Exotic Asian Fruits You Should Try On Your Next Trip To The Region Or Grocer
The food is what I miss most about Hong Kong and my frequent travels throughout Southeast Asia. I’m looking forward to returning to the region to buy delicious Asian fruits from street markets and grocers, which are difficult to find at home.
This list aims to give you the names and descriptions of exotic and everyday Asian fruits and how to cut them open and eat them.
You’ll appear like a professional and be able to identify which ones you should reach first. I love the fruit bowls in my hotel rooms.
When you see these unusual and rare gems on restaurant menus, you’ll appreciate the effort involved in their preparation. These are not in any particular order, but I chose the best.
Pomelo is native to Southeast Asia. It looks similar to a large, oversized grapefruit (6-10 inches in diameter) but tastes slightly sweeter and milder.
It’s my daughter’s favorite fruit, and she eats lots of it whenever we go to Hong Kong or any other Asia area where it’s available.
It’s rich in Vitamin C, and you can peel it off like other citrus family members. Each Pomelo is cut into wedges, similar to oranges. However, each wedge is larger and covered in a thick white pith.
To get to the flesh beneath the pith of Pomelo is laborious. Many grocery stores sell Asian citrus fruit in single slices and perfectly peeled. To save time and effort, I recommend buying it peeled.
Can you see why spending a little more to get peeled Pomelo is better? For our next exotic fruit, you’ll be doing the same.
Jackfruit, which is native to South Asia and Indian Subcontinent, is Bangladesh’s national fruit. It is also the largest fruit in all the world. It can grow up to 40 inches in length and 50 pounds. It is usually found in smaller sizes at the markets so it can be carried home.
The flesh of this exotic fruit is very aromatic and flavorful. It tastes like a mixture of mango, pineapple, apple, and banana.
You can eat Jackfruit in many ways throughout the Indian Subcontinent. It can be eaten on its own or with a bowl of rice, dried and eaten as candy, or as part of a curry, as it is often substituted for meat. Jackfruit is believed to have anti-aging and blood pressure-lowering properties.
To get to the flesh of the fruit, you will need to cut through its odd, spiky outer. The jackfruit’s exterior is oily so gloves are a good idea. Even the sap can cause damage to good knives.
It’s not something you would bring back to your hotel room or eat by the side of the road. To make it more enjoyable, I will show you how to peel one.
These apples can be eaten just like regular apples.
Wax apples are native to the Malay Peninsula, and its surrounding islands. They grow on tall trees and look like a bell. The inside center is shaped like a pear and contains a cotton candy-like nest.
It appears to be made of wax. This is why it’s also called love apples, wax jambu, water apples, and mountain apples.
This Asian fruit can be used in salads and lightly sauteed. It is also used to treat diarrhea. They are usually the same height as medium-sized apples but have much more delicate skin.
Wax apples can be eaten just like other varieties of apples and pears. Enjoy the seeds by slicing or biting around their cores.
The most well-known Asian fruit is lychee, which comes from the southern Chinese provinces of Guangdong & Fujian. It is a tropical tree that produces small, red-colored fruits about 1 inch in width. The outside skin of the lychee is not edible.
The white flesh inside is often used for desserts. This Chinese fruit is usually eaten fresh and high in vitamin C. However, canning cans can strip the fruit of its unique flavor. The liquid in the cans is also sweetened with sugar, which I find to be a totally unnecessary step. Fresh lychee is something I recommend.
They are also very good Lychee martinis. (My favorite martini is the lychee martini at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong’s Blue Bar.
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Picking the right lychee is important because it will not continue to ripen once picked. They will be about the same size as apricot and will usually be brightly pink-orange-red in color.
The rambutan tree, which is found in Indonesia and Malaysia has a fruit that looks similar to lychee. However, it’s slightly larger because of its hair. Rambutan’s name is derived from the local word for hair.
Unpeeled rambutan fruits skin is red like lychee, but the rambutan also has distinct red hairs. They are actually green on the tree and turn red within a few days.
The inside of the fruit is a pale pinkish or off-white color. It tastes similar to grapes. It is often eaten raw, and rich in fiber, Vitamin C, and other nutrients.
This strange, spiky fruit smells and tastes rotten but is delicious.
Durian is known for its foul-smelling, rotten taste once it has been cut open. This refers to the green/brown, spiky exterior of the fruit that grows to almost the same size as a basketball.
Due to its notorious smell, the “King of Fruits”, also known as the “King of Fruits”, has been banned from certain public places in Asia, including the Singapore subway.
Durian, despite its smell, is sweet and tasty. It tastes like a cream mix of mostly sweet and sour. You can make milkshakes, ice cream, and candy with durian, or you can eat it raw with sticky rice in Thailand.
As with people who love spicy foods and hot sauces, I have found that people who like durian are proud of their love for the fruit, and want to show it off.
Why is durian so unpleasant? Scientists discovered that the strange fruit’s combination of more than 50 chemicals is what makes it so unpleasant.
Deeper cracks will begin to form between the bumps when it is ripe. You can place your thumbs into the cracks, and then pull them open. The inside will contain soft, little fruit pods that look a lot like peeled garlic cloves.
Chinese Bayberry (or Waxberry)
Bayberries can be confused with lychee.
The wax myrtle, a subtropical tree, is known for its purple/red fruit, which is covered with hundreds upon hundreds of tiny bumps, called yumberries or Chinese bayberries. The interior flesh of this Chinese fruit is also red, with a sweet taste and tart flavor. It has a single seed at the center.
The waxberry fruit can be eaten raw or canned and made into an alcoholic drink. These exotic fruits are used in China to treat pain and inflammation.