesise that it could be because it is green, slightly plump with white skin, and is to be found in Thailand year round. Or it could be that the French brought it with them. It’s a close call.

Thai name: Farang
Taste: sweet and sometimes mildly sour
Season: all year round

Jackfruit

The jackfruit is a monster of fruits. It weighs in at around 10 kg and looks like it ate all the other fruits. It has a thick green spiky skin for protection from dinosaurs or something, I suppose. Inside, the meat is yellowy orange with many large inedible seeds.

Thai name: Kanune
Taste: mildly sweet but quite dry
Season: January to May but available all year round

Java Apple

Thai name: Chompoo
Taste: sweet
Season:

Lychee

Thai name: linchee
Taste: sweet and mildly sour
Season: April to June

Longan

Thai name: lam yai
Taste: sweet and juicy
Season: June to August

Mango

The mango is possibly the most popular fruit amongst Thais. I thought I had discovered a new fruit on an early visit to Thailand, only to later find out that I was being offered unripe mango. Many Thais prefer it in this sour stage and they eat it with strange dips that include sugar, fish sauce and chillies. When it has ripened, the flesh turns from white to yellow and it is much sweeter. It is often to be found in a local dessert with sticky rice and coconut milk.

Thai name: ma muang
Taste: sour before ripe; sweet when ripe
Season: March to June although available all year round

Mangosteen

Thai name: Mang Koot
Taste: sweet and juicy
Season: May to September

Papaya

Although it is most commonly shredded before ripe and eaten in som tam, it does also occasionally survive long enough to turn into a sweet constituent of fruit cocktails.

Thai name: ma la gor
Taste: sweet
Season: all year round

Rambutan

It is, perhaps, surprising that no-one has come up with a suggestive nickname for these round, red, hairy fruits. Far be it from me to stoop so low. The hard red skin peels away easily to reveal a sweet, succulent white flesh. Watch out for the seeds.

Thai name: Ngoh
Taste: sweet and juicy
Season: May to September

Star Fruit

You know why these are called star fruits? Go on, take a guess.
Thai name: Ma fuang
Taste: sweet
Season:

Tamarind (sweet)

Thai sweet tamarind is, as the name suggests, much sweeter and less sour than other varieties.

Thai name: Ma Kawn Warn
Taste: sweet and sour
Season:



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