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A Guide to Thai Fruit (Thai name is in parentheses)
Thai people love to eat fruit! We eat it with nearly every meal and it's available on the street everywhere. So many different varieties of fruit are available in Thailand; for example, I believe we have over 20 different varieties of banana alone! Much of the fruit we enjoy in Thailand is now available in the US. Lychee and longan are now being grown in Florida and mangoes are imported from Mexico, Central America and South America. In addition, some fruit is imported from Thailand (in frozen form) such as durian, longan, lychee, rambutan, and mangosteen. Much of the fruit we eat is available in cans or jars from Thailand, too.
Ataulfo Mango (Ma Muang in Thai) Longan fruit (Lum Yai in Thai) Lychee Fruit (Linchi in Thai)
Mangoes (Ma-Muang) are one of the favorite fruits in Thailand! The variety shown above, ataulfo (also called champagne), is available in the spring (imported from Mexico). Longan (Lum Yai) is a favorite Thai fruit. The flesh is translucent (the seed is visible). Longan has a unique taste that's somewhat similar to grapes, but more exotic! Lychee (Linchi) fruit tastes a little bit like a pear, but it's sweeter and juicier! The flesh is white/pink and there's a seed in the middle.
Ripe Papaya (malagaw sook in Thai) Durian fruit Guava fruit (farang in Thai)
Ripe Papaya (Malagaw sook in Thai) Durian fruit opened Guava fruit opened
Ripe Papaya (Malagaw sook) is eaten both when the fruit is ripe and when it's still green in Thailand. Ripe papayas are a favorite fruit and the flavor is somewhat similar to ripe persimmons. Durian (Tu-rian) is sometimes called the king of fruits. Unique in appearance, the smell of durian has been described as stinky and the fruit has a texture like pudding, with a rich flavor like no other fruit! Guava (Fa-rahng) resembles an apple and has tiny seeds inside. The taste is more like a crunchy pear than an apple. Guava fruit is used to make juice.
Jackfruit (kanoon in Thai)
Rambutan fruit (makok num in Thai)
Rambutan (Ng-ock) is a bright red fruit with hairs on the outside. The flavor is similar to lychee fruit and there is a seed in the middle. Breadfruit (Sah-kaay) tastes like potato and the outer skin resembles that of the jackfruit. Breadfruit is usually eaten as a dessert by boiling it in sugar and topping with coconut cream. Jackfruit (Kanoon) looks like a durian, but the fruit has banana and pineapple flavors. The yellow fruit sections encase the seeds (which can be boiled and eaten as a snack).
Mangosteen (Mongkut) is a reddish-purple colored fruit that appears to be wearing a festive hat! The flavor is a sweet and sour cross between an apple and a pear. Noy Naong is similar in flavor to a very sweet, juicy pear. The ripe fruit can be scooped out with a spoon and eaten like pudding. Jujube (Phut Saa) is also known as Chinese Date. They're picked unripe and eaten with dipping sauce.
Thai Banana (Kluay Num Wah in Thai)
Star Fruit (Ma Phueng in Thai)
Baby Banana (Kluay Kai in Thai)
Thai bananas (Kluay Num Wah) resemble plantains, but the flavor is much sweeter. They should be eaten when the skin is yellow.
Star fruit (Ma-phuang), also called carambola, is a star-shaped fruit that has a subtle, citrusy flavor.
Baby bananas (Kluay Kai) are usually about 3-4 inches in length and are much sweeter tasting than regular bananas.
Sweet Tamarind (makaam waan in Thai) Persimmon (Luke Pawp in Thai)
Golden Apple (Makok Num in Thai)
Persimmon (Luke Pawp) resembles a tomato in shape and tastes like a medium-sweet papaya (not quite ripe). Persimmons are usually eaten when firm and are crunchy in texture.
Golden Apple (Makok Num), tastes somewhat like a crabapple and is eaten before it ripens, usually with dipping sauce Sweet Tamarind (Makaam Waan) has a taste similar to prunes or dates and is eaten as a snack. Tamarind is used as a flavoring in sour soups such as Tom Yum.
Medium Coconut (Ma Prow Tuen Tueng in Thai) Coconut (Ma Prow Gae in Thai)
Medium coconuts (Ma Prow Tuen Tueng) are picked between green young coconuts and brown coconuts. The meat is usually used for desserts. Coconuts (Ma Prow Gae) are available in some Asian markets. The coconut must be cracked open and the meat is removed (that's what coconut milk and cream is made from)
Long Kong is similar to Longan, though it is more complex in flavor, with both sweet and sour notes. It's not typically available in Asian markets locally.
Young Coconut (Ma Prow On in Thai) dragon fruit
Dragon fruit (also called Pitaya) is fruit of a cactus plant. The flesh looks like that of a kiwi and is typically scooped-out with a spoon.
Young coconuts (Ma Prow On) are available in Asian markets. The juice is removed (usually with a straw) and the meat that's left is very delicious and can be used in desserts.
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