This peculiar fruit has got its name from its resemblance of snakeskin. It is very juicy and has a sweet and sour flavor. It is a popular snack among Thai locals, and they particularly enjoy dipping them a mixture of salt and sugar.
Thailand is one of the world’s largest producers of pineapples. You will see them growing across the country, especially in sandy soil relatively close to the ocean. There are various types. But look for the ‘Siratcha’ variety if possible. They have a larger, flatter diamond patterns on the skin and are sweeter and juicier than the more common ‘Phuket’ variety. Pineapples are a year round fruit. You will find they are also used in some Thai dishes to add natural sweetness.
A delicious year-round fruit and another that is more commonly eaten when green in Somtam, a Papaya salad that you will find in restaurants across the country, rather than when it is ripe. Do not eat the small dark seeds in the centre. This fruit is a good introduction to some of the more exotic ones. The orange or red meat should be soft but not mushy, and full of flavour.
This is one of the most popular tropical fruits in the world, mainly due to its sweet or foul aroma depending on who you ask. They say that you either love or hate the fruit as it has a powerful smell and flavor. Westerners particularly are aghast at the fruit’s aroma which can be smelled from yards away. However, Thais love the fruit’s smell and taste, which has a custard, creamy, smooth texture. Durian or known as “Turian” in Thailand, is a popular aphrodisiac as it has an uncanny ability to increase the body’s temperature.
Mangosteen is called “Mang-Kut” in Thai and considered to be the Queen of Fruits. It is known for its “cooling” effect compared to other Thai popular fruits that have a “heating” effect on the body. The husk or rind is a leathery purple shell and once opened, 4-8 segments of seeds covered in an edible white texture are revealed.
Similar to Durian, but not as bad smelling. Jackfruit has become one of the meat substitutes for many vegans around the world, and it’s available in all countries in Southeast Asia. The high-season for Jackfruits is right after the rainy season in October and November.
Everyone knows coconuts. But again, Thais do things differently. A coconut with thick dry white meat inside the shell is an old coconut. This meat is used in cooking, but not for eating raw.
Thais prefer young coconuts which have thin, soft flesh that can easily be scooped out of the shell with a spoon. It is a bit more bitter and not as ‘coconutty’, but more refreshing. You will also see de-husked coconuts for sale. These will look like a pale brown baseball. They have been on a fire to remove the husks and this also imparts a different flavour.
One of the strangest of Thailand’s fruits. This is a tennis ball sized, pale green fruit with a unique and knobbly skin. It is a bit mushy inside and you will find it has a lot of black seeds, which are not to be eaten. It is not a favourite for many people, but worth trying.