December 10, 2018

Video #49 | August 16, 2018

In this video I’m going to let you know when 21 popular Thai fruits are in-season. Thailand fruit season is useful information to know, as most Thai fruits taste way better when they’re in-season.

Note. You can get most of the 21 fruits all year round. However, if fruit in Thailand is sold out-of-season it will likely be grown under artificial conditions, and more pesticides will have to be used.



Click on the following link to check out more on Important Advice For New Visitors.

#VIDEO TRANSCRIPT#

Welcome to the forty-ninth video of Bangkok Unmasked! The YouTube channel that helps you get the most out of your visit to Bangkok city! If you’re new here, please consider subscribing! In this video I’m going to let you know when 21 popular Thai fruits are in-season. Thailand fruit season is useful information to know, as most Thai fruits taste way better when they’re in-season.

Note. You can get most of the 21 fruits all year round. However, if fruit in Thailand is sold out-of-season it will likely be grown under artificial conditions, and more pesticides will have to be used.

I’m going to include the Thai script for the names, so you can copy them down and request the fruit at your local fruit stall!

The quality and availability of fresh fruit is something that most visitors love about Thailand. Sitting on a beach, or swimming pool, with a fresh coconut is heaven. Mango and sticky rice for dessert is even better!

Unfortunately, a good number of visitors don’t get beyond mangoes and coconuts, and perhaps a bit of papaya or dragon fruit from their hotel’s buffet.

Let’s get started!

#1. Rambutan – Ngoh / เงาะ

Thailand fruit season: May – September

If you have the chance to eat this fruit in season, you must try it. Some people say that the flavor is between that of apricot and pineapple. In my opinion Rambutan tastes more like a dry, but not dried litchi with little to no juice.

This crazy looking fruit is native to the Malay peninsula and has been around since prehistoric times!

Rambutan can be peeled with a simple thumb squeeze to reveal the white fruit inside. As with many other Thai fruits, be careful not to swallow the large seed in the center of the fruit.

#2. Dragon Fruit ­– Gaew Mangon / แก้วมังกร

Thailand fruit season: Year-round

Dragon fruit doesn’t really have much taste. The best way I can describe it is similar to a white kiwi – in terms of both consistency and flavor. It’s usually not very sweet and tends to be somewhat bland, though crunchy due to the many little black seeds.

Dragon fruit is actually a type of cactus. The fruit comes in three colors. Two have pink skin, but with different colored flesh (one white, the other red). The other type has a yellow skin with white flesh.

When ripe enough the skin is easily torn open, otherwise slice lengthways and squeeze the fruit from its skin.

#3. Durian / ทุเรียน

Thailand fruit season: April – August

Durian is dubbed the ‘King of Fruits‘ by many people in Southeast Asia. When ripe it stinks. Really stinks. Even when my wife puts durian in Tupperware, it still makes the fridge stink. Food writer Richard Sterling was bang-on-the-money when he wrote; “its odor is best described as…turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock.” The late Anthony Bourdain wrote; “indescribable, something you will either love or despise…Your breath will smell as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother.”

Once you get past the smell, the taste will not be as expected. Durian is a strange combination of savory, sweet, and creamy all at once. Durian is supposed to have subtle hints of chives mixed with powdered sugar. To me it tastes like diced garlic and caramel poured into whipped cream.

Durian comes in many different varieties, with Morn Thong, Kan Yao and Chanee being the most commonly purchased.

The fruit is housed in a hugely stalked, pendulous skin, and the fruit seated in a capsule that is split into 3 to 5 segments. Each segment contains l to 5 seeds, each of which is embedded in a sweet, rich and creamy pulp.

#4. Jackfruit – Khanoon / ขนุน

Thailand fruit season: Year-round

When ripe, the jackfruit’s taste is comparable to pear, pineapple, banana and papaya. It’s a very filling fruit. Note. I must warn you not to eat too much of it as it really makes your throat dry and ‘scratchy’.

Jackfruit is found widely throughout Thailand. Enormous and prickly on the outside, jackfruit can be huge with a very thick skin. They look somewhat like durian, though much larger. I have heard that jackfruit can reach 36 kg in weight, and up to 90 cm long! Once a jackfruit is cracked open, what you will find inside are pods or ‘bulbs’. Often referred to as the seeds, these bulbs are actually a kind of fleshy covering for the true seeds or pits, which are round and dark like chestnuts.

The fleshy part (the ‘bulb’) can be eaten as is or cut up and cooked. When unripe (green), it is remarkably similar in texture to chicken, making jackfruit an excellent vegetarian substitute for meat. In fact, canned jackfruit (in brine) is sometimes referred to as ‘vegetable meat’.

I wouldn’t try to open up a jackfruit yourself as it’s a very labor-intensive task to extract the fruit. Buy packaged jackfruit at the market instead!

#5. Custard Apple – Noi Nah / น้อยหน่า

Thailand fruit season: June – September

The taste of a custard apple has been described as like sweet custard mixed with cooked apple or pear flesh. The flesh closest to the skin can be a little bitter, as is the central spine, so avoid these areas if you prefer sweeter fruit.

Custard apple is grown everywhere in Thailand, and easy to come by at local stalls. To eat, divide the fruit into two with your hands and scoop out the soft pulpy flesh with a spoon.

#6. Mangosteen – Mung Koot / มังคุด

Thailand fruit season: May – September

Mangosteen is a must-eat fruit in Thailand! The flavor is a combination of strawberry, peach and vanilla ice cream. The white flesh is very sweet with a very slight tartness. Note. The tartness is caused by the thick skin that tightly encases the fruit. Mangosteen is known in Thailand as the ‘queen of fruits’ due to its extensive health benefits.

The purple skin is best removed by making an incision down the middle and parting with your fingers to reveal the snow-white flesh. Larger segments will likely contain seeds that cannot be eaten.

#7. Mango – Ma-Muang / มะม่วง

Thailand fruit season: April – June

Mangoes are generally sweet, although the taste and texture of the flesh differs across varieties. Some have a soft, pulpy texture similar to an overripe plum, while others are firmer, like a cantaloupe or avocado. You might encounter some mangoes with a fibrous texture.

Mangoes are delicious eaten alone. That said, you must try a popular Thai dessert; Mango & sticky rice (soaked in coconut cream). When the dessert is prepared right, it’s almost a religious experience!

To skin a mango, carve the skin length ways and chop into squares. When chopping, cut closely to the big seed in the middle of the fruit.

#8. Pomelo – Som-O / ส้มโอ

Thailand fruit season: August – November

Pomelo is another must-eat fruit in Thailand! It tastes exactly like a grapefruit but without the bitterness or sour notes. It’s not particularly sweet, nor is it tart.

Like grapefruit, you’ll find pomelo in both pink and yellow varieties. Most fruit sellers will have their pomelo ready peeled and packaged. The reason is that it’s a nightmare to peel. The green outer skin and white pith surrounding the fruit is extremely thick, and it’s quite an ordeal removing the fruit from its casing!

#9. Rose Apple – Chom-Poo / ชมพู่

Thailand fruit season: Year-round

This is one of my favorite fruits in Thailand! Rose apple both smells and tastes mildly of roses, but not in an unpleasant way. The overall flavor is only mildly sweet as the fruit has a high-water content. Perfect for a hot day. The texture, although not as substantial as a true apple, is a somewhat reminiscent of one.

To eat, simply cut through the skin, as you would an apple, and remove the hard core.

#10. Papaya – Ma La Kaw / มะละกอ

Thailand fruit season: Year-round

Papaya’s taste is often compared to that of a melon, but less sweet, and with a softer texture. Sometimes papaya can have a distinct smell, often described as a feet smell, with little to no flavor. Typically, this means that the fruit is not ripe. To get the full flavor of a papaya it must be very ripe.

Papaya is commonly found at breakfast buffets all over Thailand – not to mention pretty much every street fruit stall. The green, unripe type is used for the famous Som Tum dish (Thai papaya salad).

To eat, simply skin this delicious fruit and remove all the seeds from the center.

#11. Guava – Fa-Rang / ฝรั่ง

Thailand fruit season: Year-round

Guava has a mild taste. It’s something like a combination of pear and strawberry. The pulp of the fruit may be sweet or sour depending on the ripeness. Guava is super-refreshing and best eaten when crisp on the outside and medium-soft on the inside. Note. It’s stacked with vitamin C, so a great option if you’re feeling under-the-weather.

#12. Pineapple – Sap-Pa-Rot / สับปะรด

Thailand fruit season: April – June / December – January

When fully ripe, Thai pineapple is extremely sweet and succulent, with a soft, fragrant pulp. Many Thai will add a sprinkle of salt to temper the fruit’s bite; a technique also used to prolong its shelf life.

Best practice cutting requires that you first twist off the leafy crown, then cut off the skin at the bottom, place on a chopping board and slice off the skin, ensuring that you cut deep enough to take off the eyes too.

#13. Sapodilla – La Moot / ละมุด

Thailand fruit season: September – December

The taste of Sapodilla is something like brown sugar and butter with an additional hint of pear thrown in. In Thailand, Sapodilla is a commonly-grown fruit and a favorite of farmers because its so resistant to molds and insects. Often, they don’t have to bother with chemical pesticides and fungicides.

The fruit looks like a small potato and varies in size from 1.5 to 4 inches in diameter. You’ll know the fruit is ready to eat when it’s as soft as a very ripe kiwi fruit (giving easily to pressure).

When it’s ripe, the inside flesh should be dark brown. You’ll usually find four bean-shaped black seeds inside.

To eat, cut in half and squeeze the fruit free of the skin, or carefully peel with a knife. Note. Mind the hard seeds!

#14. Watermelon – Tang Mo / แตงโม

Thailand fruit season: Year-round

Thai watermelon is sweet and fruity, but not strong-tasting due to the high-water content. It’s best eaten chilled after you have been working out, or outside on very hot day.

Thai watermelon generally has a dark green appearance. That said, it also can come in a yellow variety which is not as sweet, but just as refreshing.

To eat, slice lengthways from the stalk and cut into sections. Then, pass the blade of your knife between the skin and fruit. You’ll need to pick out those damn seeds – one of the main reasons why reasons I don’t often eat watermelon!

#15. Lychee – Lin Chi / ลิ้นจี่

Thailand fruit season: April-June

The lychee is a perfect balance of sweet and tart. It has a light, floral taste — some say it’s a grape/rose, others insist pear/watermelon. If you haven’t tried a lychee, this is a must eat fruit in Thailand. Especially when it’s in season!

Break open the easily removed pinkish-red skin, and you’ll reveal the sweet white flesh. The skin of a lychee is easily removed by piercing it with your thumb. Note. Be careful not to eat the seed in the middle of the fruit.

#16. Tangerine – Som Kiew-Waan / ส้มเขียวหวาน

Thailand fruit season: September – February

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.

Note. The skin of Thai tangerines is somewhat tougher than other tangerines. You will likely have trouble peeling them. If this is the case, cut lengthways from the stalk and peel the skin with a knife.

#17. Longkong / ลองกอง

Thailand fruit season: July – September/October

The flesh of Longkong has a musky, sweet taste, which can be compared to the flavor of a grape. It’s a tropical fruit, grown mostly in southern Thailand. Longkong looks a little like a very small potato, and contains a few seeds. Buying longkong is something of a lottery. Sometimes you get a very sweet one, sometimes very sour. To eat, break open the skin by pressing lightly with your fingers and tear off in strips.

#18. Longan ­– Lam Yai / ลำใย

Thailand fruit season: June-August

The longon has a flavor similar to its relative, the lychee. Some though compare its taste the honeydew melon. The longan has no acidity, or at least not any that your tongue will detect. As a food, it may be an acquired taste for you due to a distinct musky aftertaste, which is experienced with some varieties more than others.

The easiest way to peel a longan is to make an incision with your thumbnail and tear away the rest of the skin. Carefully bite off the pulp with your teeth, avoiding the hard, inedible seed in the center of the fruit.

#19. Small Banana – Gluay Naam Waah / กล้วยน้ำว้า

Thailand fruit season: Year-round

You have to try this variety of banana when you’re in Thailand! Not quite as sweet as ‘gluay homme’ (the standard long, sweet banana), gluay nam waa is its smaller, more filling cousin that’s makes for the perfect breakfast cereal accompaniment or healthy on the go snack.

Note. If you batter and fry gluay nam waa bananas, they’re awesome. Add some honey, and you’ve got one of the best desserts that you’ll ever eat.

#20. Snake Fruit – Sala / สละ

Thailand fruit season: Year-round

A properly ripened snake fruit is dry and crunchy, with a taste similar to a bitter pineapple or jackfruit. The pulp is commonly eaten raw, but is can also be used to make wine, juices, and candies.

Snake Fruit trees are covered in sharp spikes, so harvesting the fruits takes skill. You can open a snake fruit by pinching the tip to break the skin, then peeling against the grain of the scales. Inside is a hard, pale yellow pulp that breaks apart into three lobes resembling large cloves of garlic.

#21. Santol – Gratawn / กระท้อน

Thailand fruit season: April-August

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.

The outer flesh is unexpectedly savory, earthy and astringent with some likening the flavor to basil or oregano. Few deny that the outer, grassy tasting flesh is not nearly as succulent as the cottony portion of a santol. The rind is quite sour, compelling some to dry it, grind, or pickle it for use as a souring agent.

Note. Santol is often used as an ingredient in Thailand’s infamous dish, som tum.

Anyway, that’s it for this video. Expect a new video next week.

For all you techies out there, this video was shot on a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus and edited using HitFilm Express.

To check out details on arranging a bespoke Bangkok tour with experienced tour guides, please click on the link in this video’s description section.

Finally, please don’t forget to subscribe to this channel through the button below! Also, I’d like to hear from you if you have any questions or comments regarding fruit in Thailand. Maybe you have some great suggestions that I missed. Please do reach out to me through the comments section of this video!

Thank you very much for watching. I’ll see you next week. Goodbye.

jamesnardell

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