18 Fruits You Should Try When Visiting Koh Samui
One of the best perks of visiting Koh Samui is the opportunity to try so many different, delicious fruits. You can eat many as they are naturally, mix them into a salad, or blend them into a smoothie. Take advantage of this abundance by trying as many as possible. Yes, many may, at first sight, seem strange – the spiky stinker durian being the best example – but rest assured, once you’ve had a try you’ll soon be chomping non-stop. Not only is fruit cheap, healthy and nutritious, it’s also a great way to rehydrate – a superb snack. If feeling really adventurous, why not also take a leap of faith and try your portion the way the locals have it, with a small bag of salt, sugar, and chili.
1. Ma Muang (มะม่วง) – Mango
Season: April – June
One of the most well-known fruits in Thailand, there are many varieties of the delicious, refreshing mango and a few different ways of eating it. When ripe, it can be halved and eaten with a spoon, while many choose to enjoy it with sticky rice and coconut milk (Khao Niew Ma-muang). Others like to eat it half-ripe and dip the crunchy slices in sugar. Also makes a wonderful juice.
2. Du Rian (ทุเรียน) – Durian
Season: April – August
Surely the most controversial fruit on earth, durian is to its fans a rich, unique tasting fruit, and to its critics, a putrid-smelling, lame duck of a fruit. Its extremely strong aroma – which some say resembles rotting fruit down a blocked drain – let alone its aggressive look, is enough to put many off tasting it all together. Others, swear by it. Its the most expensive of all Thai fruits and actually banned, yes banned, from some public places, hotels and on planes.
3. Ma La Gor (มะละกอ) – Papaya
A delicious year-round fruit that is at its best between March and June, the papaya is oval in shape and cut lengthways to remove the small black seeds in the middle. When ripe the soft dark orange colored meat is full of flavor. Thais like to shred unripe papaya and mix it with lemon juice, chilies, peanuts and dried shrimp (Som Tam) – one of Thailand’s favorite salads.
4. Ngor (เงาะ) – Rambutan
Season: May – September
Rambutan is a particular favorite with Thais and foreigners alike. Its name is derived from the Malay word for rambut, meaning hair – a result of the fruits red and yellow spiky rind. Peeling this away reveals a firm, white, translucent flesh, something the Thais are especially adept at delicately carving away from its large seed.
5. Mang Kood (มังคุด) – Mangosteen
Season: May – September
It’s sweet and sour. It’s a very refreshing fruit as well. Many local folks love to eat mangosteen after their meal because mangosteen gets rid of bad breath and unwanted taste in your mouth. The skin of mangosteen can be used as a natural pigment for tie-dyed clothing too.
6. Khanon (ขนุน) – Jackfruit
Season: January – May
Available between January and May, the jackfruit is roughly the size of a large melon and packs a distinctive aroma and succulent taste. Divided into multiple sections, each of which contains a waxy textured meat surrounded by seeds, it is usually eaten raw, although some Thais like to fry it in a batter.
7. Lam Yai (ลำไย) – Longan
A lesser-known sibling of the lychee and rambutan, the longan has a sweet, delicate flavor and grows in Northern Thailand in the Chang Mai area, especially between June and August. The skin is pierced by the finger and the delicious, juicy flesh revealed by squeezing it out of its shell using the thumb and forefinger.
8. Ma Kham (มะขาม) – Tamarind
Season: April – August
Tamarind is very popular in Thailand and can be purchased in markets and from street vendors. The hard green pulp of a young fruit is very sour and acidic, so much it cannot be consumed directly, but is often used as a component of savory dishes. The ripened fruit is edible, as it becomes less sour and somewhat sweeter, but still very acidic.
9. Longkong (ลองกอง)
Season: July – September/October
Longkong is like a combination of longan and mangosteen; brownish yellow on the outside, white and petal-like on the inside. The pulp of Long Kong is shinier and sweeter than mangosteen’s. To eat, break open the skin by pressing lightly with your fingers and tear off in strips.
10. Farang (ฝรั่ง) – Guava
Guava is very nutritious because of its high fiber, protein, and Vitamin C. It’s usually 4 to 12 cm long, are round or oval depending on the species. The outer skin may be rough, often with a bitter taste, or soft and sweet. Varying between species, the skin can be any thickness, is usually green before maturity, but becomes yellow, maroon, or green when ripe. Guava generally has a pronounced and typical fragrance, similar to lemon rind but less sharp.
11. Má-Feuang (มะเฟือง) – Star Fruit
Season: August – September / December – February
The Star Fruit is shaped like a five-pointed star, hence its name. It best consumed when ripe, when they are yellow with a light shade of green. It will also have brown ridges at the five edges and feel firm. An overripe fruit will be yellow with brown spots.
The fruit is entirely edible, including the slightly waxy skin.
12. Chom Poo (ชมพู่) – Rose Apple
As you can see, the reason why Chom Poo is called rose apple is because of its appearance. Once you’ve tried it, you will know that this rose apple is taste nothing like a normal apple (because it’s not, duh!). Chom Poo is crunchy on the outside and squishy on the inside. It’s one of the most refreshing Thai fruits as well.
13. Sa La (สละ) – Salak / Snake Fruit
Season: Late Spring – Summer
The creepy name comes from the pattern of the hard, brittle shell, but crack it open to reveal white lobes of flesh that deliver a burst of sweet and sour flavors, and a lot of acidities. The small seeds are inedible but can easily be eaten around.
14. Noi Nhaa (น้อยหน่า) – Custard Apple
Season: June – September
Intensely soft and sweet, custard apple is grown everywhere in Thailand and easy to come by at local stalls.
To eat, divide the fruit into two with your hands and scoop out the soft pulpy flesh with a spoon.
15. Ma Yom (มะยม) – Gooseberry
Season: February – March
There is a Thai saying that a smaller chili, a more spiciness. The same goes for this tiny berry. Gooseberry is one of the sourest Thai fruits we’ve ever tried. But, for those who love sour fruits, you will love this little green berry for sure. Thais often eat gooseberry with a spicy sugar dip.
16. Som-O (ส้มโอ) – Pomelo
Season: August – November
Pomelo is a little like grapefruit in many ways, albeit more sweet than bitter. It’s a member of the citrus family and comes in pink and yellow varieties.
You’ll usually find som-o ready peeled in a pack, but if you buy a whole one, simple carve off the outer green skin, peel away the white fleshy bits and enjoy.
17. Sap-Pa-Rot (สับปะรด) – Pineapple
Season: April – June / December – January
When properly ripe, Thai pineapple is very sweet and succulent, with a soft, fragrant pulp. Occasionally, a sprinkle of salt is added to temper its bite; a technique also used to prolong a fruit’s shelf life.
Best practice cutting requires that you first twist off the leafy crown, then cut off the skin at the bottom, place on a chopping board and slice off the skin, ensuring that you cut deep enough to take off the eyes too.
18. Gael Mangon (แก้วมังกร) – Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit is actually a type of cactus, which explains its colorful yet alien-like appearance. The fruit comes in three colors: two have pink skin, but with different colored flesh (one white, the other red), while the other type is yellow with white flesh.
Sweet and crunchy, dragon fruit tastes a bit like a cross between kiwi and pear. When ripe enough the skin is easily torn open, otherwise slice lengthways and squeeze the fruit from its skin.