The word “farang” in Thai means foreigner and gives it away that guava is not a native species. Indigenous to tropical America, it was brought into the kingdom by traders in the 17th century. Guava is grown primarily in the Central Plains and is available all year round.
Crunchy raw guava is served with a dry salt-and-granulated sugar dip seasoned with crushed chilli called prik kab kleua or a savoury chilli dip prepared by blending palm sugar with fish sauce heated to a caramel-like consistency called nam pla wan.
The creative use of guava is gaining popularity and is frequently used as an alternative to papaya in Som Tam – the papaya salad and in Thai salads or yam.
Weight: about 200-300 gms.
Color: mature fruit-yellowish green; flesh-white
Taste: crispy, sweet and slightly sour (Read More…)
Chon Buri, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Sukhothai, Nakhon Sawan
Available all year round, the cool light refreshing juice of fresh young coconuts is a popular “Welcome Drink” and mixer for exotic tropical cocktails. The tender, white flesh is edible and can be easily scooped out with a spoon. It is often featured as a key ingredient in light desserts served with crushed or shaved ice and topped with coconut milk.
As the coconut matures, the kernel becomes solid and the flesh is grated to make coconut cream, an integral ingredient in Thai cuisine used as a base for curries and desserts such as Sankhaya – Coconut Custard, Khanom Kroke – Coconut Pancakes and Kluai Buat Chee – banana slices cooked in coconut milk. (Read More…)
Scooped into balls for garnishing or served as a refreshing snack, fruit juice, sorbet, or salads, Thai water melons are said to be the best in the world in terms of its flavour and texture.
The variety with dark, green skin has rich red flesh that is sweet and juicy, and crisp when well-chilled. Its texture is slightly gritty. The variety with light green skin and alternating dark stripes has sweet, juicy yellow flesh. Given the thickness of its skin, water melons are frequently featured in fruit-carving.
Little goes to waste, Kaeng Som Taeng Mo Lek, a light sweet-and-sour hot soup prepared with young melon and served with a side dish of deep-fried dried freshwater fish pounded into a coarse, crunchy powder, offers a tasty alternative to the thicker coconut curries. Dried melon kernels are also a popular snack and appetizer.
Water melons are grown in the provinces of Roi Et, Yasothon, Ratchaburi and Samut Sakhon. (Read More…)
Chon Buri, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Sukhothai, Nakhon Sawan
While oval-shaped Sapodilla is a dessert fruit that resembles Kiwi Fruit in its external appearance, it has smooth brownish skin instead. Sapodilla that is just ripe is slightly soft to the touch and is easily peeled with a knife. The caramel brown Sapodilla flesh is fragrant, honey-flavoured, slightly gritty and somewhat crisp. As it ripens further, Sapodilla becomes extremely sweet and increasingly juicy. Some say it tastes like fig. When at its best, Sapodilla is the favourite choice for fruit-carving. (Read More…)
In Thailand, there are two varieties of rambutan, a fruit with a thick and hairy outer skin. “Ngoh Rong Rian” has sweet, succulent flesh that clings to the seed, while the oval-shaped Si Chompoo, the “pink” rambutan, has crisp, white flesh that comes off the seed easily.
Rambutan orchards are commonly found in Chanthaburi and the provinces of the South. (Read More…)
There are two distinct varieties of pineapple grown in Thailand. An extremely sweet and succulent pineapple with softer lemon-yellow pulp called the Siracha pineapple and a crunchy pineapple with a delicate sweet taste. A pinch of salt is often rubbed into freshly cut pineapple to offset its bite.
The Siracha and Phuket pineapples flourish in the South in the provinces of Surat Thani and Hua Hin. A new variety of miniature Phuket pineapples are now grown at The Royal Project experimental agricultural stations in northern Thailand.
Thailand is one of Southeast Asia’s largest producer and exporter of pineapples in the form of canned pineapple and juice. Excess pineapple is also sun-dried, and processed into jams, chewy toffee and candy.
As fragrant pineapple adds natural sweetness and contributes to the harmony of flavours that is the distinctive quality of Thai cuisine, it is commonly used as a flavouring or garnish in savoury dishes, for example, pineapple curries such as Kaeng Sapparote, Saow Nam or Khao Ob Sapparote – Rice Baked in Pineapple. (Read More…)
Papaya grows all over Thailand and is available all year round but ideal conditions in the provinces of Southwest Thailand namely Chumphon, Ratchaburi and Prachuab Khiri Khan, it is cultivated on a large scale as an economic crop.
It is widely consumed as fresh fruit but is also featured in Thai cuisine in dishes such as the Papaya Salad – Som Tam, a light curry without coconut milk called Kaeng Som, or boiled and served with nam prik, a chilli dip. (Read More…)
Considered to be the “Queen of Tropical Fruits”, there are five or six small segments of white flesh contained within the hard, dark reddish purple outer shell. When ripe, the outer shell yields to slight pressure and cracks easily to reveal the soft, white flesh with a refreshing sweet and tangy taste.
To avoid crushing the delicate flesh within, it is best to make a continuous clean cut around the circumference by turning the mangosteen clockwise or counter-clockwise through the dark beetroot-coloured pith but without cutting through the flesh. (Read More…)
Prime grade fresh lychees are large in size with a thicker bright red skin. Lychees with thick, succulent flesh surrounding a relatively small seed, such as in the “Hong Huai” and “Chakrapat” (Emperor lychees), are considered to be the best quality. These are predominantly sweet. However for those who prefer flavourful lychees with a sharper taste, look out for oval-shaped lychees with brittle skin. These are sweet and slightly sour.
There is tremendous worldwide demand for this exotic dessert fruit and Thai lychees are one of Thailand’s leading economic crops ranking high on the list of top exports shipped to all corners of the globe in a variety of forms – fresh, dried, frozen, and canned, as well as lychee juice or wine. Lychees are primarily grown in the Central Plains and in Northern Thailand. (Read More…)