Adventures of an English teacher living and teaching in Thailand.
Published May 17th 2016
Discover the wonderfully exotic fruit of Thailand
In a land where modern technology and ancient superstition co-exist comfortably, it sometimes feels to me, a visitor from a culture very different from that of Thailand, that every day will bring another surprise that will underline the difference between my culture and that of the beautiful, friendly Thai people. One of these lovely surprises came in the form of....the local fruit.
With lovely, musical names such as rambutan, longong, buddha's hand and durian to entice the ear, and strange, spiky skins and beautiful colours that catch the eye immediately, exploring the local fruit markets becomes a wonderful adventure.
Fruit forms a very large and important part of the Thai people's daily diet, perhaps partly because fruit is such a refreshing snack in the hot climate. Most of the fruit for sale in the fruit markets is tropical, with the odd exception here and there. Limes are also widely available, as its juice is used in quite a lot of the traditional Thai dishes. Some of the more exotic fruit that I have personally found very tasty, are rambutan, longong, sala, mangosteen and pitaya, or dragon fruit. Of course there are also bananas, grapes, watermelon and juicy mangoes available at every fruit stall.
And then there is durian…. a fruit whose reputation precedes it across continents. Tasting durian for the first time is definitely an experience one does not undertake lightly. Its sharp, pungent odour, which has led to the fruit being banned from most hotels and public buildings, announces the fruit before you even come close enough to take a good look at its aggressive-looking exterior. As with a lot of fruit in Thailand, like rambutan, sala and pitaya, durian is encased in a spiky shell that does not invite touching. But the wild spikes of durian hide a soft and buttery yellow fruit inside. When asked to describe the taste of durian, people who have tried it give a variety of responses. Some say it tastes like fried onions, others find it sweet with a slightly greasy texture, but all agree on one thing…either you love durian, or you hate it.