Experiences in Thailand
By Leslie Welshimer
If someone had said the word, “fruit,” to me five months ago, my brain would have conjured up images of apples, oranges and bananas. If I were feeling really posh, I may have conjured up thoughts of fruits like blueberries and raspberries.
My fruit world has been shaken up in Thailand. The fruit in Thailand is easily in my top 10 favorite things here. It’s like fruit paradise, where mangos, fresh coconuts, pineapples and papayas fall from the sky.
The markets are full of tables of seemingly every fruit imaginable. Many of the fruits have exceeded my imagination, as I didn’t even know they existed before.
I could easily write a book just about the fruits here, but since I know everyone is busy, I’ll start by focusing on one of the most highly regarded and talked about fruits for this blog entry – Meet the Queen of Fruit.
The mangosteen (called mankut) is commonly referred to as the “Queen of Fruit”. It arrives on the scene in May and typically thrives until September.
Many meals I’ve had in southern Thailand have concluded with mangosteen for dessert. In my impression, the mangosteen is a bit like a marriage of a pineapple and orange. It’s a happy marriage indeed.
Its skin is thick with dark-red/ purple color. To uncover its sweet inside, you push in with your fingers, twisting slightly to loosen its grip and then the skin is peeled with ease. When ripe, the mangosteen should open with gentle finger pressure.
Inside, you’ll discover soft, white segments that resemble the appearance of the interior of a tangerine. The taste is sweet, with a slight tangy flavor.
You can eat mangosteen guilt-free. It is said to be nutritious and contains healthy benefits like calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B and C.
Mangosteen, like many other fruits, also makes a “mean” juice and smoothie that is as delicious as the fruit in its original form.
If you are lucky enough to visit southern Thailand during mangosteen season, be sure to wander the local markets to treat your senses to the Queen of Fruit.
Do you have a favorite fruit common in Thailand or a memorable Thai food experience? Don’t be shy – share your thoughts.
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