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Thailand has an abundance of tropical fruits all year round. It would be a shame if you missed eating savory Thai fruits, at such an inexpensive price, while visiting Thailand.

Buying fruits can be so much fun if you know something about them and how to choose the right ones. Fruits grown in Thailand are both seasonal and year-round.

The most common fruits that are available all year are bananas, papayas and tangerines.


Among various kinds of bananas, kluay nam wah is the most common breed. It's approximately four inches long. The green thick skin becomes thinner and turns light yellow as it ripens.

The outside of the meat is creamy white while the inside can be a bit yellow or have a slightly reddish color. The meat is finer and stickier than in normal bananas you get in the West. Moreover, the kluay nam wah meat is softer around the core of the fruit. The meat becomes sweeter as it gets riper.

Banana Selecting Tips

A good way to select bananas is choosing the fruits that are really roundish in shape. This indicates that the fruits are healthy and were ripe enough when picked. Young bananas are green. Once they start to ripen, the green color becomes lighter green and eventually turns light yellow.

Find tropical fruits in Thailand including many kinds of bananas
A nice looking green hand of bananas can take a few days to ripen. If the bananas were harvested too early, they might take a few more weeks to ripen. In that case, they won't ripen naturally and usually won't taste good either.

Thus, it's wise to choose a hand where a few bananas have started to turn slightly yellow. This way the fruits will ripen gradually and you can finish the whole hand over several days. In warm countries like Thailand, fruits ripen quickly. If you buy a hand that's all yellow, you might not be able to finish it before it goes bad.

A bunch of bananas at a market ranges from 15-60 baht depending on the size, time of the year and where you buy it.

One thing to watch out for when handling bananas is the sap. Freshly cut bananas are rich in sap which can stain your hands and clothes.

On very rare occasions, you can find a few black-hard seeds in the fruits. Bananas with seeds come from old banana trees that had already yielded fruits a few times. The seeds are a bit bigger than whole black pepper. We don't eat the seeds.

Papaya Or Mala Koh

The most common papaya grown in Thailand today is skinny papaya mala koh khaeg dumb and capsule-shaped papaya mala koh Holland.

Skinny Papaya Or Mala Koh Khaeg Dumb

Mala koh khaeg dumb has been cultivated in Thailand for a long time. The size varies, but in general it's about 4 inches wide and 9 - 12 inches long. The meat is sweet and juicy with a firm texture.

Skinny Papaya Selecting Tips

You can select a tasty skinny papaya by choosing one that's heavy. Paying attention to the skin color is another good tip. Young papayas are green. When they start to ripen, some parts of the skin turn orange-red.
There are plenty of papayas and other tropical fruits in Thailand
This color will cover most of the fruit when the papaya is just right to eat.

Pick one that has turned bright orange-red; not pale. A kilogram of papaya costs around 20-40 baht.

Capsule-Shaped Papaya

This imported breed of papaya has gained popularity in the past few years. It takes the shape of a big capsule with red skin. In Thailand we call it mala koh Holland.

Capsule-Shaped Papaya Selecting Tips

Choose one that's evenly orange and heavy. However, make sure it's not bruised. The price per kilo is about 20-40 baht.

Cut Papayas

It can be quite difficult to choose a good papaya if you're not familiar with the fruit and peeling it can be quite troublesome without having access to a kitchen. In that case, buying already cut papaya is your best option.

Ready-to-eat papaya is available in styrofoam trays wrapped in plastic. You can buy it at most supermarkets and local markets. Fruit-cart vendors also sell it.

Cut Papaya Buying Tips

Cut papaya is offered by most fruit vendors in Thailand
To select good papayas keep the following in mind:

- The surface of the meat should be smooth and dry. It shouldn't be soggy which usually means the papaya has been lying around for hours.

- The meat should have a bright, even color (either red or orange).

- The meat should be thick and dense.


Thais call tangerines and mandarins som. But if you mention these words to Thais, most of them wouldn't understand what you mean. Instead, Thais use the English word orange for both tangerines and mandarins.

There are a few common breeds of tangerines. The most common tangerines grown in Thailand are som keo-waan, som shogun and som sai nam pung.

Som keo waan
and som shogun look almost alike, but som shogun normally is a bit bigger and the skin is usually greener. Some sai nam pung is the most orange in color.

Som keo waan is commonly grown in central Thailand, while som shogun is typical to the south and som sai nam pung to the north.

Although you might be able to buy tangerines all-year round, they're in abundance and taste the best between October and February.

Tangerine Selecting Tips

Three main tips in choosing good tangerines are weight, the shape of the bottom of the fruit and the softness and color of the peel.

Pick heavy oranges since it assures a high water content in the fruit, which makes it juicy. One way to find out whether an orange is ripe or not is looking at the bottom of the fruit.
A variety of tangerines are available in Thailand

Most of the time tangarines aren't completely round. So, choose a fruit with a slightly concave bottom which is a sign of ripeness.

The softness and color of the peel is another way to help you pick the right citrus fruits. Soft-peeled tangerines are generally good. The ones with hard and thick peel are either too young or dry.

Normally, tangerines in Thailand are green with a shade of orange. This depends on the breed - some are more orange while others are more green. However, in general the peel of a fully ripe tangerine turns a bit yellow orange over a green background. The ones with brown stains on them might not look appealing to the eye, but they're usually sweet.

Thus, don't look for a nice-looking roundish dark-green tangerine, because it's usually young and sour.

Tangerine is often coated with wax to preserve it and to make it look nice and shiny. However, the flavor changes for the worse over time. So, always opt to buy ones without wax.

If however, you can't find any tangerines without wax, make sure you consume them within a few days...

Tangerine prices range from 50-150 baht per kilo. During the tangerine season, small tangerines that fruit-juice vendors use can be as little as 30 baht per kilo.

Most fruits vendors in Thailand are generous by allowing customers to pick their own fruits.

Apply these simple tips whenever you go fruit shopping in Thailand. Just make sure you don't squeeze the fruits since it could damage them and upset the vendors.

Suggested Reading:   Citrus Yogurt Drink   Pineapple Tips

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