When fruits are in season trucks travel the streets fully loaded with their produce with loudspeakers blaring away with what's available. They
also stop on main streets advertising their wares. This is particularly true with Durian, Mangosteen, Rambutan and Lychee. These trucks are a
very good place to get fresh fruit in Hua Hin. The daily markets, such as Dinosaur, Pae Mai, and Rim Klong also usually have the freshest
fruits available. Chatchai Market has fresh fruit and is convenient but the prices there are a bit dearer. The superstores: Macro, Tecso and
Big C also carry fruit but their standards can vary from day to day. Regardless of where you buy, ONLY purchase fruit that you can select
Mangosteen มังคุค Garcinia mangostana
Mangosteen (mahngkoot) is often called the Queen of Fruits, due to its "cooling" properties, in contrast to the King of Fruits, Durian, with
it's "heatiness". The fruiting seasons of the two coincide and they make a very nice combination. The husk or exocarp of the Mangosteen is a
leathery purple shell which, when opened, reveals the soft, white fruit which is quite delicate and consists of 4-8 segments, the larger of
which contain seeds. The fragrant, fleshy fruit is both sweet and tangy.
Rambutan เงาะ Nephelium lappaceum
The fruit of the Rambutan (ngaw) tree is usually bright red though there are also orange and yellow varieties. Rambut means hair in
IndoMalay and the fruit could be described as a golf-ball sized red fruit covered in green Velcro fibers.
Breaking open the skin reveals a fleshy translucent or whitish fruit containing a large seed. The fruit is sweet with a mildly acidic flavor.
The best Rambutan are said to come from Surat Thani province where they were first planted in 1926.
Rambutan is easily canned and thus available throughout the world in a sweet syrup.
Durian ทุเรียน Durio zibethinus and others
Weighing in at around 4 pounds and 1 foot long and 6 inches wide this ovoid, thorn-covered fruit looks more like something that would be
dropped out of a B-52 at high altitude rather than fetch top dollar in the markets of Southeast Asia.
You either love Durian (dturian) or hate it. Most locals love it and most Westerners can't believe that anyone could eat such a foul
smelling mistake of nature. Obviously, those here don't care what the Farangs think as Durian is one of the most popular fruits in Thailand.
There are several varieties in Thailand with different regions known for their special fruits.
To quote the two sides of the controversy:
In 1856, the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace provides a much-quoted description of the flavour of the Durian:
“The five cells are silky-white within, and are filled with a mass of firm, cream-coloured pulp, containing about three seeds each. This
pulp is the edible part, and its consistence and flavour are indescribable. A rich custard highly flavoured with almonds gives the best
general idea of it, but there are occasional wafts of flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous
dishes. Then there is a rich glutinous smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses, but which adds to its delicacy. It is neither acid
nor sweet nor juicy; yet it wants neither of these qualities, for it is in itself perfect. It produces no nausea or other bad effect, and the
more you eat of it the less you feel inclined to stop. In fact, to eat Durians is a new sensation worth a voyage to the East to
experience. ... as producing a food of the most exquisite flavour it is unsurpassed."
But travel and food writer Richard Sterling says:
“... its odor is best described as pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away. Despite its
great local popularity, the raw fruit is forbidden from some establishments such as hotels, subways and airports, including public
transportation in Southeast Asia."
And Anthony Bourdain, while a lover of Durian, relates his encounter with the fruit as thus:
"Its taste can only be described as...indescribable, something you will either love or despise. ...Your breath will smell as if you'd been
French-kissing your dead grandmother."
Durian is also available in paste form, and Durian flavored cream cookies are common. Local and international ice cream companies market
Durian flavored ice cream which has much of the taste without the strong aroma.
Pomelo ส้มโอ Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis
The Pomelo (som oh) is an ancestor of the grapefruit and is the largest citrus fruit ranging in size from that of a large grapefruit to the
diameter of a basketball. It tastes like a sweet, mild grapefruit with little of the grapefruit's bitterness though the membranes of the
segments are quite bitter. The rind is very thick.
Pomelo is normally eaten fresh by itself but it also used in spicy salads. When eaten raw, it is often dipped in a mixture of salt, sugar and chili
Rose Apple ชมพู่ Syzygium malaccense
The Rose Apple, Mountain Apple (champoo) is very common in Thailand. From bright red to pink or green, the Rose Apple is bell shaped and similar in
texture to an apple but sweeter.
Most often eaten fresh but also nice mixed with shrimp in a spicy salad (ยำชมพู่)
Lychee ลิ้นจี่ Litchi chinensis
The bright red fruit of the Lychee (linchee) is just smaller than a golf ball with a rind similar to the golf ball but with pimples rather
the dimples. Firm presure with the thumbs breaks the rind and reveals the white fleshy fruit that is very sweet and rich in vitamin C. The
seed inside the fruit is not edible.
The fruit is available only a few months a year but is easily canned and is often served as desert in Thai and Chinese restaurants.
There are many cultivars of the two main species and purists in various Asian countries claim theirs are the best and sweetest.
Banana (กล้วย) Musa sp.
There are many types of banana (gluay) in Thailand but the most popular are Gluay Hom (กล้วยหอม) and Gluay Khai (กล้วยไข่). Bananas are available
year around and are most often eaten when ripe but are also eaten green in dishes like Naem Nuang (แหนมเนือง) or nem nướng.
Fried banana (กล้วยแขก) are also popular and very well known. Dried banana chips are also a tasty snack.
Banana tree stalks are also used in making Kratongs (กระทง) which are used during the Loi Kratong (ลอยกระทง) Festival during November.
Banana leaves (ใบตอง)are often used in cooking as in wrapping fish to be steamed or grilled over an open fire. The bright red blossom or
inflorescence of the banana (หัวปลี) is also eaten as a vegetable, in salads such as SomTom or even deep-fried.
Coconut มะพร้าว Cocos nucifera
Coconuts (maphrao) are among the most versitile of fruits (they are actually seeds of the coconut tree) with many, many uses. The meat
can be eaten fresh or dried, either as a sweet or in savory dishes. The water is sweet and very nutritious and provides an isotonic
electrolyte balance and can even be used as an intravenous fluid. Coconut milk, which is made from processing grated coconut and
mixing it with warm water is used in much Asian cooking. Southern Thai curries almost always have coconut milk while curries from Northeast
seldom use it.
The coconut husk is used as a potting medium for plants and also used as mattress stuffing.
The coconut shell can be used in making jewelry and is a good source of charcoal.
Palmwood from the trunk is increasingly used in furniture making and entire trunks are often used in making bridges due to their straightness and water and salt resistance.
Coconut oil extracted from fresh coconut meat is a high quality oil used in cosmetics, medicines and bio-fuels.
Custard Apple, Suger Apple or Soursop น้อยหน่า Annona reticulata
The Custard Apple or soursop (noi na) is sweet but very seedy. The skin of the ripe fruit is green with many segments. It is said to be an anti-oxidant and
will strengthen your ability to fight infection and disease.
In Thailand, the term noi na is also used to refer to a hand grenade due to the
similarity in shape and size.
Plum Mango มะปราง Bouea macrophylla
The Plum Mango (ma prang) is related to the mango and he entire fruit, including its single seed, is edible. The fruit range from sweet to
sour in flavour, and have a light smell of turpentine.
Star Gooseberry มะยม Phyllanthus acidus
The Star Gooseberry (ma yom) is very common around Thai houses. The tree is said to bring good
fortune to the residents and it produces many small tart fruits in a short time. It makes a small shade tree but in fruiting season
drops fruits almost too fast to keep up with, even with children in the house, among whom the fruit is very popular. It is very
high in Vitamin C and is said to straighten hair!
Guava ฝรั่ง Psidium guajava
One seldom sees a ripe Guava (falang) in Thailand as Thais prefer to the fruit raw, dipped in salt or sugar mixed with driel chilis.
An unripen Guava reminds one of the texture of a ripe apple. Guava juice is readily available and is rich in vitamin C.
Jackfruit ขนุน Artocarpus heterophyllus
If a Durian resembles a small bomb then the Jackfruit (kanoon) must be the Mother of them all. Weighing up to 80 pounds and a yard long,
the Jackfruit is the largest tree borne fruit in the world. Broken open, the Jackfruit reveals dozens of large seeds covered with a sweet
yellow sheath which has a taste similar to pineapple but milder and less juicy. It is said that the flavor of Juicy Fruit chewing gum
comes from the Jackfruit.
The fruit is normally eaten raw but can also be dried and made into chips or cooked and added to curries.
A dye from the heartwood of the Jackfruit tree is used by forest monks to give their robes the traditional off-brown color.
Jujube พุทรา Ziziphus zizyphus
The freshly harvested Jujube (phsaa) as well as the candied dried fruits are often eaten as a snack. The fruit is an edible oval drupe 1.5-3
cm long; when immature it is smooth-green, with the consistency and taste of an apple, maturing dark red to purplish-black and eventually
wrinkled, looking like a small date.
Langsart ลางสาด Lansium domesticum
Langsart (lansart) are a sweet fruit with a pale brown skin with an inner stone which is quite bitter. Langsart grows on a tree of medium
height. The leaf pattern consists of one large leaf with 5-7 small leaves. The fragrant yellow petals hang in pendulous spikes and start
blooming in midsummer.The fruit hang in bunches of 8 to 20 pieces. The smooth outer skin is a dirty yellow color. Under the thin peel, which
exudes a milky sap, are about five white or pinkish segments unequal in size. Most segments are sweet, but one or two contain a viable seed
and are very bitter to the taste. Some people enjoy the contrast of flavors.
Longan ลำไย Dimocarpus longan
The longan (lamyai) or "dragon eyes" is so named because of the fruit's resemblance to an eyeball when it is shelled (the black seed shows
through the translucent flesh like a pupil/iris). The seed is small, round and hard and closely allied to the glamorous lychee. The fruit is
edible, and is often used in East Asian soups, snacks, desserts, and sweet-and-sour foods, either fresh or dried, sometimes canned with
syrup in supermarkets. The seeds of fresh longan can be boiled and eaten, with a distinctive nutty flavor.
Mango มะม่วง Mangifera sp.
Thailand and Hua Hin are well known for Mango and sticky rice ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง. The sweet mango and the coconut milk and sticky rice just can't be beat
as a dessert and is readily available in Hua Hin. The most well known shop is located across the street from the Hilton Hotel to the north.
This shop normally has ripe mangoes throughout the year though they can get a little expensive during the off season. There are also
stalls in Chatchai Market and across the street on Phetkasem Rd. There are several cultivars of mango with some sweeter and some more sour.
Some are eaten with a salt and chili dry dip. There is also a Three Season cultivar which produces year around.
Local and franchise ice cream shops also have fresh mango and sticky rice promotions during the season, served with mango ice cream, of course.
Unripe mangos are often used in salads. Yam Pla Duk Fu is fried fish flakes mixed with a unripe mango salad that is great with beer on a hot day.
Folks, The Hua Hin Pages were established mainly as a site to inform users about Hua Hin, Thailand. However, I noticed that there are many,
many visitors who only visit the Spices and Fruits pages. Living in Thailand, I don't really have to cook Thai food as it's easily available
but I would like to know how I might improve these pages. Your comments are welcome.
Pineapple สับปะรด Ananas comosus
Thailand is a large producer of pineapple, both for local consumption and for export. Major international canneries are located here in many
parts of the country. Dole cans pineapple in Hua Hin. Many of the golf courses around Hua Hin were once pineapple fields and where ever you
travel in the area you will see pineapple, often grown next to sugar cane fields as they share common environmental needs.
Santol กระท้อน Sandoricum koetjape
Sapodilla ละมุด Manilkara zapota
Tamarind มะขาม Tamarindus indica
Dragonfruit แก้วมังกร Hylocereus sp
These fruits grow off the long arms of a cactus found in southern China and SE Asia.