Thailand’s tropical climate makes it possible for a plethora of different fruits to grow in abundance here year-round. Besides being refreshing and delicious, the fruit is also affordable. Visitors can expect to pay as little as ฿20 (about US$.60) for an entire bag of these delicious treats. Here, the top 10 strange yet tasty fruits you need to try in Thailand.
Rambutan – ngoh
Rambutan’s exterior is the most interesting of all the fruits on our list. It has a bright pink shell with neon green, hair-like fringe growing out from its core. A large pit sits at its center, so be sure to cut this fruit open and remove it before devouring the vibrant fruit. The tree the fruit grows on originated in Thailand’s southern neighbor of Malaysia. Regardless, the Kingdom is the largest manufacturer of rambutan in the world. It is for this reason that rambutan is found in every region of the country. It is best devoured from May-September.
Dragon fruit – gael mangon
Thailand’s heat can oftentimes be unbearable. Dragon fruit is here to refresh visitors to the country, however. Like rambutan, dragon fruit has a bright pink exterior with accents of green on its leaves. Contrary to its outer shell, dragon fruit is normally white in color. Its insides are also spotted with tiny black seeds. Its interior can also be pink depending on the type of cacti it grew on. Many would describe dragon fruit as bland, but we rather enjoy it.
Mango – ma muang
You have likely devoured mango at some point in your life. Mango around the world hails in comparison to those found in Thailand, however. Visitors can enjoy this fruit when mixed in a smoothie or on its own and cut into fresh slices. Mango is also the main ingredient of the Kingdom’s most coveted dessert: mango with sticky rice, or kow neeyao ma muang. The mango is sliced and put over warm sticky rice before being drizzled with sweet, coconut milk. The best mango grows in April, Thailand’s hottest month.
Mangosteen – mung koot
Simultaneously sweet and sour yet full of juicy flavor are mangosteens. These are not to be confused with the last fruit on our list. The fruit is purple in color with a green stem, and it is one of the most craved fruits in Thailand. Prepare to get messy when devouring this fruit. The only way in which to eat it is to peel back its vibrant exterior and delve right in. Mangosteens are also known as the ‘Fruit of the Gods’ and the ‘Queen of the Fruits.’
Longan – lumyai
Out of all the fruits on our list, this one is the most unrecognizable to first-time visitors to the Kingdom. These beige colored fruits have tough shells but are juicy on the inside. Entire bags of this fruit can be purchased for under US$1. This fruit also has some health benefits, for example, it is rich in iron. It grows well in Northern Thailand during the rainy season.
Jackfruit – kanon
Jackfruit is one of the most recognizable fruits on our list. Its exterior is light green, but that is not what makes it interesting. Instead, it is its small, pointed cones that protrude from its already bulky shape that makes visitors hesitant to try it in the first place. It is believed to have been brought to Thailand from India and spread to the rest of Southeast Asia, and it is one of the largest fruits in the world. It is similar to durian, another fruit coming up on our list. The inside of the fruit is golden yellow and thick in texture. Many believe that jackfruit will soon be used as a faux meat substance for vegetarians and vegans.
Guava – farang
Guava in Thai is farang, which is the same word Thais use when referring to foreigners. Many locals get a kick when a foreigner is seen eating a guava: a farang eating a farang. This fruit is fairly bland in taste, though some visitors cannot seem to get enough of it.
Rose apple – chompoo
Rose apple is not our favorite of fruits, but many people rather enjoy its water-ridden taste. It is native to Southeast Asia and is believed to have many health benefits. The crunchy fruit most resembles apples. Apples are also found in Thailand, though they are certainly not as unique.
Durian – toorian
We saved the most intimidating of fruits for the end of our list. Durian has been dubbed the ‘King of the Fruit,’ and it is certainly the most daunting of them all. It is commonly found at many of the food markets around Thailand, and the locals simply cannot get enough of this potent fruit. Its shell is made up of sharp points and a large brown stem. Its insides are mushy with a smell so strong it is banned from many public places in Southeast Asia. People have compared its potent smell to sweaty feet and rotten sewage, amongst other unpleasant aromas. Try it if you dare!
Lychee – linchi
Last but not least is lychee. Bright pink in color, lychee is one of the sweetest eats in Thailand. It is used in drinks found throughout the country, though it is just as delicious when eaten in its fruit form. Its exterior is in stark contrast to its white interior, which is sweet and soft in texture. The fruit is believed to have been brought to Thailand by Chinese traders some hundreds of years ago. The fruit grows best from the middle of March to June. These are the prime months in which visitors should try to devour this fruit.