Surely the Mango Fruit needs no introduction. It must be by far one of the most popular and flavourful tropical fruits of all time. Trying to describe the mangoes unique flavour is difficult enough other than to say it's deliciously smooth, succulent and sweet.
I cannot think of anyone who doesn't or wouldn't like this fruit. Mangoes are thought to have originated from India, but are known to be widely grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world and Thailand is by no means an exception.
However, what you'll discover, is there are many varieties of this fruit available in Thailand. There are the customary oval-shaped ones with green, yellow and red skins or a possible combination of the colours and there is the Thai Green Mango which has a slight curvature, is a little less plump and with one edge narrowing to a dull point. I recommend you try the Thai variety and the best place for this is at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.
The fruit is brought into the floating market after being freshly picked by the locals early every morning. The boat people carefully prepare the fruit for you, then they will place the cut pieces into a cellophane bag along with a toothpick just before handing it over to you.
The flesh of the Thai Green Mango is somewhat yellow in colour with a smooth, velvety texture and a super sweet taste while the rounded variety tends to have a slight fibrous orange coloured flesh although equally delightfully sweet.
Mangoes can be eaten just as they are or they can be added to savoury and sweet dishes or even as a garnish in chutney or as pickles. Try them in a stir-fry with your favourite meat dish or as an ice-cream dessert. Thai cooks make a wonderful dessert using sweet mangoes with glutinous rice often referred to as Mango and Sticky Rice. Ask for this dessert when you next visit a Thai restaurant.
Here's a novel way to prepare mangoes at home. First cut off both ends of the fruit on either side of the pit, then scoop the flesh out of the skin with a spoon. After that, strip the skin off the remaining central part and then suck the flesh clean off the pit. It may seem messy to you, but it's the traditional Thai way of eating a mango. If that's not your style, you can always peel the fruit first and then just slice the flesh off the pit.
Mangoes are very often picked before they are completely ripe and because of this, it's best to buy them when they are still quite firm. They can always be allowed to ripen at home. One of the simplest and easiest ways of doing this is to wrap the fruit in some newspaper then place them in a box or large bowl and cover with more newspaper.
It matters not what colour the fruit is at the time of purchase as this is no indication as to their ripeness, but touch is. Ripe mangoes will yield when firmly pressed and when this is so, it's best to eat right away.
Dragon Fruit is a bizarre looking but beautiful and brightly coloured cactus type fruit. The flesh inside is white in colour with tiny black seeds. It's juicy with a mild sweet taste.
The Durian is a controversial exotic fruit that you will either love or loath. Eat it if you dare.
Rambutan is a tropical fruit and a close cousin of the Lychee and Longan family.
Mangosteens are apple-shaped fruits with leathery brown skins that turn purple when ripe. The creamy white flesh has a cool fresh sweet fragrant flavour similar in taste to that of a grapefruit.
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