Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A few of my favorite Tropical Fruits

South East Asia is a paradise for fruit lovers. Here some of my favorites:

I am a happy kid being surround by tropical fruit!

Rambutan
With hairy aspect, the fruit inside is very similar to the lychee. I also hear some westerners referring to the rambutan as the "Hairy Strawberry". It’s hard to peel, but just squeezed clockwise and counter clockwise at the same time. If you are not strong enough, a quick bite will do the job. In Malaysia are very affordable, you can get 1kg for only 2RM (0,75$). I found them in England for 13,99GBP per kilo!!

Some rambutan being sold in a market in Kota Kinabalu.

Mangoesteen
Another delightful tropical fruit. Nothing to do with the actual mango. Small and strong outside, the bottom part will tell you how many pieces of fruit you have inside. Just push the outside part (mind your nail, they will get spoil inside) and you will see the white soft fruit. Sip it, mind the stone. Welcome to the paradise. You can get them in Malaysia for about 3-4RM (less than a $) per kilo. In Philippines they are available for 190 php (4,5$) per kilo.

A net full of delicious mangoesteens.

LOBAN
Small and rounded, the taste is similar to Rambutan but sour. Very easy to peel.  At about 3RM per kilo.

Durian 
The King of the Tropical fruit, as popular know, this fruit is hard to handle due to the spikes. Also not easy to handle for traveler. Usually the seller will open the fruit and just give you the pulp, if you ask them. It’s smelly but delicious. Do not forget that carrying durians in public transport in Singapore is not allow. Expect to pay around 10RM per kilo.
 
Some spiky durians.
This is a durian when opened. I actually enjoy the smell.

Pineapple
Also another fruit hard to handle for the traveler but usually sold already cut.

Coconut
It seems obvious that you can find coconut here (where else?) Called Buko in Tagalog or Kelapa in Malay. They can do all kind of dishes here, as Tom Yan soup in Thailand, Kinilaw in Philippines or Coconut pudding in Malaysia (just to name a few that I love. The possibilities are unlimited. Here there is a post with my favorite restaurant in Puerto Princesa, Philippines where you can enjoy with the view of some delicious food). Young coconut is usually sold as drink for about 4RM in Malaysia or 20PHP in the Philippines. Or just grab some when they fall and ask any local to open for you. I always carry a straw with me for coconut purpose only.
 
Nothing else better as a drink

When planning my first trip in Philippines in 2011, a good young coconut mean with brown sugar as snack is all what I needed.

Dragon Fruit or pacaya
This funny shaped fruit will show a creamy white inside with black edible seeds. Very popular in China and Hong Kong, where you can get 1 for 5HK$ or 3 for 10HK$.

Mango
Different varieties and colors around the world. Between November to February Mango is not in season in the Philippines and you will find only artificially mature flavorless mangoes. Otherwise, when in season, the Philippines mangoes are the sweetest of the world. Usually 60PHP, 10RM per kilo or 13HK$ per kilo. I found the mini mangoes from China especially tasty (6 yuans per kilo).

Look how cute they look besides some mangoesteems!

Papaya
Used in cosmetic a lot, you can also use their seeds as natural body scrub. Papaya taste amazing when fresh cut, although is not very flavored. You can get 2 Papayas for 10HK$ or for 60 PHP. I found them in Morrisons supermarket in England and they can set you back 2,49GBP each.

Bananas
Banana is a fruit that can be found cheaply around the world (and probably the only one you can afford in Japan), however here is full of flavor, as they don’t need to get cut when they are green or freeze them to be shipping while everywhere around the world. The mini bananas are very tasty. They also fried them and eat as a snack (Malaysia, 1RM 8 pieces).

A Filipino "banana dealer"

Yummy fried banana with grated coconut that we had as snack when visiting the Silt Village in Kota Kinabalu.


Mata-kucing 
Similar to a cat-eye when you open them , their taste is very sweet and can be eaten as candies. There are two varieties: wrinkled skin and plain one. The price is approximately 5RM per kg. You can see some pictures of Mata-kucing in this post.
 
Jack-fruit
Called langka in Tagalog, often confused with the durian for the size, but they have no spike and no stinky smell either. They have some delicious yellow flesh with some stone inside. It has a relative called Cempedak.

Look how massive is this jack-fruit.

 
This is what they look like when opened.
Santol
Just found it in Philippines, 10 php per piece. A bit sour.




Malaysian Fruit Market





Have you tried any of this fruits? Do you know any weird one to add to the list?
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