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Fruits in Thailand

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Exotic Fruits of Thailand

Thai-grown tropical fruits are becoming legendary the world over. Their heady fragrances, ripe colours and succulent flavors have rightfully contributed to the country's burgeoning reputation as one of the world's major culinary hubs.

The Hot Tropical Climate and abundant rainfall in Thailand are ideal for growing a huge variety of fruit which, for range and quality, are among the most diverse and delicious to be found anywhere.

Some Thai fruits are incredibly sweet and juicy. While the taste of other may, at first, seem strange and exotic to visitors, they add a delightful extra dimension to the found in this magical country.

Fresh fruit is popular with Thais as an anytime snack and is eaten as dessert at most meals. It may be served raw, freshly sliced, in salads, or cooked in many different ways The carving of fruit is also a tradition art form, often forming a major decorative element in buffet presentations.

Some fruits are seasonal in Thailand, but there is always a wide choice available, so the visitor is assured of ample opportunity to enjoy a mouth-watering variety.

Banana (Kluey)
Many varieties of banana are grown in Thailand, but the most popular for dessert are kluey hom or kluey kai. Other popular ways of eating bananas are deep-fried in a light coating of batter to make fritters, or as banana cake.

Season: All year

Coconut (Ma-phrao)
Widely available in several varieties. Coconut milk is a refreshing drink and the soft white flesh of the young fruit is delightful as a snack. Coconut flesh and milk is also widely used in Thai cooking.

Season: All year

Custard Apple (Noi-na)
With its distinctive knobbly outer skin, this delicious fruit is pulled apart by hand to reach the soft, sweet pulp inside. The black seeds are discarded.

Season: May to August

Durian (Toorian)
The most charismatic, and known to Asian people as the 'King of Fruits', the durian is about the size of a melon, and covered with hard spikes. Colour ranges from green to yellow. The yellow segmented flesh inside has the consistency of custard and a distinctive taste, with a pungent smell that people either love or hate.

Season: Best from May to July

Green Plum (Put-sar)
Also called crab apple, or jujube, this yellowish-green plum has a crisp texture and a sharp taste.

Season: October to February

Guava (Farang)
This fruit bears the same name as that used to describe a non-Asian person in Thailand. Hard as an unripe apple, with a somewhat tart taste, the guava is best eaten with pinch of salt and sugar.

Season: All year

Jackfruit (Ka-noon)
Huge and sticky, the jack-fruit has concealed within it hundreds of fleshy pieces with a distinctive, sweet taste,. Extracting the segments is always left to the vendor, as it is such a tedious job.

Season: All year

Lychee (Lin-chee)
Highly regarded by Thais, lychees are grown in abundance in the North, but for only a brief period. Small and round, with a hard seed inside, they are easily peeled by hand and are really juicy.

Season: April to June

Mango (Ma-muang)
One of the most popular Thai fruits, with many varieties to be found, mostly yellow and soft to the touch when ripe. Slice open lengthwise, remove the large seed, then scoop out the delicious juicy flesh with a spoon. It is also eaten unripe, in salads.

Season: February to May

Mangosteen (Mangkut)
The hard purple shell conceals a soft pulpy flesh surrounding large seeds. A popular fruit with visitors as well as Thais for its sweet juiciness.

Season: March to November

Marina Plum (Ma-prang)
Peel off its golden yellow skin and a firm, sweet fruit is exposed inside, with a dark seed. Marina plums are often carved because of their firm texture.

Season: March to September

Orange (Som kee-o warn)
Sweeter than those usually found in the West, the Thai orange is hugely popular and is eaten as a between-meals snack, as dessert, or squeezed for the juice. Best enjoyed with pinch of salt.

Season: All year

Papaya (Malakor)
When ripe, the papaya turns and orange colour with streaks of red. The flesh inside is sweet, juicy and full of vitamins. Unripe papaya is used to make a popular spicy salad known as som-tam.

Season: All year

Pineapple (Saparot)
Sweet and juicier than those grown in other countries, the Thai pineapple is reckoned to be the best of them all. The southern variety is smaller, but even tastier. A Pinch of salt enhances the flavour.

Season: All year

Pomelo (Som-oh)
Similar in appearance to the grapefruit, though generally rather larger, the pomelo is much sweeter and may need a touch of salt to bring out the best taste.

Season: All year

Rambutan (Ngo)
Pink and hairy in appearance, the rambutan's skin can be squeezed open by hand or cut with a knife. Inside is a juicy, pale-coloured fruit and a large seed. Cheap and plentiful while in season.

Season: May to October

Rose Apple (Chom-poo)
Shaped like a small, pale green bell, the rose apple has a firm and crunchy inside, similar to a melon, but not so juicy. Several varieties are Available, with most having a rather sharp taste.

Sapodilla (Lumut)
Sweet, but somewhat pungent in taste, the sapodilla is most usually eaten with other fruits as a cocktail. Avoid the hard brown seeds inside.

Not native to Thailand, but now grown widely in northern regions, where the kind climate produces generous crops. Similar in taste and taxture to western varieties

Tangerine (Som)
The Thai tangerine is small-er and has a thinner peel than its western counter-part. It is sweet and delicious and full of vitamins. Squeezed, the juice makes an excellent drink.

Watermelon (Theng-moh)
Big and succulent, Thai watermelons are usually eaten after a spicy dinner, when their delicate taste helps to quench the hot chillies of Thai food. Another type of melon, cantaloupe, is also now widely available. This is smaller and yellow or white inside Both are ideal for decorative carving.

Zalacca (Ra-gam)
The zalacca has a thin red-orange skin over a sweet, but tart fruit inside An acquired taste.

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