Best Thai fruits list
There are many exotic fruits in Thailand and the variety is huge. Most of them you will probably only know as imported fruits, but in Thailand many of them grow naturally. Even on Koh Samui some special fruits like Durian grow in the mountains. You could say Thailand is a fruit paradise and there are many things you should try. To give you a nice overview of some of the most popular fruits we compiled the following article for your holiday on Koh Samui. Check out our Top 15 Thai fruit list:
1. Durian (ทุเรียน=Turien) – Best fruit in Thailand
Durian is called the “king of fruits” and most Asians, and of course Thais, love this fruit. It also probably is the most expensive fruit, which you can buy in Thailand. However, the Durian has one more nickname – stink fruit. Especially with foreigners, that name comes up and it is originated by its intense smell, but that’s a matter of taste. Because of that strong smell, the Durian is often forbidden in hotel rooms or means of public transport.
It’s not easy to describe the actual taste of the Durian if you have never tried it. If you get the chance you should definitely try it at least once. We would describe the taste as a combination of something creamy and pudding. It doesn’t really have the consistence of a fruit. Anyhow, the taste reminds many of a combination of vanilla, caramel and jackfruit. By the way, from the outside a Durian looks prickly and quite often huge.
2. Mangosteen (มังคุด=Mangkut) – Best fruit in Thailand
Unlike durian, the king of fruits, Mangosteen is the queen of fruits. The taste of the fruit is rather sour than sweet, but still not too much like a lime. Mangosteen is said to lower the body temperature and is therefore good if you are having fever. The Mangosteen’s shell looks a little bit like leather and you have to crack it open in order to eat it. If the Mangosteen is ripe and ready to eat the shell should be smooth and shiny.
It is also forbidden in some hotels, but not as much as the Durian. This isn’t because of the smell, but rather the dark color of the shell which can leave some stains. Don’t worry as hard as it seems, the Mangosteen is easy to open, even if you never had one before.
3. Papaya (มะละกอ=Malakor)
Probably the most popular fruit in Thailand, because it is the main ingredient of the famous Som Tam Papaya Salad. For this special salad, an unripe Papaya is used, which you can see by the green color on the outside and the white and harder flesh on the inside.
But there is also another Papaya, a ripe one, which isn’t similar at all to the green one. From the outside, the ripe Papaya is kind of yellow/orange and on the inside, it has some orange flesh. When the Papaya is ripe it is very soft and sweet. Both Papayas you can almost find everywhere in Thailand, in supermarkets, fresh markets and at least the sweet one you can buy at many fruit vendors on the streets.
4. Pineapple (สับปะรด=Sapparot)
Probably everybody knows Pineapples and you can almost find them everywhere in Koh Samui. It’s one of the fruits people hate or love, but most people like it. There are many street vendors selling Pineapple cut in small pieces as well as a whole fruit. You can also buy them in every supermarket or on the many night markets around the island. Furthermore, the Pineapple has some major health benefits like vitamins and antioxidants, which boost the immune system.
The taste is often sweet, but depending on how ripe the Pineapple is, it could also be a little bit sour. However, you can find Pineapple not only as a fruit itself but rather in some dishes like the sweet and sour or fruit shakes and juices.
5. Mango (มะม่วง=Mamuang) – Thai fruit
One of the most well-known fruits of Thailand is the Mango. But there are two different kinds of Mango in Thailand. The yellow and ripe one, which is very soft, sweet and juicy as well as the green unripe Mango, which is popular amongst Thais.
The yellow Mango is used for juices, shakes and the very popular dessert Mango Sticky Rice, which is called Khao Niao Mamuang in Thai. You can find it in almost every restaurant or market around the island of Koh Samui. A must try dish in Thailand.
The green Mango is a famous snack with Thais, mostly bought at the street vendors. The green Mango tastes sour and is combined with a dip of sugar and chili which makes it a very unique taste. It’s not everybody’s taste, but if you get the opportunity, you should try it once.
6. Coconut (มะพร้าว=Maprau)
The Coconut is a symbol of exotic countries, islands and beaches like Thailand. Many islands, as well as Koh Samui, have lots of Coconut plantations and you probably see them already if you arrive by airplane. As there are so many Coconuts on Koh Samui, you can get them quite cheap at street vendors or supermarkets with a price of 20 to 40 Baht. Expect to pay way more in restaurants or bars if you order a fresh Coconut. The taste of the water is very fresh and you can also eat the Coconut meat inside of eat, best with a spoon.
Of course, there are many things apart from the fresh Coconut. There are also roasted Coconuts, Coconut shakes, ice-cream, juices and many more. The variety is great and since the Coconut is pretty healthy it is a really good fruit to have once a day.
7. Watermelon (แตงโม=Taeng Mo)
This fruit is of course known by everybody and really popular. Though in Thailand the shape of a Watermelon can be quite different to the ones you know from Europe for example. Don’t be surprised the taste is as sweet as you are used to. One specialty in Thailand is that you can also find yellow Watermelons. They look actually the same and taste alike, just the color is different. You can find Watermelons like Pineapples, cut in small pieces by street vendors or in shakes and juices. In the heat of Koh Samui, a Watermelon is always refreshing.
8. Rambutan (เงาะ=Ngo) – Best fruit in Thailand
The Rambutan is kind of a hairy fruit; at least it looks like this from the outside. The fruit comes from the Lychee family and some refer to it as the hairy Lychee. In Thailand, the Rambutan is very popular, but you can also find it in the neighboring countries of Vietnam or Malaysia. In the shell is white pulp with the kernel, which is very healthy. The Rambutan contains many vitamins as well as calcium, magnesium and proteins. If you get the opportunity to try it, you should do it. Almost everybody likes the sweet taste.
9. Dragonfruit (แก้วมังกร=Gaew Mangkorn) – Thai fruit
The first thing about the Dragonfruit that’s different is the color. With its bright pink shell, it totally stands out from all the other fruits. In the inside, you can find white flesh which would remind you of a Kiwi, just white instead of green. By the way, it does grow on a kind of cactus. You can eat the fruit quite easy by cutting it in half and just eat the healthy flesh. It has vitamin C, calcium, iron and many more and also has low calories. The perfect fruit to dig into and don’t put on weight.
10. Guava (ฝรั่ง=Farang)
The Guava is not originally from Thailand and was brought to the country by the French. Fun fact: the Thai name for Guava is Farang, which actually means foreigner in Thai. This was probably caused because the name of France is Farangset in Thai. The Guava kind of looks like a green apple, but it is a lot sweeter than that. Thais even like to eat the Guava when it not ripe yet and mix it with a dip of chili and sugar, which makes the taste a combination of sweet and spicy.
11. Jackfruit (ขนุน=Kahnun) – Thai fruit
From the outside, the shell of the Jackfruit looks similar to the Durian, because it can also grow very huge. But as soon as you open it, you will know the difference. The smell is not as strong as the Durian one and quite pleasant.
Inside the shell there are many small and yellow fruits you can eat. They all are located around the huge kernel which makes it easy to take them off. Mostly that’s already done when buying a Jackfruit as you just get the small pieces of the fruit.
The Jackfruit’s taste is a little bit hard to describe. It’s a combination of many tastes, little bit Pineapple, little bit Banana and kind of Vanilla, but still fruity. It’s a really exotic fruit you don’t get to eat every day.
12. Lychee (ลิ้นจี่=Linchi)
The Lychee grows on trees and is related to the Rambutan and Longon fruits. The tree bears small, round fruits and can grow up to 1.5 meters high. Originally the Lychee comes from China, but is now at home in Thailand. As soon as you open the soft shell, you will see the white flesh that tastes very sweet. Inside the fruit is a larger kernel that you should not eat. This is used, however, to plant new Lychee trees. The fruit not only tastes good, it also has many health benefits and is rich in nutrients, antioxidants and vitamin C. It means that if you eat a lot of Lychees you will boost your immune system, your digestive tract and your blood sugar will be regulated.
13. Banana (กล้วย=Gluay)
You most likely know Bananas from back home, but in our supermarkets there is often just one kind of Banana. In Thailand, there is a lot variety of Bananas and they differ in texture and taste. The most Bananas you will see in Thailand are smaller than you are used to and often sweeter. The small ones are actually called Thai Bananas and the big ones, we know from back home, are Cavendish.
But there are also Baby Bananas, even smaller than Thai Bananas, red Bananas and even the Banana flower is used for cooking. Don’t forget the leaves, in Southeast Asia they are used sometimes as plates or even to wrap things inside it. A great plant.
As for eating, you can find Bananas everywhere on Koh Samui on markets, in supermarkets and even convenience stores like 7-Eleven or Family Mart. You can also order Banana juices, shakes or the popular Banana pancakes. Try it, the Banana tastes usually different than you know.
14. Cantaloupe (แคนตาลูป=Cantaloupe)
The Cantaloupe belongs to the genus of melons. Especially at the harvest season in April, they are very popular in Thailand and you can find them on almost all markets. There are basically two different types of Cantaloupe melons in Thailand, one green and one orange.
The difference is that the green Cantaloupe has flesh in a color between green and white, smells very sweet, but does not taste quite as sweet. The orange Cantaloupe, on the other hand, has very soft orange pulp that tastes very sweet. Both are delicious. While the Cantaloupe contains a lot of sugar, you also get plenty of vitamin A and C as well as other ingredients such as calcium or iron, which are added to your body.
15. Longan (ลำไย=Lam Yai) – Unknown Thai fruits
The Longan fruit sometimes referred to as dragon’s eye, is a soap tree plant like the Lychee. The tropical fruit is native to Southeast Asia and resembles the Lychee in many cases. It is also small, round and has white flesh inside with a black core. Hence the name dragon eye, because with a little imagination the Longan looks like this. The taste is similar to the Lychee, but is a little less sweet and also has many nutrients and other benefits. Longan is said to have anti-aging, anti-cancer or anti-inflammatory effects. Partly the fruit is also used in traditional medicine in Asia.
These 15 fruits are a good introduction to the exotic Thailand. Of course you can discover even more fruits on a trip that you may not yet know, such as the Java apple, the Salak or even the Sapodilla. To complete the list would be impossible because there are countless fruits, which you sometimes find only in different regions. But this is a good start to taste Thailand’s exotic fruits.