Domo digging into some rose apples and baby bananas.
This is the seventh post in the Thailand! travel series of my eats in Bangkok. Other posts include Thip Samai, Best Pad Thai in Bangkok? and Raan Jay Fai, Best Drunken Noodle in Bangkok, Maeklong Railway Market, Floating Markets (Damnoen Saduak). Street Foods of Bangkok, Part I, and Street Foods of Bangkok, Part II.
One thing I love most about visiting any tropical destination near the equator (and I’ve really only ever been to Taiwan and Hawaii before this), are the fruits.
In New England, fruits aren’t my favorite things to eat. I’m just not a huge fan of apples, oranges, and bananas. They’re OK, but once you’ve had fruits from tropical locations, it’s really hard to go back. The diversity of choices is dizzying, and the flavors will blow you away.
One really fun perk that our hotel room in Thailand provided was a rotating plate of fresh fruit. Everyday, they would put a couple pieces of local fruit on a plate in our room. They even had this fun guide called “Fruits of Thailand” where they described each fruit. They tried to introduce us to fruits that were not only local to Thailand, but also unique to the tropical climate.
Most of us have seen bananas before, but what about mangosteens and dragonfruit? Mangosteen is the little dark purple fruit in the photo above.
When cut open, the inside consists of 6 perfectly formed segments. It’s gorgeously sweet with hints of tartness, reminding me of a cross between a lychee and an orange?
I still think dragon fruits are one of the most gorgeous fruits. Just look at that vivid pink color! The inside is soft, sweet, and light, sort of like watermelon. You can eat the seeds as well.
Here’s a vendor selling grilled baby bananas on the street.
Fresh orange juice is available everywhere and only costs $1 USD. Isn’t it interesting how their oranges have a green outer skin and is orange on the inside?
I’ve had rose or wax apples in Taiwan (we call them “lembu”), but I’d never seen them anywhere else in the world until I came to Thailand. This fruit is really crispy, juicy, and light. It’s perfect for hot weather days. It’s one of my favorite fruits to enjoy in the tropics, and I happily munched on some everyday while I was in Thailand.
Our hotel included breakfast, which was awesome because they always had a huge assortment of fresh fruit. Here I’ve cracked open passion fruit on top. On the plate there’s also guava, green mango, papaya, pineapple, jack fruit, and tiny little oranges.
Speaking of jackfruit, have you ever seen an entire jackfruit? They are HUGE! Here’s half of one at a street cart in Thailand. I swear that fruit is the size of my upper body! Usually, the little segments are removed, deseeded, and sold in smaller “packets”.
Jackfruit physically resembles the durian on the outside, though inside they are very different. Durians are stinky and banned from public places. Jackfruit has a slight funk, but is predominantly fragrant, slightly crunchy, and sweet. Bryan liked eating it with blue cheese, which I’m sure is not a traditional Thai pairing! (Our hotel breakfast buffet was international and therefore had European things like cheese as well).
Speaking of durian, I did try my first durian this trip as part of a dessert (Durian over Sticky Rice). It was surprisingly OK. Yes, it does stink, but it sort of grows on you too. Oddly enough, by the end of the dessert, I was starting to think the fruit was richly complex.
Bryan strongly disagreed.
After one whiff of my dessert, Bryan scrunched up his nose, frowned, and refused to try any more. In fact, he kept pushing the dish closer and closer to me every time he got another whiff.
Desserts often revolve around fruits and coconut milk in Thailand. Mango Sticky Rice is quintessential and classic. It’s a magical combination and still one of my favorite Thai desserts. Like all Thai dishes, the balance of sweet and salty makes the dish addictive. It doesn’t hurt to have access to super sweet and ripe mangoes either!
It was hard to come back and face normal North American fruits after having access to such a bounty for a week. Hopefully the arrival of summer will lessen the blow.
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