TROPICAL FRUITS OF KOH LANTA
Tropical Fruits of Koh Lanta. Do you associate traveling to or being in a tropical paradise with indulging in copious tropical fruits? Do the vibrant colors, tantalizing smells and crazy textures of exotic organics tempt you to try things even though you have no idea what they are?
Sure, we’re all familiar with the luxurious taste of ripe pineapple, its sweet, sticky juice and tangy acidity and who hasn’t quenched their thirst by biting into a cold and juicy watermelon while enjoying some time on the beach?
But there are many more amazing tropical fruits that can be found at road-side fruit stalls, market places and shops all over Koh Lanta.
Unlike many of their familiar, exported cousins, like mangos and coconuts, that wind up in your everyday super markets all over the globe, don’t let the fact that you can’t recognize these strange beauties discourage you from broadening your palate to include some truly amazing flavors.
To help make your shopping trip a little easier we have put together a short guide to introduce you by name (both English and Thai) to some of these exotic delights, to show you the look of the fruit and help give you an idea of what to expect from some of the natural wonders that abound in every area of Koh Lanta.
The king of the fruits
We’ll start with the “king of fruits,” the big stinker! Yes, durian fruit is famed and loved in Thailand, but be warned: this fruit has a strong odor that many find very difficult to get past. We recommend bravery as its taste is quite uniquely delicious. Durian’s hard, thorny husk is split open to reveal segments of yellowish, creamy flesh.
Large fruits are often cut up and sold in smaller pieces. Though their pungent smell has prompted NO DURIAN signs in hotels and taxis all over Southeast Asia, we do recommend trying some yourself. As for taste…we’ll leave that up to you to discover!
This is another huge fruit – in fact jackfruit is the largest of all fruits that grow on trees. And no worries, its aroma is sweet and subtle, sometimes compared to that of bubble gum! Like durian, jackfruit has a thick, thorny husk. Inside you will find yellow segments of the fibrous fruit-they look like huge teeth. These segments are the part you eat, but watch out for the seeds inside. Jackfruit is so big it is usually sold in pieces and its subtle, sweet flavor is sure to please.
This fruit is a dark purple or red on the outside. It is the size of a small apple but opens to reveal segments of white fruit the size and shape of a tangerine. Many try to guess how many segments their mangosteen will have-usually between 5 and 8, the larger of which may have a seed. This is a sweet and juicy fruit with a tangy, unique flavor.
Dragon fruit/ gae-oh mang gorn
This fruit is also called pitaya and is equally interesting looking on the inside and outside. It has a soft spiny outside that is brightly colored, usually green and pink, in a shape reminiscent of a cactus flower, because in fact it is from the cactus family! Inside you will find white flesh that is speckled with many, many tiny black seeds. This fruit has a very mild flavor and is not juicy, but because of its unique, good looks is always a big hit. The many seeds also give it a crunchy texture which appeals to some.
The name of this one comes from its star shape which is enhanced further and even more impressive when sliced. As a whole, the fruit is long, and its horizontal ridges reveal its inner star when sliced. Its outside is a light green, yellow color with a waxy, edible texture and inside the fruit is lightly acidic and juicy. Star fruit adds beauty and delight to any fruit salad.
Rambutan/ngor, Longan/lam-yai, Lychee/lin-chee
These are 3 cousin fruits with great similarities and so we’ll talk about all 3 together. Each of these grows a lovely little ball at the end of a bunch and each has a similar flavor and texture. All three grow their fruit inside a little pod; once opened the flesh inside is of slimy texture and round shape, similar in look and feel to that of a peeled grape.
Rambutans are golf ball-sized with a slightly bumpy outside that is reddish in color while longans are slightly smaller, smoother and light brown in color. Both rambutans and longans have a somewhat hard exterior.
Lychees look the most different with their softer, red shell that is covered in yellow/green hairs. They also tend to be golf ball-sized. All 3 fruits are sweet and juicy and each has a seed in the middle.
Try all 3 and compare the similarities and differences in taste for yourself!
Although Thailand has been referred to as The Kingdom of 100 Fruits, getting started with 2 or 3 should pique your interest and taste buds into exploring what else is out there. Being so inexpensive, Thai fruits are not only fun to discover, they are a super healthy treat that won’t break your budget. Explore the Tropical Fruits of Koh Lanta.