Along the way we’ve tried a number of the exotic fruits that line the streets of southeast Asia. Sometimes we’ve been pleasantly surprised and other times not so much but at the end of the day all the fruit is at least interesting and photogenic. Here are some of the new things we’ve tried.
This purple fruit has a very thick, bitter outer coating that reveals the garlic clove shaped fruit inside. This is one of my favourite exotic fruits because of the soft texture and sweet/tangy flavour. It is however one of the more expensive fruits because the mangosteen tree is very slow growing and does not produce fruit for the first seven years of growth.
This beautiful fruit has pink and green waxy leaves on the outside and a bright fuchsia coloured inside with small edible seeds (there is also a more common strain with a white inside). For all it’s visual fanfare, this fruit is surprisingly mild but refreshing.
The translucent interior of this fruit is covered with a rough protective skin and surrounds a smooth brown pit. It is one of the better known southeast Asian fruits. When ripe, the flesh is soft and succulent with a well balanced sweetness that is addictive!
The less expensive cousin of the lycees, rambutans attract the eye with their bright red hairs ending in a vibrant lime green. The inside is slightly firmer than that of a lycee and a little less sweet. However they travel very well and have often accompanied us on long bus trips.
The durian is southeast Asia’s most expensive and most highly prized fruit. It is notorious for its pungent aroma and is indisputably an acquired taste. The smell is so strong that some businesses forbid the opening of a durian fruit in the vicinity. The inside is soft and buttery with a rich flavour but, if left exposed to the air for more than a few minutes, the flavour becomes overwhelmed by a strong sulfuric odour. The exterior is so strongly fortified by sharp spikes that one wonders (between that and the smell) who the first person was who attempted to eat this fruit.