When you’re shopping for fruits in your local supermarket, you may think there’s a lot of varieties of fruits available to you, maybe there is, but chances are it’s only a small fraction of what exists out there.
Typically you’ll find the regular stuff like apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, etc at any regular supermarket. But this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as what exists out there. Many fruits only grow in the jungle or are sold in far away tropical countries you’ll never visit, and therefore never get to experience.
Your best bet of finding some weird looking fruits is at a farmer’s market or an Asian supermarket. If you’ve ever been to one you might have noticed some exotic looking fruits you haven’t seen before, like plantains or lychee. But still, these are still quite well-known and most people probably would at least heard of it before.
Here in this post I’m going to go over the top 10 most exotic fruits in the world, and I’ll bet you’ve never heard of or eaten any of these before:
1. Kiwano Melon
This is my favorite on the list because it’s just so fun to look at. It totally looks like something from an alien planet with those horned spines and yellow/orange skin. The inside is green and has a bunch of seeds, really cool! It originates from southern and central Africa, and it tastes like a mix between bananas, cucumbers, lime, and melon.
It’s other names include Horned Melon, African Horned Cucumber, and Jelly Melon. It’s rich in vitamins A and C, magnesium, and potassium. It’s eaten all over in Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and in some parts of the US. It’s kind of expensive if you can find it, but it’s well worth it!
Also known as the “Queen of Fruits,” mangosteen originates from the Sunda Islands of the Malay archipelago, and Moluccas of Indonesia. They’re either dark red or purple in color and the flesh is white, the taste is sweet and some describe it as being a mix between strawberry, peach, and vanilla ice cream. They weren’t available in the US prior to 2007 because of a ban due to Asian fruit flies associated with the fruit, but the ban has been lifted now, even so they’re still pretty hard to find in supermarkets.
3. Buddha’s Hand
This is probably the most unusually shaped and creepiest looking fruit on the list, I’m sure you can guess where it’s got it’s name from. It’s a citrus fruit, like lemons, but the peel is not as bitter. People mostly use the zest for flavoring in baking and cooking, or making candied citrus peels. This weird fruit originates from Northeast India and China.
4. Salak aka “Snake Fruit”
Another fruit where it’s obviously where it got it’s name from. The reddish-brown scaly skin might look a bit intimidating, but the white sweet and sour flesh inside is actually quite tasty, it tastes like a cross between pineapple and lime. It’s native to Southeast Asia in places like Java and Indonesia, and it is a very popular street snack in Bangkok, Thailand.
Don’t they look just like little baby watermelons? They taste nothing like watermelons though! These cucamelons originate from Mexico and Central America, and it’s a fruit that’s been enjoyed for thousands of years since the ancient Aztec civilizations. It tastes like a cucumber but it’s a bit sour, you can eat them right off the vines or toss them in a salad. It’s other names include Mouse melon, Mexican miniature watermelon, and Mexican sour cucumber.
Having grown up in Asia, I’ve eaten starfruits many times as a child. They’re more sour than sweet, and tastes like a cross between green apples, pears, and grapes. The flavors are quite mild and frankly not my favorite, but still very pretty to put on a plate and serve to guests. The best way to eat starfruit is to cut it up into thin slices.
The starfruit is native to many countries in southeast Asia like Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Nepal, India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. People with kidney problems shouldn’t eat starfruit, but people with healthy kidneys can eat all the starfruits to their heart’s desire without any issues.
It’s other names include custard apple and graviola. It originates from Central America and the Caribbean Islands, this green spiky skinned fruit has a white flesh that sweet and sour. It’s commonly used to make ice cream, sweet drinks, and other sweet snacks in South America.
This thing is not only a fruit but it can also be used as a weapon! Just kidding… well, not really. I mean, you have to be really careful to stand under a durian tree, you’re dead if one of these large spiky things drop on your head.
It’s also known as the “King of Fruits,” it is infamous for it’s stinky smell. In fact, it’s so stinky that it’s banned in hotels, trains, and buses in some countries in Singapore. I personally don’t have a problem with the smell, and I love eating it. The soft yellow flesh inside is creamy and custard-like. You can usually find them in Asian supermarkets where it’s typically sold frozen.
Take a closer look at the inside of the durian fruit:
The jackfruit looks a lot like the durian on the outside, but on the inside they look and tastes completely different. The flesh of the jackfruit tastes sweet like a cross between pineapple and apple with a hint of bubblegum flavor, it’s actually quite tasty. It originates from India and Sri Lanka. Jackfruit is really big and usually they take off the shell and sold in supermarkets in little packages.
The name “rambutan” comes from the Malay word rambut which means “hairy,” I’m sure you can see why. The flesh of the rambutan is very similar to the lychee, but rambutans are less crispy and more creamy. They originate from the tropical Southeast Asian regions, the Malay-Indonesia area in particular. They are sweet and a bit sour and tastes like grapes that are more firm. They are very healthy and loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants.
I hope this post have inspired you to go find a local farmer’s market or Asian grocery store in search for some of these weird looking exotic fruits. It’s very exciting to find something that looks so foreign and exotic, a kind of feeling you don’t normally get when you go fruit shopping at a regular grocery store.
Care to share any exotic fruits you’ve had before? Leave them in the comments below.
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