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Phuket Magazine

  • 5 Strange looking but great Thai Fruits

    Tropical fruits in Phuket

    Thai cuisine is full of unique flavours and exotic ingredients, which is nowhere more evident than in the following list of weird fruits in Phuket. While most of them taste delightful, their sheer oddness can worry people who have never encountered them before. From unusual shapes to distinctive smells, these are probably going to be the strangest things you will encounter in Phuket and, unless you decide to chow down on some edible insects, will almost certainly be the most abnormal thing you eat while you’re here!

    Naturally, it is a big help in overcoming trepidation if you know a little about the bizarre articles you see on sale in the fresh markets of Phuket, some of which look like makeshift weapons while others look like they came from a different planet! With the following information, you can feel confident in trying out some really remarkable culinary experiences.

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    Looking more like a medieval mace than a tasty treat, the durian is known locally as the ‘king of fruits’. While it is extremely popular with Thais, expatriates and tourists tend to be starkly divided between those who adore its flavour and those who abhor its smell. The former has been described as resembling a mix of cream cheese, onion sauce and sherry while the latter has been likened to decomposing flesh! This rather distinctive pong means that durian is banned from certain places, including many hotels, taxis, minivans and buses. While having absolutely no cholesterol in its pale yellow flesh, it is loaded with natural sugars, which may have contributed to the myth that you can’t mix durian with alcohol.


    Thailand’s national fruit has a thick, hard outer casing which conceals surprisingly dainty segmented white flesh. It has a delightfully subtle, almost sherbet-like taste. Interestingly enough, the number of fleshy segments inside the tough rind corresponds to the number of tiny tabs seen on the bottom of the fruit before peeling. You can open this fruit relatively easily with your hands and, once you bite into the segments, you’ll be hooked for life.


    The rambutan’s name is derived from the Malay word for ‘rambut,’ meaning ‘hair’ – the reason for which is pretty obvious. Look past this weird exterior and try peeling away the red and yellow spiky rind and you’ll discover white, translucent flesh with a seed at its heart. Rambutan flesh is almost identical in appearance and texture to lychee, but the taste differs slightly, with the hairy fruit having a grape-like flavour – mostly sweet and creamy, with a slight sour edge.

    Custard Apple

    Also known as a ‘sugar apple’ or as a ‘bull’s heart’ and originally from Central America, the custard apple looks like an overgrown, bloated green raspberry. You can easily break this fruit into two halves with your hands and the contents is then best eaten with a spoon. Sometimes people mix it with coconut milk and cool it off to make delicious homemade ice cream. Custard apples are valued both for their great taste and for their fabled medicinal qualities.

    Dragon Fruit

    If you open this pinkish-purple, hostile-looking little fruit, you’ll see that the white creamy inner flesh has a polka-dot pattern of black seeds. Dragon fruits are actually related to the cactus family, require bats for their pollination and are rated as effective laxatives, so don’t eat too many in one go! They go great in shakes and the polka dot seeds add an interesting texture for good measure.

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