Thailand is home to some of the most exotic fruits and vegetables in the world. As it is part of Southeast Asia, many of these foods are shared with other nearby nations. Visitors clearly will get a mouthful upon tasting durian, one of the most controversial fruits in matter of taste. Apart from durian, Thailand is famous for other fruits and veggies that are undoubtedly some of the best cancer-fighting foods in the world.
As it is definitely true that fruits and vegetables should be part of one’s daily diet, these mouth-watering bites make it easy to get your daily servings. Just going to a market can open up your mind when you see the many types of vegetables and fruits displayed. Moreover, a market trip is the best way to sample some of the most delicious foods in the world.
10 Must Try Fruits and Vegetables in Thailand
Best of Thailand’s fruits and vegetables, listed below.
This beautiful, purple fruit is sometimes called the ‘queen of fruits’ as its taste is absolutely mouthwatering. Clearly, it features just the right combination of sweet and sour tastes. Moreover, upon biting into it, its white, grape-like fleshy inside is juicy and refreshing. Despite its dessert-like taste, mangosteen definitely offers many health benefits. The exotic fruit is loaded with nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants, making it a good fruit to fight cancer.
The miraculous fruit is also known to help with weight loss. Furthermore, adding it to your daily diet may help you shed body fat as it helps speed up your metabolism. Mangosteen also has been studied to control blood sugar levels.
When you hear of eggplant, you may be thinking of the long, purple type. But Thai eggplants are small, round, and green. As it is most used in Thailand’s green curry dish, it is also used in other cuisines. Although they are quite crunchy at first, upon cooking the eggplant, it becomes softer and more flavourful when cooked.
Thai eggplant is also known for its health benefits. Studies have shown that it can help with weight loss and fight cancer. Although it is usually referred to as a vegetable, it is technically a fruit, as it grows from a flowering plant and contains seeds. Regardless of its classification, Thai eggplant is a nutrient-dense food and only contains 20 calories per cup!
Despite its ability to totally turn off people due to its strong aroma, durian remains one of the most popular fruits in Southeast Asia. But don’t even think about bringing it on a public transportation system, as it is often banned. However, if you are still interested after holding your nose, try tasting durian-flavoured food products like ice cream. If this is okay for you, then you can ease into trying the fruit.
It can be said that once you try durian and get its infamous taste in your mouth, you will be a lover for life. Moreover, eating durian can help your health in many different ways. First, it is said that pregnant women should incorporate the fruit into their diet as it features a lot of folic acid. Durian also is said to aid in anemia as its folic acid increases the production of hemoglobin, which is what is lacking in an anemia diagnosis. Furthermore, the fruit can work wonders for depression as it contains the amino acid of tryptophan, which the body requires in order to produce seratonin and melatonin.
Rambutans are definitely one of the most exotic looking fruits in which to try. But, make no mistake, it is also one of the most delicious. As its outside looks quite furry, the red fruit features a white, fleshy center, much like mangosteen. Most who try rambutan compare it to a grape in taste and it is truly a light and refreshing mouthful.
Although rambutan is native to Malaysia, it is still grown in Thailand and its popularity is spreading worldwide. These fruits are native to Malaysia, but have recently begun to spread throughout the rest of the world. Moreover, the fruit is packed with nutrients and provides vital nutrition. Much like durian, it is recommended for pregnant women to eat as it contains folate. Furthermore, the fruit offers potassium and vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant and immune system booster.
The galanga root is used to improve certain illnesses. For example, it is believed to reduce inflammation, fight cancer, and treat infections. Furthermore, it is thought to increase male fertility.
Even though it is similar to ginger and turmeric, galanga’s taste is sharper, spicier and a bit more peppery than its peers. Regardless, it is one spice that is thought to be very important to one’s health.
6. Thai Chili
Thai chili is one of many types of chilis that are consumed worldwide. Although it looks like a vegetable, it is actually categorised as a fruit. Known for its spicy taste, its main ingredient is capsaicin, which is packed with health benefits.
Vitamin C is plentiful in this fruit and it clearly aids in many types of health problems. However, chilis also include vitamin B6, which helps in metabolism and vitamin K1, which is essential for helping blood to clot. K1 also helps with healthy bones and kidneys. Furthermore, chilis also feature potassium, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease. But, perhaps the most unique ingredient, is copper. Known to be a deficiency in western diets, copper is important for maintaining strong bones and healthy neurons.
Despite its less than appealing appearance, once you bite into longan, your mouth will be delighted. As with mangosteen and rambutan, longan also features a fleshy, white interior. However, its sweetness is a step higher than rambutan’s and is a great light snack.
Longan features vitamin C, with 1 ounce of the fruit making up almost 40% of the recommended daily amount of the vitamin. Vitamin C is one of the most important vitamins for humans, as it aids in healthy bone development, blood vessels, skin and immunity. Although the fruit isn’t as power-packed with nutrients as its peers, it still has several nutrients that are important for one’s health. Moreover, grabbing a bag of longan is cheap and can be eaten by just peeling the shell with your hand. This fruit is definitely one of convenience!
8. Dragon Fruit
A climbing cactus called hylocereus features this growing fruit in tropical regions worldwide. Dragon fruit, unlike other fruits, is quite tasteless. But, don’t be misled, as its mild taste gives way to some major health benefits. Antioxidants are plentiful in this fruit, which are known to protect your cells from free radical damage, helping your body fight off cancer.
As it is naturally fat free and high in fiber, those who try dragon fruit, say it definitely can help you stay full for longer. And, those who use this fruit to eat less, report its weight reducing properties. Furthermore, it has prebiotics, which help balance the relationship between good and bad bacteria in your intestines. The fruit is also known for its high amounts of vitamin C and iron, which help improve immunity and energy.
Similar to longan, lychee tastes and looks quite like its peer. As it is fat free, lychee is a good replacement for other, more fattening snacks. Furthermore, fresh lychee provides vitamins like niacin, vitamin B6 and folate. These nutrients help with cholesterol, and the healthy development of a baby in its mother’s womb. Phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese are also ingredients in lychee, which undoubtedly aid in health.
For those on a diet, the fruit’s polyphenol extract can reduce body weight, abdominal circumference, and visceral fat. The latter, most definitely, being a strong indicator of possible future heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Lychee also includes fiber and antioxidants, in case you weren’t already convinced of its health properties.
10. Bamboo Shoot
Bamboo shoots are gaining popularity worldwide as health nuts are taking notice. Now featured in a variety of products like breakfast cereals, and shreeded cheese, bamboo is finally being recognised for its health benefits. Known as a seasonal delicacy, Thailand uses the shoots in mind-blowing curries as well as stir-friend on its own.
Bamboo shoots are rich in nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals. Furthermore, they are low in sugar and fat. One of the most promising components of bamboo is that of its high amount of phytosterols and fiber. These nutrients are now being labelled by scientists as natural medicines or nutraceuticals after further testing. Moreover, bamboo shoots have been found to aid in the fight against cancer, and viruses.
No matter what kind of fruit or vegetable you see at any of the Thai markets, it is sure to be a delightful bite. With many being unknown to those in the western world, trying one of these juicy treats can boost both your mood and health.
Packed with nutrients, it is clearly a good idea to incorporate fruits and veggies into your diet, and there may not be a better place in which to try unique ones than at a market in Thailand. Cheap and tasty, healthy and light, these delicacies will surely increase your energy and keep you hydrated in the hot, tropical sun.
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