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A Guide to Thai Fruit

A Guide to Thai Fruit (Thai name is in parentheses)

Thai people love to eat fruit! We eat it with nearly every meal and it’s available on the street everywhere. So many different varieties of fruit are available in Thailand; for example, I believe we have over 20 different varieties of banana alone! Much of the fruit we enjoy in Thailand is now available in the US. Lychee and longan are now being grown in Florida and mangoes are imported from Mexico, Central America and South America. In addition, some fruit is imported from Thailand (in frozen form) such as durian, longan, lychee, rambutan, and mangosteen. Much of the fruit we eat is available in cans or jars from Thailand, too.



Mangoes (Ma-Muang) are one of the favorite fruits in Thailand! The variety shown above, ataulfo (also called champagne), is available in the spring (imported from Mexico).



Longan (Lum Yai) is a favorite Thai fruit. The flesh is translucent (the seed is visible). Longan has a unique taste that’s somewhat similar to grapes, but more exotic!




Lychee (Linchi) fruit tastes a little bit like a pear, but it’s sweeter and juicier! The flesh is white/pink and there’s a seed in the middle.



opened papaya

opened papaya

Ripe Papaya (Malagaw sook) is eaten both when the fruit is ripe and when it’s still green in Thailand. Ripe papayas are a favorite fruit and the flavor is somewhat similar to ripe persimmons.


opened durian

opened durian


Durian (Tu-rian) is sometimes called the king of fruits. Unique in appearance, the smell of durian has been described as stinky and the fruit has a texture like pudding, with a rich flavor like no other fruit!



Guava (Fa-rang) resembles an apple and has tiny seeds inside. The taste is more like a crunchy pear than an apple. Guava fruit is used to make juice.



Rambutan (Ng-ock) is a bright red fruit with hairs on the outside. The flavor is similar to lychee fruit and there is a seed in the middle.



Breadfruit (Sah-kaay) tastes like potato and the outer skin resembles that of the jackfruit. Breadfruit is usually eaten as a dessert by boiling it in sugar and topping with coconut cream.



Jackfruit (Kanoon) looks like a durian, but the fruit has banana and pineapple flavors. The yellow fruit sections encase the seeds (which can be boiled and eaten as a snack).




Mangosteen (Mongkut) is a reddish-purple colored fruit that appears to be wearing a festive hat! The flavor is a sweet and sour cross between an apple and a pear.



Noy Naong is similar in flavor to a very sweet, juicy pear. The ripe fruit can be scooped out with a spoon and eaten like pudding.



Jujube (Phut Saa) is also known as Chinese Date. They’re picked unripe and eaten with dipping sauce.


thai banana

thai banana

Thai bananas (Kluay Num Wah) resemble plantains, but the flavor is much sweeter. They should be eaten when the skin is yellow.




Baby bananas (Kluay Kai) are usually about 3-4 inches in length and are much sweeter tasting than regular bananas.


Star fruit (Ma-phuang), also called carambola, is a star-shaped fruit that has a subtle, citrusy flavor.


Persimmon (Luke Pawp) resembles a tomato in shape and tastes like a medium-sweet papaya (not quite ripe). Persimmons are usually eaten when firm and are crunchy in texture.


Golden Apple (Makok Num), tastes somewhat like a crabapple and is eaten before it ripens, usually with dipping sauce.


Sweet Tamarind (Makaam Waan) has a taste similar to prunes or dates and is eaten as a snack. Tamarind is used as a flavoring in sour soups such as Tom Yum.


Young coconuts (Ma Prow On) are available in Asian markets. The juice is removed (usually with a straw) and the meat that’s left is very delicious and can be used in desserts.


Medium coconuts (Ma Prow Tuen Tueng) are picked between green young coconuts and brown coconuts. The meat is usually used for desserts.


Coconuts (Ma Prow Gae) are available in some Asian markets. The coconut must be cracked open and the meat is removed (that’s what coconut milk and cream is made from)


Dragon fruit (also called Pitaya) is fruit of a cactus plant. The flesh looks like that of a kiwi and is typically scooped-out with a spoon.

                               Source : Supatra.com



3 comments to A Guide to Thai Fruit

  • I found your site on google, great site, keep it up. Will return in the future. Submitted this post to Google News Reader.

  • Norm Wells

    I spent a few years in Thailand in the 70s and fell in love with Thai fruit. I am now trying to plant some tropical fruit trees at my home in Arizona. I very much want the tree for the green, sweet, crunchy mangos that I loved so much but I’m not sure what variety that is. I have two that may be it, Brahm Kai Meu or Keo Sevoy (Kyo Savoy,Khaew Sawei). If anyone could help with these I would be very grateful.

    God Bless

  • SiaMese CAT

    In Thailand we can find variety kind of Mango, in different taste :

    Mango In Thai Forest :
    mango in Thai forest is almost the same kind of other place in Tropical zone as India, Burma etc. ; if you feel interest to know deeper, you can search for the name below to know about Mango in Thai forest which natural born :

    1. mangifera caloneura kruz.
    2. mangifra camptosperma, Pierre
    3. mangifra duperreana,Pierre var siamensis craib.
    4. mangifera longipes, griff.
    5. mangifera syivatica, roxb.

    Mango which born in nature as forest, are not good taste to compare with Mango which be developed by Thai people later, it’s commercial mango in Thailand today : I call it as the mango in Thai home, Khaew Sawei also, be a kind of mango in Thai home that good to eat as green mango, for the crispy taste or eating as ripe mango for the fragrant sweetness.

    Mango in Thai home :

    Mango in Thai home have variety taste in three kind of Thai eating

    1. Mango – eat as green mango : Khaew Sawei, Rad, Thongdham, Hongsawadee are some kind of Thai mango which we can eat as green or ripe, but Phmsain Mon, Khaew Khaika, Phaya Sawei, etc. are some kind we most eat as green mango.

    2. Mango – eat as ripe mango : Ok Rong, Nham Dork Mai, Lin-ngoo-hao, etc. That are some kind of mango which better eat as ripe mango, because it ‘s too much sour to eat as green.

    3. Transformation in Mango – Keaw is a kind of Thai mango which most use in mango transformation such as Stir mango sheet, mango juice and mango jam.

    Hope this’s useful for you!

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