Weird and Wonderful Fruits of Thailand, Part 2

Rambutans, mangosteen, guava and chompoo – if you have no idea what I’m talking about then check out Part 1 of our weird and wonderful fruits of Thailand blog! As I’m thinking about what fruits to include for Part 2, all I can hear is the sound of heavy rain against my window. Being July, it is the rainy season in Thailand and many fruits I haven’t had for a while are now back in abundance.


To be frank I don’t personally know what fruits are in season when, but in Thailand they make it pretty obvious! Many dessert and ice cream stores will start to come out with special seasonal menus such as durian sticky rice or ‘mayongchid’ (marian plum) flavoured ice creams. You will also start to see certain fruits everywhere. Recently I’ve been driving past lots of utes filled with durian being sold for about 100 – 200 Baht per kilo and market stalls with big piles of mangosteen. Let’s have a look at some of these fruits that are currently in season.

Different durian varieties sold on the side of the road (Image source | Poon Nina)


Fruits of the rainy season


According to the Thai Meteorological Department, the rainy season starts from about mid May to mid October with some parts of Southern Thailand experiencing heavy rainfall well into December. The rainy season brings fruits such as durian, rambutan, mangosteen, custard apple, pomelo, guava, jackfruit, starfruit, longan, a few varieties of bananas and the list goes on!


Turian (durian)

There’s no denying that durian is one of the more intimidating fruits to try in Thailand due to its reputation of being ‘the stinky fruit’. Some think the smell is unbearable but others just can’t get enough of it, I guess the reaction is similar to that of blue cheese. Although the exterior of a durian is somewhat scary with its hard spikes, once it’s opened up you’ll be faced with delicious (yes I’m a durian fan!) segments of pillowy flesh that are sweet and creamy. Here are some of the more popular varieties of durian in Thailand :

  • Monthong

The word Monthong literally translates to golden pillow in Thai which perfectly describes the golden yellow and plumpness of the flesh of this variety. It is said that those who have never tried durian before should start with this variety due to its milder scent whilst still being very sweet.

  • Chanee

The flesh of this variety is a deeper yellow and offers a much more intense sweetness and taste (which also means much more intense aroma). The texture is smooth and very creamy with a slight chewiness.

  • Kanyao

The Kanyao fruit is rounder in shape and has a long stem at the top and you guessed it, Kanyao means long stem in Thai. The flesh is very buttery and very creamy but doesn’t have the intense taste of the Chanee.

Monthong durian (Image source | Thairath)

Noina (custard apple)

Another fruit that has a slightly scary looking exterior but a sweet and wonderful interior. The outside is an apple green with a rocky bumpy look. The flesh inside is white and surrounds lots of oval-shaped black seeds. The taste is sweet, creamy and custardy.

(Image source | Farm Channel Thailand)


Som O (pomelo)

Not my personal favourite but I remember always seeing my mum munching on some pomelo pieces when growing up, there would always be a plate in the fridge! Som O is a large citrus fruit, like a bigger version of an orange but green on the outside and light yellow or pink on the inside. It’s juicy and refreshing and has a similar flavour profile to the grapefruit minus the bitterness. Each segment of the fruit can also be broken down into small rice-shaped pieces that reminds me of finger limes.

Half peeled and unpeeled Som O (Image source | Kaset Kao Klai)


Rice-shaped pieces of Som O (Image source | Jazzy Bong)


Mafueng (starfruit)

 My starfruit tree in the front garden


If you grew up in Thailand you would probably have memories of painting on these  and using them as star-shaped stamps during arts and crafts. I actually have a mafueng tree in my front garden and it has been producing an abundance of fruit this month! The taste can be quite sour and a bit bitter if eaten unripe and quite sweet and tart when ripened.

 The cross section of a starfruit looks like a star! (Image source | Wikilimages)


Bonus fruit – Talingping (bilimbi)

Not a rainy season fruit but I’ve always seen them in my mum’s garden and find them to be quite strange and fascinating. It’s a fruit that most people can’t tolerate due to its extreme sourness (although both my brother and partner love it) and grows on the tree in a very peculiar way. The fruit is long and green and about the size of a thumb and usually eaten with chilli dips to cut the sourness. Unfortunately these aren’t stocked at supermarkets so if you are wanting to give them a try it might be a bit tricky to find!

Don’t you think the bilimbi grows in such a peculiar way? (Image source | SGE Thai)


Article by Oun V.



Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University

Thai Meteorological Department