Archive for the Our Thai Honeymoon: Exotic Fruit Category

Our Thai Honeymoon: Fun with Exotic Fruit

Posted in Our Thai Honeymoon: Exotic Fruit on August 5, 2010 by jaydel818

Part of the great fun of traveling to equatorial regions is tasting foods that require me to explore new pages in my Food Lover’s Companion… and, in some cases, find foods not listed there at all.  For your sensory pleasure, here are a few of our favorites, many of which can be found in Asian markets- fresh in some seasons, canned in others.

Rambutan: If you halve the bristly bright pink and green exterior of a rambutan, which already looks alarmingly like a baby alien pod, the white, glossy, egg-like interior might confirm your extraterrestrial suspicions.  The fruit inside is white and chewy and reminded me of a combination of pear and grape, only less sweet.

Rambutan (a.k.a. Proof that E.T. is out there)

Mangosteen: I just saw a bulletin in my local Mrs. Green’s extolling the healthful properties of this seldom-imported fruit and promising all of its benefits in a juice product made from the fruit and the rind.  Mangosteen is a prim, proper-looking, purple fruit that looks like an eggplant’s baby sister but peels like a tangerine; if it were a person, mangosteen would be a Victorian lady with a high collar sitting on a divan and cross-stitching.  When properly halved, the flesh inside creates a pretty (albeit bulbous) white flower.  Rich announced that it had the consistency of “gooey snot.”  My first impression was the taste, which to me was almost bubble-gum-y sweet and then creamy, a little like an overripe peach with mild citrus flavors.  We weren’t sure if you could eat the rind, so despite everything we were taught in 6th grade science, we tried it.  It had a tannic, bitter sourness totally at odds with the part eaten by normal people.  🙂

Her Highness, Lady Mangonsteen

Longan: is a small, round pod that looks almost like a nut or a little, white potato.  Rich described the flesh as a “peeled grape” with a big, brown pit.  I found the flesh to be firmer than a grape; it wasn’t super-sweet, with a flavor like unripe canteloupe.

Longan

Dragonfruit: Quite possibly one of my favorite fruits in Thailand for the texture and appearance alone.  Although not quite as wild and woolly as the rambutan, the bright pink exterior and black-and-white dotted interior give it a visual aesthetic.  In flavor, it reminds me of a muted kiwi, only the exterior skin is tougher, and the fruit itself is firm enough to be cut into delicious little cubes.

Wax Apple: Like something straight out of the artwork of Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers (creators of one of my all-time favorite books How Are You Peeling? Foods with Moods), the wax apple only looks like an apple from the outside.  Inside, it’s a succulent fruit, juicy like a watermelon, although it reminded me a lot of chayote in texture.  The flavor wasn’t really strong or sweet, but the bite was pleasantly crisp..

Wax apple
Flesh of a wax apple
Coconut Milk: One of our favorite things to do in Thailand was buy whole coconuts, which vendors would “behead” with dull machetes.  For about 25 cents, you could suck the cool, coconut milk through a straw.  It’s not sweet at all… really just coconut-flavored water, but it is incredibly refreshing.  Many vendors will offer a small, simple, metal scoop with which you can scrape the inside walls to pull off some of the white flesh.  (Germophobes beware: you’re taking your chances, as there doesn’t seem to be an intricate washing system for these utensils.)  The trash bins around these vendors are littered with discarded coconut husks in a land where these delicious edibles abound.  A word of warning from those who learned the hard way… Don’t partake too heartily.  Coconut is a natural laxative.
Fresh coconut milk… yum!
In this video clip, you can see exactly what I’m talking about.  (And, yes, that IS Kelly Clarkson playing in the background.)
Thai fruit plate (clockwise from top left) : Longans, longkong, rambutan, and a piece of sweet, delicious, yellow jackfruit.
My regular morning’s breakfast during our honeymoon: a plate of fresh fruit including watermelon, pineapple, dried mango strips, fresh halved apricot, cubed fruit salad, and peeled rambutan.  The little brown fellow is a chicken sausage, and the bread is white chocolate bread. Ummmm delicious!
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