Many travellers are surprised when they encounter the wide range of fruits that aren’t normally available in their home countries. It’s a truly luxurious experience to sit back and enjoy an entirely new kind of fruit, with every fresh and satisfying bite giving you energy.
Some are huge, some are tiny; some are sweet, and some are sour. Here we will focus on just 5 Thai fruits and their benefits, but the following list merely skims the surface of all the varieties of fruit that grows across Southeast Asia.
Season: July - October
Known as ‘longkong’ in Thai, this fruit is consumed by peeling the skin and eating the meat, then spitting out the seeds. Langsat often has golden-yellow skin with brown patches. It has a sweet and slightly sour taste.
Langsats are high in vitamins B and C, and high also in phosphorus. They are credited with preventing fever and reducing internal heat. Furthermore, the antioxidants in longkong can neutralise cell damage from free radicals, protecting the body from cancer-causing elements.
Season: May - September
Known as ‘mungkoot’ in Thai, mangosteens require a solid object or powerful fingers to peel the skin. The white juicy inner flesh is a delight to eat, but the seeds inside should be removed. Mangosteens have dark purple skin, with tasty white meat inside that delivers a sweet and moderately sour taste.
Mangosteens are high in vitamin B and C, as well as fibre and manganese. These vitamins are essential for muscle contraction, wound healing, and immunity. Xanthones found in the fruit provide strong antioxidant properties.
3. Rose apple
Known as ‘chompoo’ in Thai, rose apples are commonly seen in the streets around Thailand. They are not technically related to apples, but their appearance sometimes invites a comparison; they are often shaped like a bell, and have pink or green skin. This skin can be eaten, but the seeds should be thrown away. Rose apples have a soft and sandy texture on your tongue, along with a sweet taste.
Rose apples are high in vitamin A and C, as well as fibre, calcium, and potassium. The fruit also has high water content, helping you stay hydrated on hot days.
Season: May - September
Known as ‘ngor’ in Thai, rambutans are native to Malaysia but commonly found throughout Southeast Asia. The fruit has a thin reddish-orange skin, with soft spines on the surface. The skin and seeds of a rambutan should not be eaten, but the flesh inside is quite tasty. Rambutans have a pleasant, sweet, and slightly acidic taste that resembles a mix between lychee and kiwi.
Rambutans are high in vitamin A and C, as well as calcium and zinc. The fruit also contains phosphor, which detoxifies the kidneys and can also help with dry lips.
Season: August - November
Known as ‘som oh’ in Thai, pomelos are a kind of giant citrus fruit that can weigh up to 2kg. Pomelo rinds are quite thick, but are easy to peel. The fruit inside tastes sweet, with a hint of orange. The inner flesh tastes best when it is juicy – so when selecting pomelos from the market, be sure to pick the heaviest ones.
Benefits of pomelos include: high in vitamin c, vitamin b, and zinc. Calcium presented in pomelo fruits are absorbed by the bones in the body, this strengthens the bone and increases density.
Enjoy rewarding your taste buds with these special fruits – and remember that they make up just a small part of Thai cuisines. You’re certain to find more new items in markets and restaurants around the country, and we encourage you to experiment with even more new ingredients throughout your travels.