Everywhere you go in Thailand, you will be met with plenty of fruit stands in almost every corner. The bright colors and shapes of these exotic fruits will attract your attention and call you to stop in your tracks and take your senses in their sweet aroma and delicious flavors.
Thailand is blessed with a hot tropical climate and fertile plains – which make for the perfect land and environment to grow just about any kind of fruit available to man.
When you find yourself in Thailand, you must never leave your vacation without trying these exotic fruits:
Mango also known as “Ma-Muang”. One of the most well-known fruits in Thailand, there are so many varieties of the delicious, refreshing mango and a few different ways of eating it. When ripe, it can be halved and eaten with a spoon, while many choose to enjoy it with sticky rice and coconut milk (Khao Niew Ma-muang). Others like to eat it half-ripe and dip the crunchy slices in sugar.
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.
“Gratawrn” is probably the weirdest fruit in the list and if you want to try it you’ll probably have to visit several street markets, it’s a bit hard to find . It’s sweet and creamy and in Thailand is often used as an ingredient in som tam. when still not fully ripe.
Santol’s other name – the cotton fruit – comes from its fluffy white edible portion surrounding the seed. Its texture is spongy, and, like a mangosteen, the flesh never separates from the seed entirely.
Sucking the flesh emits a milky, creamy, sweetish juice loved by most who try it. Offsetting the sweet juice are tart, floral, citrus and vinous notes. If the fruit is not fully ripened, expect a bitter taste.
Called “NgoR” in Thai, this tiny red fruit is covered with “hairs” and when cracked open by squeezing it between your palms, reveals a seed covered with a white and translucent texture. This one is one of our favorite fruits.
You eat the fruit by chewing off the white texture off the seed, giving you a sweet and cool flavor with a mildly acidic taste.
The most impressive health benefits of rambutan include its ability to aid in weight loss, improve the appearance of the skin, optimize digestion, strengthen the bones and boost energy metabolism, among others.
The other name is “Ma-Prao”. One of the most nutritious fruits in Thailand, coconuts are available all year round and are known well for their refreshing water.
Fresh coconut juice has more vitamin C than orange juice! Happily, someone else will wield something machete-esque to cut the coconut open. Drink the juice and then use the provided spoon to scoop out the sides.
The meat can be mixed with coconut water or eaten separately. Coconut milk is made when the meat is grated and mixed with water. Coconut oil is also popular for frying food, for cosmetics, medicine, and even bio-fuel. A lot of dishes are also made with coconut milk, which is a staple in many Southern Thai foods.
Tamarind or “Ma Kam” is a real combination of sweet and sour. It’s generally sour, but not like a lime or a lemon. The pulp has a very strong sour taste accompanied with good amount of sweetness. It can be turned into drinks or candies. In Thai cooking, tamarind is used for a variety of dishes, like Pad Thai and others.
Guava or “Falang” in Thai is best eaten unripened. Guavas are seldom found in Thailand and make them a rare commodity. They are best eaten raw with salt and provides a refreshing and filling snack.
Guava is a popular snack, sold on many street corners and night markets during hot weather, accompanied by packets of dried plum powder mixed with sugar and salt for dipping. Guava juice is popular in many countries. The fruit is also often included in fruit salads.
Because of its high level of pectin, guavas are extensively used to make candies, preserves, jellies, jams and marmalades, and as a marmalade jam served on toast.
This interesting- looking fruit known as “Gao Mung Gorn” in Thailand is called Dragonfruit because its rind resembles that of a dragon’s exteriors. It grows off the long arms of a cactus plant and when opened, reveals a fuschia colored texture packed with black seeds.
The taste of the Dragon Fruits is very faint, just slightly sweet with seeds like in kiwis. Most common variety comes with white flesh but the red flesh is sweeter.
Gac fruit is another fruit you should try when traveling in Thailand even if it’s not that popular among Thai fruits. In fact, it is really hard to find it on the street. Gac fruit is rich in the antioxidants beta-carotene, lycopene. It is also known in the world as the best fruit to supply vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
Very popular all over Thailand. Thai Pineapple “Sap-Pa-Rot” known as is sweeter and has more flavour than other pineapples. Often served complimentary after dinner, it usually comes with a mix of chili and salt. Don’t underestimate how good Pineapple is and don’t miss a chance to try it!
Jackfruit or Durian
Known as “Khanoon” in Thailand, jackfruit is available from January to May every year.
Durians are called the ‘King of Fruits’ by those who obviously love it. Among the many known varieties availaible, some can be really smelly, but the best ones are not as pungent. You love it or you hate it, it’s that simple.
The Thai Tangerine is deceptive. Due to its green skin it looks unripe. Trust me. It’s not. “Som Kiew-Waan” are sweet. Really sweet. They’re exactly like the tangerines you’re likely familiar with, but the flavors are way more intense. If you want to make fresh juice, they’re a perfect fruit.
Papaya or “Ma-La-Gor” is another universally known tropical fruit. It’s rich in Vitamins A and C and calcium. There are two types of papaya – sweeter fruit with yellow inside and green papaya which is a very popular ingredient for Thai papaya salad – Som Tam. You’ll find plenty of papayas at various markets because they are cultivated throughout Thailand.
The pomegranate or “Tab Tim” is a wonderful fruit. It is packed with hundreds of small seeds. It has a fresh, sweet taste. Pomegranate can be eaten raw and can be juiced. Try fresh pomegranate juice which can be easily found on every street corner in Thailand.
Thailand’s rich soil imparts watermelons also known as “Tangmo” here with a delicious flavour. Found in a rich ruby-red and more unusually a golden yellow colour, they are often used as the centrepiece for fruit carving due to the intricate designs that can easily be made using the fruit’s thick, green rind. You’ll find that its thrown liberally into blenders to make delicious, refreshing drinks.
Snake Fruit or “Salak” the creepy name comes from pattern of the hard, brittle shell, but crack it open to reveal white lobes of flesh that deliver a burst of sweet and sour flavours, and a lot of acidity. The small seeds are inedible but can easily be eaten around. Salak help to cure diarrhea! Apart from that salak treat indigestion stomach.
It’s a popular snack among Thai locals, and they particularly enjoy dipping them a mixture of salt and sugar.
Rose apple or “Chom poo”, sometimes called a wax apple or a rose pear, is one of fruits that you will miss after leaving Thailand. The flavor and texture of rose apple can surprise you. It has a smooth texture, is spongy and juicy. You can eat it all, there’s no need to peel it. It is often eaten in Thailand with salt and sugar.
“Noi Na”is the light green and about the size of a tennis ball, the flesh of this knobby textured fruit is, much like custard, best eaten with a spoon. The sweet tasting meat contains tiny black seeds. The flesh closest to the skin can be a little bitter, as is the central spine, so avoid this area if you prefer sweeter fruit.
Pomelo also known as “Som-O”. Pomelo is one of many delicious tropical fruits that you must taste. The flesh of pomelo is juicy and sweet and sour.
Similar in size and taste to grapefruit, the meat of the pomelo is succulent. Available all year round there are many varieties varying from pale yellow to orange or red.
Also known as “La-Mut”. The fruit has brownish skin and almost reminds of potatoes.
The main season for Sapodillas is from September to December. If you visit during this period, make sure to try a ripe and fresh Sapodilla, they are very tasty!
The unattractive skin of this fruit masks the soft, succulent honey flavoured flesh to be found within. A knife is used to carve away the skin, and in Thailand you’ll often find it carved into decorative shapes. A definite favourite.
“Sao-Wa-Ros” an egg-shaped tropical fruit that is also called a purple granadilla, the passion fruit has a brittle, wrinkled purple-brown rind enclosing flesh-covered seeds, something like a pomegranate.
The seeds are edible so you can eat the orange pulp straight from the shell. Passion fruit is more commonly sieved and its highly aromatic pulp and juice are used as a flavoring for beverages and sauces. The pulp has an intense aromatic flavor, while the texture is jelly-like and watery. The flavor is likened to guava.
In Thailand Passion fruit season is all year round!
This peculiar fruit is considered to bring luck. The tree it grows on is called Lucky tree, and they are very common in Thai gardens.
The fruit is eaten fresh, and is sometimes used as flavoring for other dishes, it is generally regarded as too tart to eat by itself in its natural form and is processed further. It is candied in sugar or pickled in salt, used in chutney, relish or preserves.
Locally, the fruit is known as “Mayom”.
Lychee or “Lin-Jee”may be confused with Longan by some people as the taste is somewhat similar, but juicier. The outer appearance is different as it has bright pink peel. It has a soft skin that separates easily from the flesh.
You can try lychee drinks, canned lychee, and lychee candies besides the fresh fruit.
Longan also known as “Lam-Yai” is a popular Thai fruit in the northern part of Thailand. It has brown outer shell. Inside it has white sweet pulp and big brown seed, just like Lychee.
The Longan is similar to Lychee and Rambutan on the inside but is typically sweeter and softer as well as easier to peel. The flesh is juicy and tastes very similar to lychee or grapes.
In Chiang Mai, there’s even a pink Longan, and you will find these readily available all over the country.
A sweet snack similar to Longanor “Long Kong”, the Langsat is famous for its health benefits. The skin can be used to repel against mosquitoes.
Basically, Langsat is a superfruit, and to eat it all you have to do is to squeeze gently and its skin will open and let the fruit out. However, it’s very popular and the demand for langsat in Southeast Asian countries is far beyond supply. An excellent thirst quencher, its flesh falls away into five segments and is best eaten raw.
WHERE TO BUY THESE FRUITS
The local market is the best place to buy Thai fruits. Most supermarkets will have a variety of local fruits available, but the best prices and quality can be found in the traditional markets where the locals get their fruits and vegetables.
Most cities have several local markets, and many of them open early in the morning. Avoid markets in touristy areas if possible, and don’t be afraid to haggle about prices. The more fruit you buy, the better price you can get.
It’s a common practice to haggle, and many sellers also ask higher prices from foreigners unless they know them.
Let us know if you have any questions in the comments.