Eating on a holiday is one of the most blissful things in the world. There are countless of edible stuff the you must try in Koh Samui and we think everyone will agree that fresh fruits should be included in the list. Samui is in the tropics and has a weather that is conducive to growing a number of the most luscious fruits you will ever taste. The variety of fruits available is impressive and since they are abundant, you can get them for a good price too. When you visit the local markets, look for the following:
The King of fruits, durian will never be love at first sight, or smell. Its sharp spikes that can cut through your skin if you are not careful will make you want to get away from it and its smell will urge you to step even farther away. Despite its seemingly obnoxious reputation, durian is one of the tastiest fruits you will ever come across. Its flavor profile is so interesting with its lactonic qualities. It is sort of milky and almost cheesy when ripe. It tastes great on its own especially if chilled. However, it also pops as a dessert ingredient. It is fabulous as an ice cream flavor and works as a component for a cheesecake too. It can be made into preserves or jam and goes well with sugar that durian candies in different shapes and forms have been popular for many years. Durian can also be added to coffee to make an incredible tasting latte. If you haven’t tried durian ever, don’t be afraid to give it a taste. Find a vendor, buy a few ripe pieces (already peeled) and give it a shot. Your first time may not be that stellar but we will assure you that days afterwards, you will think about its taste and maybe even crave for it. For some reasons, durian and Coke (the beverage) go well together. Try the combo.
Round with a burgundy colored tough shell, mangosteen is a tropical fruit with a white sour flesh that is divided into sections. The interesting thing about mangosteen is that the number of sections inside is equal to the number of petals found on the hard shell. This has a subtle flavor that is quite close to soursop. It is eaten as is or made into a refreshing juice. Its shell can be dried and made into tea. Mangosteen is rich in antioxidants, is a good source of Vitamin C, and is believed to be a possible cure for cancer.
Sweet, fibrous, with a rough skin dotted with “eyes” and topped with spiky leaves, you’d think Mother Nature must be playing some kind of a joke when she created pineapple. But it is definitely one of the most popular tropical fruits in the world. It takes a bit of skill to peel and slice this fruit and sometimes you can pick one that is so sour that it bites the tongue. When it is sweet and ripe, it tastes amazing. On the island you can enjoy it fresh although you can also buy it canned. Pineapple, with it’s sweet, sour, and fruity flavor profile, is commonly used in cooking. It can be made into juice, jam, and puree, and is an excellent salad add-on. Its juice is an incredible meat tenderizer and is an ingredient used in marinades. Pineapple can also be added to some curry dishes and gives a tropical flavor to burgers and pizza. This fruit can also be grilled and be incorporated in desserts. It is great on its own and blends well with coconut, oranges, and mango.
A fruit that is rich in fiber and lycopene, papaya was referred to as “fruit of the angels” by explorer Christopher Colombus. Like coconut, the papaya plant has a lot of uses. Everything from the fruit, stem, and leaves has benefits. When peeled, this fruit reveals its bright red orange pulp. Some varieties have more yellowish interiors. Papaya has black seeds which you should remove before eating. The seeds taste bitter although are used in alternative medicine.
Papaya is best when sweet and ripe. It aids in digestion, is low in calories, and is a filling snack that you can top with condensed milk or eat on its own. It can also be made into smoothie or dried as chips.
Green papaya is usually made into a salad or added to curries. It can also be shredded and made into fritters. Green papaya can be pickled too and eaten as an appetizer or as a garnish to grilled meat and seafood.
A big pink rose-bud looking fruit with a skin that looks like an overlay of leaves, dragonfruit is another lovely tasting natural food you should sample in Koh Samui. The peel can easily be removed by slicing the top and bottom portions and carefully pulling off the leathery peel downwards, like when you are peeling a banana. The inside flesh which you can eat could be white or dark pink in color with countless black edible dots. It has a texture and feel similar to kiwi and ripe papaya combined. It tastes a little sweet, a little bland but it is interesting nevertheless. Dragon Fruit is best when chilled. It can be added to salads or blended to a smoothie. This has only 60 calorie per 100 grams and is a refreshing fruit that also makes an interesting table centerpiece.
Thai mangoes are truly some stuff of legend. They are beautifully sweet and will entice your taste buds whether they are still green or ripe. Green mangoes are sour and crunchy and when eaten plain will make your face look really funny. Green mangoes with their sour taste go well with salt, fish sauce, and shrimp paste. You can eat them as is or as an ingredient to salad. In some Asian countries, green mangoes are sometimes added to steamed or boiled fish to remove the smell and to add flavor.
Ripe mangoes are bright yellow, sweet, pulpy, and very tropical tasting. It has a flavor profile comparable to passion fruit so it is not surprising that they are often used together in some recipes. Ripe mangoes can be eaten by slicing it into 3 parts yielding 2 cheeks and a middle part that has the seed. Using a spoon or a glass to “spoon” the cheeky pulp, you can now enjoy the ripe flesh of the yellow Thai mangoes.
Because it is naturally sweet, it is great as a preserve or jam. It can also be dried as mango chips. Mangoes also work as a smoothie, sorbet, and ice cream. As is, it can be eaten with sticky rice. It can be sliced or cubed and added to salad as well. Mangoes taste amazing whether chilled or at room temperature.
While it is not exactly sure how many varieties of bananas are available in Koh Samui, the only thing that we can say is that they are abundant on the island. They come in varying sizes, shapes (some are chubby and rounded while some are thin and long), tastes and textures (some are smooth while others are starchy and fibrous). Oh and there are green bananas, yellow bananas and red bananas too.
Perfect as a snack and can be eaten without too much effort, Thai bananas are worth trying. You can eat them with oatmeal, with sticky rice, as is, with yogurt, or with ice cream too.
Sometimes confused with grapefruit, pomelo is a citrus fruit that is pretty common in Thailand and Southeast Asia. There is pink pomelo, which is a bit sweeter and a pale yellow green pomelo that is more sour and a bit bitter. Both have light yellow skin similar to grapefruit. Pomelo can be eaten as is or tossed into a salad. It is juicy, fragrant, and refreshing. Pomelo is also believed to boost fertility so stock up if you are on your honeymoon.
Exotic and seedy, guava traces its origin to Central America. It has an herbal smelling green outer skin which is edible and a pale sometimes pink interior with a lot of seeds that can also be eaten. The preference in eating guava varies on person to person. Some like guavas semi ripe, sweet enough but very crunchy. Others prefer it fully ripe so it is soft, sweet, and smells a bit pungent. Guava can be made into jam or added in some savory dishes as well to give them an exotic touch. This fruit is rich in Vitamin C and is good for the tummy. Its leaves can be made into an herbal tea and are also boiled and added in bath water to treat skin conditions such as heat rash, mosquito bites, and acne. Guava leaves are also great for wound healing.
A fruit from the fig family, jackfruits are known to be huge. In fact this specie is the largest tree obtained fruit. Some are so big they weigh up to 35 kilograms, which is heavier than a small sack of rice. It has a tough outer shell and produces a sappy, latex like substance. When you prepare this, it can be sticky and messy so better buy those that are already peeled. Its inner soft petals that contain the seeds are a bit juicy, chewy, and sweet. This fleshy part is an ingredient for many Asian desserts. The seeds of jackfruit can be boiled, peeled and eaten. The fruit when raw is cooked in coconut milk in some countries like the Philippines. This variety of mulberry is the official fruit of Bangladesh as well.
In Koh Samui you can see a lot of this. It is added to banana fritters to elevate their flavor and is also dried or cooked in syrup to make jackfruit preserves.
Big, round, with a green tough shell, watermelon is easily recognizable. Its watery interior is edible and is usually red in color although yellow varieties exist as well. It has brown flat seeds that are dried and toasted to make a snack that you peel one by one. This refreshing fruit is very hydrating and is related to cucumber.
Watermelon is eaten as is, often chilled. It can also be made into sorbets and fruit shakes. Its watery, slightly crispy flesh is also great in salads and is yummy with cheese.
This brown pod-like fruit is a mainstay in Thai cuisine. It has a woody sort of outer shell than is thin and a pulp that has the seeds. Typical tamarind is sour and is used in Thai dishes that call for an acidic or sour element. It is used in pad Thai and for different Thai stews and soups. The pulp when peeled and deseeded is also used to make tamarind juice or tamarind candy. The sour fruity taste is refreshing as a beverage.
A variety called sweet tamarind is naturally sticky and sweet when ripe and can be eaten straight from the pod. When ripe, the peel becomes brittle and is easy to break open using just your hands.
Also known as lanzones, langsat is a round fruit with soft leathery peel and a translucent, sectioned interior that is edible. The sections taste a little sweet and a little sour and may contain a seed. Langsat is a great source of Vitamin C and is a remedy for digestive issues. The seeds are believed to treat ulcer. Lanzones is also cooling for the body and is a known febrifuge, meaning it can lower the body temperature which is important when one has fevers. As you pry open the fruit with your hands, you will feel some sap being released so it can be a little messy and sticky to eat and may stain the inside of the fingernails.
Technically not a fruit but a nut, coconut is a Thai essential. It has a sweet water inside and a white meat than can be very soft or very hard depending on the age of the coconut. Young ones have sweet water but very little meat. As they mature, the white part becomes substantial while the water loses its sweetness and becomes more acidic. The meat tastes a little sweet and is high in calories. Mature coconut meat is grated, pressed, and made into coconut milk and coconut cream.