Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tropical Fruits

I tried four new fruits in Thailand:Red guava (center) was delicious! The texture and flavor were to die for. One guava contains four times the vitamin C of an orange. It's high in antioxidants, beta carotene and fiber too.
The white fleshed fruit with a green layer was crunchy and flavorful. Unfortunately, I don't know its name.
Dragon fruit or red pitaya (top) was my favorite fruit last year in Thailand. Don't be fooled by its unusual black seeds and zany exterior (see below) - this fruit is quite bland, just the way I like it! Its texture reminded me of watermelon, and its tasted slightly like vanilla or coconut.

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Dragon fruit is high in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants, just like guava. It's actually the fruit of a cactus!
Jackfruit (right)...I'm not sure where to start with this fruit. First off, I just learned that jackfruit is another name for the infamous durian. If I had known I were eating durian, I would have been more hesitant. (Everyone knows that ripe durian smells nasty, so bad that carrying it on airplanes is illegal in Asia. The fruit is also very expensive and messy to cut.) Of all the fruit I purchased, the jackfruit was the only one I left behind. Something about the chewy texture and sharp, overly sweet taste made it difficult to eat.
I quickly learned that the yellow flesh hid a walnut-sized seed. The seed can be cooked and eaten like a chestnut.

Jackfruit is the largest fruit grown on a tree. According to Wikipedia, some jackfruits weigh 80 pounds and measure 10 inches in diameter! The fruit's interior contains the flesh-covered seeds.

I hope I can find delicious guava and dragon fruit at home. It's a shame that we are stuck in an apple-orange-banana world in the United States. Then again, Thailand is stuck in its pineapple-jackfruit-dragonfruit world. We all need to expand our horizons!


Trvlgyrl said...

Did you get any mangoes? I found that the mangoes in Thailand are different (so much better!) than the ones I have had here. I want one now that I am thinking about it!

Halcyon said...

Jackfruit and durian aren't the same fruit; they're not related (except visually). They have the same texture, but taste different :)

The green and white fruit is -probably- a rose apple/chompu (Syzygium jambos). Was it mildly rose scented and/or melony?

Nice blog!

MandyKat said...

Halcyon -
Thank you for the clarification! The jack fruit actually smelled good (not the way the durian is rumored to smell) and tasted ok. I guess I can no longer claim to have tried the infamous durian!