Fruits This Season
Eating fruit is always among the top many things people say they love about visiting Chiang Mai. And there’s nothing quite like a piece of watermelon to rehydrate after being out in the sun, or nothing like mango and sticky rice for dessert. But there is much more about fruits in Chiang Mai - hundreds of fruit options are waiting for you to discovered.
Thailand’s rich soil yields an extraordinary variety of fruits including more than two dozen kinds of bananas and of course the pungent durian! The hot tropical climate and abundant rainfall in Thailand are ideal for growing a huge variety of fruits which, for range and quality, are among the most diverse and delicious to be found anywhere.
Some Thai fruits are incredibly sweet and juicy. While the taste of others may, at first, seem strange and exotic to visitors. They add a delightful extra dimension to the rich diversity of gastronomic experience.
Today, Thailand is one of the major fruit countries exporting not only to the regional markets but to the world. The country has a vast reservoir and diversity of fruit species, both temperate and tropical. Seasonal fruits in Thailand include mangos, durian, rambutan, longan and mangosteen. Year-round fruits are dragon fruit, rose apple and banana Nam Wa.
Whenever you wander around the streets of Chiang Mai, you will most surely come across fruit sellers with their glass-fronted carts with piles of fresh seasonal fruit stacked around blocks of ice. Not only are these fruits nutritious but they make excellent snacks while providing you with some cool comfort in the heat of the street. Give it a try! Taste as many tropical fruits as you can! From the spiky stinker durian to the juicy guava. And, if you are feeling really adventurous, then 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.
So let’s check out the fruits in season! Let’s start with a visit at the Ton Lamyai fruits market of Chiang Mai! Located close to the American embassy, it is open 24/7. They say everyone in Chiang Mai comes to this market from: everyday people, to store vendors, and chefs from 5 star restaurants. It’s such a treat to try all of these fruits and you will for sure discover fruits you had never heard about before. From durian and Longan to the exotic dragon fruit... here we go!
Thai fruits may be served raw, freshly sliced, in salads or cooked in many different ways. Here is Chang Puak Magazine’s selection of some of the most delicious fruits you can find at the moment:
Langsat (Longkong - ลางสาด)
Season: July to September/October.
Originating in South East Asia, this sweet and juicy fruit is a little like passion fruit in texture and is recognisable from its pale yellowy-brown skin and smokey white flesh.
To eat, break open the skin by pressing lightly with your fingers and tear off in strips.
Custard Apple (Noi Nah - น้อยหน่า)
Season: June to September.
Light green and about the size of a tennis ball, the flesh of this knobby textured fruit is, much like custard, best eaten with a spoon. Divide the fruit into two with your hands and scoop out the soft pulpy flesh with a spoon. The sweet tasting meat contains tiny black seeds.
Longan (Lam-Yai - ลำไย)
Season: June - August.
A lesser known sibling of the lychee (April to June) and rambutan, the longan has a sweet, delicate flavour and grows in Northern Thailand in the Chang Mai area, especially between June to 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
Mango (Ma-Muang - มะม่วง)
Season: April - June.
You’ll find a number of different types of mangoes around Thailand, but the sweet, ripe varieties are most popular with visitors. Mangoes are delicious eaten alone, or in a dessert such as the popular Sticky Rice & Mango dish, which is awesome when covered in coconut milk too.
Mangoes also make wonderful juices. You may have some difficulties in buying mangoes at this period of the year, but you can be sure to find some at the mango-sticky rice shop next to At Chiang Mai Hotel, in the old city of Chiang Mai.
Dragon Fruit (Gaew Mung Korn - แก้วมังกร)
Season: All year round.
This fruit looks like a cactus and comes in three colours: two have pink skin, but with different coloured flesh (one white, the other red), while the other type is yellow with white flesh. This fruit has a lovely soft flesh that looks like a kiwi fruit and can be eaten with a spoon.
Pomelo (Som O - ส้มโอ)
Season: August to November.
Similar in size and taste to grapefruit, the meat of the pomelo is succulent and has a delicious sour-sweet flavour. This fruit is a member of the citrus family and comes in pink and yellow varieties.
Rambutan (Ngoh - เงาะ)
Season: May to August.
Its name is derived from the malay world 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.
Veteran Ngoh eaters will be adept at peeling with a simple thumb squeeze, but beginners may need to make an incision with a knife.
Durian (Durian - ทุเรียน)
Season: April - August.
Durian is dubbed the “King of Fruits” and you’ll either love it or hate it. This rather pungent fruit may offend some and is often banned from entering hotel rooms. This fruit comes in many different varieties, with Morn Thong, Kan Yao and Chanee being the most commonly purchased.
A Durian is housed in a hugely stalked, pendulous skin, and the fruit seated in a capsule that is split into 3 to 5 segments. Each segment contains l to 5 seeds, each of which is embedded in a sweet, rich and creamy pulp.
Guava (Fa-Rang - ฝรั่ง)
Season: All year round.
Originally from Central America and the West Indies, Guava is now grown in many tropical countries and favoured especially for its fragrant, exotic taste. Available all year round, it makes a popular snack that can be eaten green and crunchy alongside salt, sugar and chilli, or when ripe. Tasty and highly refreshing, guava can also be made into delicious drinks, luscious ice creams or rich jams and jellies. Guava fruit is stacked with vitamin C.
Mangosteen (Mung Koot - มังคุด)
Season: May to September.
Little known outside Thailand, the mangosteen is a sweet fruit. Inside it’s delicate deep purple shell is hidding a flavorful white flesh. Mangosteen is known as the “queen of fruits”, due to its extensive health benefits. The purple skin is best removed by making an incision down the middle and parting with your fingers. Larger segments may contain seeds.
Rose Apple (Chom-Poo - ชมพู่)
Season: All year around.
With a shape much like a pear, the rose apple has a shiny skin that is either pink or green in colour. Extremely refreshing and with a crisp, crunchy taste it can be eaten at any time of the day. To eat, cut through the skin, as you would an apple, and remove the hard core.
Banana Nam Wa (Kluay Nam Wa - กล้วยน้ำว้า)
Season: All year around.
You thought you knew bananas? Try again. There’s more than 20 different types of bananas that grow in Thailand - ranging from small stubby ones to large fleshy types - each of which have different names. Gluay Nam Waa is a smaller, more filling type of banana than the kind we see in the west. It is the perfect breakfast cereal accompaniment or healthy on the go snack.