Tropical Fruits are juicy, sweet, and remind us of our last holiday at the beach.
Sun and summer, hot happy feelings ebb and flow when we think of Mango, Pineapple, and Papayas.
But these popular tropical fruits are just a fraction of what we know.
There are countless quirky but super flavorful and natural sweet exotic fruits out there!
Global Food Recipes
with Spices and Herbs
Free E-Book available for a limited time. Grab yours now and get instantly inspired!
You missed out!
- 🍈 Pomelo
- 🍏 Ice Apple
- 🥭 Mango
- 🌺 Curuba
- 🍸 Soursop (aka Graviola/Guyabano)
- 🦜 Granadilla
- 🍓 Bayberries (aka Yumberries, Yangmei)
- 🥔 Tamarind
- 🟡 Buddha's Claws/Hands
- 🟤 Tamarind Plum
- 🥒 Cucumber Tree Fruit
- 🍫 Cacao/Cocoa Fruit
- ⭐ Star Fruit (aka Starfruit, Carambola)
- 🍏 Sugar Apple (aka Custard Apple, Sweetsop)
- ❤️ Bull's Heart aka Wild Sweetsop
- 💛 Uchuva (aka Physalis, Peruvian Groundcherry, Golden Berries)
- 🟣 Java Plum (aka Black Plum, Jambul)
- 🌿 Mamey (aka Mamey Sapote)
- 🌄 Mangosteen
- 🍞 Breadfruit
- 🌴 Chontaduro (aka Peach Palm)
- 🍎 Java Apple (aka Love Apple, Rose Apple)
- 🐍 Snake Fruit (aka Salak)
- 🍒 Jujube Date
- 🐉 Dragon Fruit aka Pitaya
- 🙋♂️ Jackfruit
- 🌰 Longan
- 🇵🇭 Bignay
- 🧡 Papaya
- 🍥 Rollinia
- 🥝 Feijoa
- 🍌 Banana
- 🍊 Naranja Agria (aka Bitter Orange, Seville Orange)
- 🍐 Guava
- 🍇 Sea Grapes
- 🖐️ Finger Lime
- 🍉 Yellow Watermelon
- 🌰 Rambutan (aka Chom Chom Fruit)
- 🥘 Hog Plum / Spondias Plum varieties
- 🍋 Limon Mandarina (aka Rangpur Lime, Rangpur Orange)
- 🍍 Black Pineapple
- 🍹 Lulo
- 🪓 Bael Fruit (aka Bel, Wood Apple)
- 🌳 Durian
- 🥃 Cashew Fruit
- ⚪️ Mamoncillo (aka Spanish Lime)
- 🍲 Kokum
- 🍬 Baobab Fruit
- 🌸 Purple Star Fruit
- 🍑 Marian Plum (aka Plum Mango)
- 🔮 Amla aka Indian Gooseberry
- ❤️🔥 Maracuja/Passion Fruit
- 🥤 Sapodilla (aka Zapota, Chikoo)
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
I reached out to travel blogger friends from all over the world and asked them to share their amazing tropical fruit discoveries.
Little did I know that we would exceed our expectations, with some of the weirdest fruits having made an appearance.
This is not your usual list of tropical fruits. This is the ultimate collection of exotic fruits from the tropics. I am bound to update this “database” whenever someone shares a new fruit.
My traveling friends share their perspectives and how they learned about the fruit in their picture. I also share all my fruits (most of which have been growing in our garden).
Do you know all the tropical fruits?
Which one is new to you?
Is a fruit missing?
You are welcome to share with us your thoughts further below in the comment section!
Pomelo is a tropical citrus fruit, closely related to grapefruit.
The difference to the grapefruit is the size and flavor.
Pomelo is the biggest citrus fruit in the world, it is as big as a football (if not bigger at times).
The rind is very thick and sponge-like.
The fruit flesh is not as juicy as a Grapefruit, in fact, the fruit pulp can be picked out by hand, and it tastes rather mild compared to a Grapefruit.
In season from November to April.
🍏 Ice Apple
The ice apple is also known as palmyra fruit. The fruit grows in a palm tree "nut" in 3 to 4 pods.
Those pods hold a semi transparent jelly-like fruit, which holds fruit water on the inside. The consistency resembles lychee fruits.
The fruit is commonly sold in the Indian subcontinent as a street food, and it also appears in South East Asia.
This is your fruit if you are looking for a cooling healthy summer treat.
Emily from Wander-Lush grew up in Australia eating passion fruit on almost a weekly basis.
Little did she know there are more than 500 other species of Passiflora related to the common purple variety.
When I travelled to South America for the first time, I encountered curuba while on a market tour in Medellín – and I was blown away.
Also known as banana passion fruit, curuba is an oblong-shaped tropical fruit with a thick outer skin. The inside pulp is a similar texture to the purple passion fruit I grew up with, only it's slightly ‘creamier’. The taste is quite familiar, too – but slightly less acidic. It’s just the right level of tart, and nice and juicy when ripe.
Native to the high jungle areas of the Andes, curuba is eaten throughout Peru, Ecuador and beyond. In Colombia, where fruit juice is king, curuba is commonly squeezed, strained and combined with other sweeter fruits such as strawberries.
I was later told that the flavor of curuba is considered the perfect accompaniment to ajiaco, a traditional Colombian soup made with potatoes and chicken, so you often see the two served together.
Available at any marketplace, curuba is normally picked green and left for a couple of days to ripen. This makes them suitable to purchase as an edible souvenir from Colombia – but they can bruise easily, so be sure to package them carefully if you intend to transport them.
🍸 Soursop (aka Graviola/Guyabano)
Soursop (aka Graviola, Guanabana) has gained wide popularity in the whole world over the years.
Unfortunately, not necessarily because of the taste but because a certain belief has been shared that the fruit can kill cancer cells.
It's utter nonsense, soursop hasn't cured anyone of cancer yet.
However, soursop is rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants so it can prevent corrupted cell formations in a body but then most fruits can do that.
No matter what, one thing is certain, soursop tastes amazingly good!
The cream-like grainy fruit flesh is like custard.
In fact, soursop is related to sugar apple, Cherimoya, and Bull's Heart (The Custard apple family).
You can make delicious fresh Soursop Juice for breakfast!
In season all year round.
Cynthia from Sharing The Wander discovered the Granadilla fruit on a trip to South America with her family.
Granadilla is a relative of the passion fruit that has a hard, shiny shell which is a yellowish orange that you crack to open, then break in two. Inside you’ll find edible seeds in a clear, thick, gel-like pulp. The fruit has a mild, slightly tart flavor. You can attempt to use a spoon, but it’s often easier to slurp the contents out of the shell. The texture of the gel and seeds is more distinctive than the flavor itself.
The fruit of the Granadilla is high in antioxidants, making it very healthy for you. Because it has a hard outer shell, it transports easily, yet no tools are required to eat it, making it a great fruit for picnics and other outdoor activities.
We first encountered the delicious Granadilla on a tour of a fruit market in Medellín, Colombia. It grows in the Andes mountains, and can primarily be found in Colombia, Bolivia, and Venezuela, although it can grow as far south as Argentina. We next tasted a Granadilla when it was served as part of a breakfast picnic in the jungles of Peru on the banks of the Amazon River.
🍓 Bayberries (aka Yumberries, Yangmei)
De Wet & Jin from Museum of Wander introduce us to Bayberries.
One of the highlights when traveling in China is the food, especially weird and wonderful fruit you haven't seen or tasted before. When we lived in China, we looked forward to each month bringing new fruits onto the streets and wet markets.
Chinese bayberry was one of the most unique tropical fruit we enjoyed there. We encountered this unknown fruit for the first time while on a trip to Yangshou, and it quickly became one of our favorites.
Known locally as yangmei, bayberries also go by the names of yumberry or Chinese strawberry trees. It's mainly grown in Zhejiang province, but you can find them all over China in season. Bayberries have a short fruiting season, lasting only from late May until the end of June.
The dark purple fruit is about the size of a large cherry, about 2-3 cm in diameter, and looks and tastes like a hybrid between a plum, strawberry, mulberry and black current. In the center is a stone seed that you spit out after eating the juicy, pulpy flesh.
We think the best way to eat bayberries is fresh, straight from the vendor, but they can also be juiced, pickled, dried or used to make alcoholic drinks.
Tamarind is a fruit that grows in interconnected pods, and with the shell covering the soft fruit flesh on the inside.
The fruit flesh is extremely sour (that's not an understatement) but kids love to pick them up and eat the fruits.
Occasionally, you will even notice monkeys and squirrels sitting on a tamarind tree eating the fruit flesh.
Tamarind is turned into a fruit pulp that is used in various cuisines around the world.
In Mexico, they prepare a Tamarindo cold beverage.
In England, they created a Worcestershire Sauce with the Tamarind pulp.
In Thailand, tamarind is essential for a good Pad Thai Sauce.
Tamarind is in season from January to April.
🟡 Buddha's Claws/Hands
Mariza from hoponworld.com is a South African expat living in Taiwan.
There she encountered a very unusual kind of tropical fruit, the Buddha's Claws or Buddha's Hands:
I spotted Buddha’s hand wandering the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam.
At first glance, I wasn’t quite sure what they were, but I was very intrigued by the awfully weird clawed fingered fruit.
Surprisingly, Buddha’s hand is a citron fruit, belonging to the same family as pomelo and mandarins.
The fruit is seedless, not that juicy and has a similar tangy taste like a lemon.
Although Buddha’s hand is not common outside South East Asia, its health benefits are endless, making it one of the healthiest tropical fruits to include in your diet.
🟤 Tamarind Plum
Tamarind Plum is a fruit I have personally never heard of before.
Mike from 197TravelStamps.com came across these unique tropical fruits in his travels to the African continent. He explains:
The thing I love most about traveling to exotic places is that I always encounter new things.
New flavors, tastes and smells.
On a trip to Ganvie in Benin, a country in West Africa, I discovered something I hadn’t seen before.
A woman on the market was selling some peculiar looking black fruits.
We had no idea what it was and just went ahead and bought a small bag.
The outside of the grape sized fruits have a velvety skin and the inside has an orange color.
At the hotel, we found out the name of the fruit: tamarind plum (or Dialium Indium).
The fruit has a sweet-sour taste similar to tamarind – hence the name.
The fruit is popular in West Africa and Southeast Asia.
🥒 Cucumber Tree Fruit
Cucumber Tree Fruit is also known as Bilimbi in Asia.
This fruit is common in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Thailand.
As the names suggest, it looks like a small cucumber, yet it grows on a tree, and it's not only juicy watery but also quite sour and therefore stuffed with vitamin C.
In Asia, this fruit is usually used in Curries as a souring agent, besides turning it into a flavorful pickle.
The Tropical fruits grow twice a year.
Season one is from March to June, Season two is from September to December.
🍫 Cacao/Cocoa Fruit
Kylie from Between England & Everywhere spotted the Cacao Fruit on a trip to Zanzibar in Tansania.
The cacao fruit, or cocoa fruit, originates in South America, however a large amount is now exported from Africa. There are 3 main varieties of cacao trees. I came across the cacao fruit while visiting a spice farm in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Cacao trees thrive best in climates close to the equator. Large green/purple pods grow on trees and take around 5 months to ripen. The skin is thick and needs to be cut open with a knife.
Cacao fruit is best known for the seeds inside the pods. They are used to producing cocoa, which is made into chocolate. The fats can also be turned into cocoa butter, which is used in cosmetics and skin care products.
Cacao seeds can be eaten raw, and they have a bitter chocolate taste. However, the seeds are surrounded by a juicy white pulp. It is surprisingly sweet and tastes nothing like chocolate! The pulp has similar consistency to mango and can be eaten raw or made into juices and smoothies.
⭐ Star Fruit (aka Starfruit, Carambola)
Everything about the Star Fruit here.
🍏 Sugar Apple (aka Custard Apple, Sweetsop)
The Custard/Sugar Apple, as the name suggests it, tastes and looks like custard on the inside!
Elisabeth from DigitalTravelGuru.com explains:
Custard Apple – also known as sugar apple, sweetsop, and sitaphal.
It is a subtropical fruit belonging to the Annonacea family.
It is documented that the custard apple fruit was native to the West Indies and was carried to other countries such as Central America, Mexico and later brought to Africa and Asia by traders.
I first tried this fruit in (West Africa -Nigeria, and then during my travels in South India), it is a delicious fruit that looks green / orange on the outside, with a bumpy skin texture, it has black seeds inside like pods which are covered in a cream-colored soft fleshy like texture, the taste is very similar to custard and apple, hence the name it was given.
Sugar Apple is a winter fruit, it's in season from October to February.
❤️ Bull's Heart aka Wild Sweetsop
The Bull's Heart is related to the Sugar Apple/Sweetsop (part of the Custard-apple family) Cherimoya and the Soursop fruit.
The Sugar apple and Bull's Heart tree are almost identical from the looks, so we thought we were growing a sugar apple tree.
The doubts were cleared once the red Bull's Heart's fruits emerged. True to its name it is the size and shape of a bull's heart, the flavor is more intense as the Custard apple but as custard creamy as the relative.
Bull's Heart is also known as Wild Sweetsop.
Bull's Heart is a winter fruit, it's in season from October to February.
💛 Uchuva (aka Physalis, Peruvian Groundcherry, Golden Berries)
Julien from Cultures Traveled came across uchuvas in South America.
When I first spotted uchuvas at a market in the small town of Villa de Leyva, Colombia, I excitedly asked if they were tomatoes, thinking I had found yellow cherry tomatoes.
But what I discovered was a tropical fruit that balances perfectly a slightly sweet flavor with a sharp tartness. It quickly became my favorite fruit in Colombia.
Uchuva is a small yellow fruit that grows enveloped in a thin natural covering that resembles a paper lantern after it dries. In the markets, you’ll often you’ll find uchuvas with the covering still intact.
Most commonly, uchuvas are eaten fresh. You can simply wash them off and pop them in your mouth as a quick snack. They are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals while being relatively low in calories.
Although in Colombia, you'll also find uchuvas that have been processed to make jam, ice cream, or as a dessert topping.
Native to South America, uchuvas have many names depending on the region. In Peru, they are most commonly called aguaymantos while in the states you’ll find them under the name golden berries.
🟣 Java Plum (aka Black Plum, Jambul)
The Java Plum (also known as black plum or jambul) is the size of a bigger black grape variety but with the characteristics of a plum.
A thin skin surrounding a juicy purple-colored flesh is what makes the java plum so special.
The fruit is sour bitter and sweet, depending on how ripe the fruit is.
The riper it gets, the darker the purple color appears.
The Black Plum is most common in India, Indonesia and has been introduced to the USA as well.
Kids love eating this fruit, not only because it tastes great, but because the jambul colors your tongue naturally purple.
Java Plum Juice is a common way to enjoy the fruit.
The Java Plum is in season from May to July.
🌿 Mamey (aka Mamey Sapote)
Daria from the The Discovery Nut introduces us to Mamey.
Mamey is a tropical fruit that belongs to a family of zapote. It grows in many countries across Latin America including Mexico and Costa Rica.
Mamey has an oval round shape and a rough brown skin, but it has a soft texture and sweet taste. You can find mamey in local markets across Mexico in places like the Yucatan Peninsula with a warm tropical climate.
You can also find this fruit as an ingredient in many dishes in many across the country, including Cabo San Lucas that has a dry desert climate. Mamey is usually consumed raw as an ingredient in fruit salads or as a stand-alone fruit.
Also called Mamey Sapote, this fruit is native to Central America.
This fruit grows directly on the branch of an evergreen tree and takes about a year for the flower to develop into a juvenile fruit. It takes another year for Mamey to reach its full size.
Sara from BeyondCruise.com shares the Mangosteen with us:
This small purple tropical fruit is an incredibly popular fruit in South-East Asia, where crops thrive in the heat of the rainforests.
It's thick exterior breaks off in pieces to reveal a white lychee-like flesh that is segmented like an orange.
It's absolutely delicious and probably the best fruit I've ever had.
Unfortunately for everyone who lives outside South-East Asia, the mangosteen tree only grows in 40 °C temperatures, which means it's hard to find almost anywhere else.
I came across mangosteen on my travels in Thailand and I highly recommend you go and purchase a whole bag of them if you visit!
The only other place I've been lucky enough to come across them in is one of the mega continental supermarkets of Dubai, where of course, they have to import basically everything!
In the season when the monsoon begins, April to August, depending on the country.
The Breadfruit, related to jackfruit, commonly grows in the Caribbean and in the Indian Subcontinent.
The fruit is somewhat spongy but goes in the direction of a starchy Potato.
In fact, Breadfruit makes a great nutritious substitute for Potatoes.
One grown-up tree can hold more than 100 fruits, and each fruit can grow to the size of a bowling ball.
That is why this fruit is important for food security in this world.
Besides the breadfruit tastes amazing fried, boiled, roasted, grilled, and even steamed!
Breadfruit can be harvested from March to July.
🌴 Chontaduro (aka Peach Palm)
Dan from Backpacking Latin America is introducing us to the Chontaduro fruit.
The Chontaduro which translates to peach palm in English is a fruit that can be found in the tropical regions of Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru. The Chontaduro is a fruit I first encountered while backpacking Colombia on my way through South America.
The fruit is high in protein, and it is actually native to the Pacific Coast of the Quibdó region in Western Colombia but is one of the most popular street foods found in Colombia.
Colombia is known for its exotic fruits and many street vendors and market sellers all over the country display this fruit by hanging it from their stalls. From a distance, the fruit looks like giant red or orange grapes which grab your attention instantly.
However, the fruit, which has a similar consistency and texture to sweet potato is usually served after being boiled with honey or salt.
The taste is a mix between peach and pumpkin and although it is customary to eat the pulp of the fruit once peeled and boiled, the leaves and seeds can also be consumed for their rewarding health benefits too.
🍎 Java Apple (aka Love Apple, Rose Apple)
The Java apple has many names. It's also known as love apple, rose apple or water apple.
The fruit grows in lower tropical areas. It's a juicy, water flesh, and it's almost tasteless. Some varieties are sweeter and more intense than others.
The most common ones are white, red or both color combined.
This fruit commonly appears in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.
🐍 Snake Fruit (aka Salak)
Joshua from veggievagabond.com encountered the snake fruit on his travels:
Salak or snake fruit is found across South East Asia, but it was in Java that we encountered this incredible fruit.
It's named snake fruit because of it's scaly, waxy skin which really does resemble a snake - when you first see the fruit it's easy to mistake it for an exotic animal or insect.
Once you peel off the tough skin, the yellowish inside almost resembles a small chestnut and has an amazingly unique taste.
Depending on the season or where it's grown, some salak have a crunchier dry texture whilst others give a softer juicier experience.
Either way, the taste is fresh and fruity, with some similarities to the taste of pineapple.
Salak is brilliant food to carry on your travels as it keeps very well and because of its tough skin doesn't ruin or bruise if it gets bashed in your bag.
It also has high levels of fiber, vitamin C & A and is a natural diarrhea remedy, so keep a bunch of these guys close by!
Salak is available all year round.
🍒 Jujube Date
Kavita Favelle from kaveyeats.com discovered the Jujube Date on one of her trips to Thailand.
When we were given a gift by a kindly market stallholder in Thailand, we had no idea what the plum-sized oval green tropical fruits he bagged up for us might be.
I'd just bought some sweet and savory pastries from his roadside stand, using a translation app on my phone to work out the different fillings, a hit-and-miss effort which made us both giggle.
Biting into one of the green fruits revealed a crisp flesh that was mildly sweet, and reminded us of both apples and plums.
We nicknamed the fruit "plapple", a name I still think of them by!
Luckily, staff back at our hotel identified the fruits by their local name, and Google quickly came to the rescue, revealing them to be jujube fruit.
When fully ripe, they turn red and are softer and sweeter, but they are also popular when green and crisp like ours.
🐉 Dragon Fruit aka Pitaya
Dragon Fruits are also known as Pitaya.
Those bright pink tropical fruits turn the hotel breakfast buffet into a bright delight.
On the inside, the dragon fruit can be plain white or just pink with little black seeds.
This fruit looks wonderful, but the taste is usually rather bland.
Lisa from Culturalfoodies.com came across the beautiful dragon fruit on her travels across South America:
Dragon fruit is not only a stunning, eye-catching deep color, but it is also good for your health!
High in antioxidants and vitamin C, this versatile fruit can be used in smoothies, eaten plain, or as the base of a pitaya bowl (similar to an açai bowl, but instead of using açai berries as the base, the pitaya is blended and used as the base.)
Dragon Fruit is in season from June to December but because of its popularity, it is available all year round all over the world.
The Jackfruit is the largest fruit in the world!
One fruit weighs about 20 kilograms on average but can weigh up to 40 kilograms (!) and can feed a whole family for days.
When a jackfruit falls, it comes smashing down, and it will damage any roof.
The fruit pulp of a jackfruit smells like a banana and a pineapple mixed together, the flesh is rather unique in texture.
The seeds can be compared to chestnuts and pretty much taste like chestnuts.
Jackfruit seeds and pulp can be used in various ways in sweet and savory jackfruit meals.
The Jackfruit is in season from March to June.
Noel from This Hawaii Life talks about the Longan fruit.
The longan fruit originated from Southeast Asia but from where I live the fruit is abundant to find. Easy to grow in tropical soils, it fruits in clusters that bear light-brown marble sized fruit. The taste is like a combination of grapes, rambutan and abiu fruit but more sugary sweet with a nice sized nut in the middle.
Longan fruit is mostly eaten raw, but I've seen it added to various dessert dishes here in Hawaii. The fruit is refreshing to eat and even frozen for a tasty cold dessert.
The shelf life is good and can be just stored in the fridge or on a shelf for around a week. It's a great fruit to just pop in your mouth for a tasty sweet treat to eat.
Noel from TenThousandStrangers.com introduced me to Bignay, and I bet you have never heard of this tropical fruit before.
Bignay is a very sour and small tropical fruit that grows abundantly in Central Luzon, one of the three main islands of the Philippines.
The size is less than 10 millimeters in diameter and upon closer inspections, they look like miniature apples only there are in clusters like grapes.
I grew up eating clusters of this fruit during summers and thought it grows solely in the Philippines until I later found out it is also grown in other Southeast Asian countries and even northern Australia.
It has the botanical name Antidesma bunius but also carries several English names such as Chinese laurel, current tree, and salamander tree.
In season, February and March.
The Papaya fruit comes in large and small sizes. The smaller variety tends to be more flavorful.
The plant grows in a tree, and it can be either female, male, or both. The tree in the picture is female, with the fruits growing on the stem.
Jme from travelwithjmeandbryan.com came across this amazing fruit known as Rollinia:
The outside looks a bit like a hedgehog and the inside is white and creamy with large watermelon-like seeds and tastes like vanilla pudding.
We also recently found this in Madagascar as well, which we were so excited about since we'd not had it in more than 7 years!
Sara from BeyondCruise.com shares her favorite fruit, the Feijoa:
The feijoa is another one of my favorite tropical fruits, and I always miss it when I'm away from my home country of New Zealand.
Feijoas are the fruit of a small evergreen tree originally from South America although in New Zealand, they are also a popular fruit to grow at home in the warmer months.
The flavor of a feijoa is unique but has the same grainy texture of a guava with a sweet jelly-like center.
The bright-green fruit can vary in size from the size of a walnut to the size of an avocado if you're lucky!
It's popular to eat the fruit on its own by slicing it in half and scooping out the center like you would eat a kiwifruit, but it also is popular in cakes, preserves or as an addition to an apple crumble.
Feijoa season is from March to June.
Many banana varieties exist around the world!
🍊 Naranja Agria (aka Bitter Orange, Seville Orange)
Shelley of Tulum Travel Secrets talks about the Bitter Orange.
Naranja agria (AKA bitter orange, sour orange or Seville orange) grows year-round in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. It is an integral ingredient in Yucatán foods, and only found in a handful of places outside this region.
They are about the size of a medium orange, with more of a tangerine flavor, a green and orange exterior, and large white seeds. Though it can look like other tropical citrus fruits, you'll always recognize a naranja agria by its very bumpy skin.
As the name “bitter orange” suggests, they are very sour in taste. Unlike other oranges, you don't make juice with these, and in fact, they are mostly used as a food seasoning.
Naranja agrias are used in many traditional Yucatán food dishes, like poc chuc and cochinita pibil — the most famous food from the region. You can try cochinita pibil in many Yucatecan restaurants, or on any great food tour in Tulum, Cancun, or Mérida, where a local will show you the best places to eat it.
Guava is one of my favorite tropical fruits because it tastes heavenly good. The fruit comes in different shapes, variations, and colors.
Guavas are stuffed with vitamin C, Antioxidants and that is why it's also known as a superfood.
Guava is often while cooked to create the so-called Guava Cheese/Guava Paste, which is a vegan sweet delicacy in former Portuguese colonies such as Brazil and Goa. Guava Jam is another delicious way to preserve these fruits.
Guava is a winter fruit which is in season from November to April, making it the perfect source for vitamin C during the darker, cold winter days!
🍇 Sea Grapes
Elizabeth from elizabethskitchendiary.co.uk visited Aruba and shared her experience with a local fruit known as sea grapes:
While visiting the Caribbean island of Aruba, I discovered a lesser known delicacy: sea grapes.
There’s a longstanding myth that these wild fruits are poisonous, but the truth is that sea grapes are perfectly edible and absolutely delicious.
The berries turn dark burgundy when ripe between August and October, and although they contain mostly seed with very little fruit, they taste wonderful – like the best tropical fruit juice you’ve ever tried.
These fruits are not cultivated commercially as a foodstuff on the island, although I heard of one fellow who makes wine with them.
🖐️ Finger Lime
Jacub from Tymrazem.com is sharing the finger lime with us!
Meet the finger lime (Citrus australasica)! It is a fruit found on the east coast of Australia. It grows on small trees (maximum 7 meters), and the fruits reach even 8-10 centimeters in length.
Furthermore, it tastes best raw, and it is often called “lime caviar”. After cutting the fruit open, the flesh resembles small, colorful pearls and the fruit is full of sour juice.
Try it sometime as an addition to oysters as it is a surprising texture and a sensational addition. It is best used in desserts and with seafood. Jams can also be made from it, and the aromatic peel is used as well.
The fruit comes in several colors. The flesh can be white, yellow, or pink. The skin also varies in color. You can buy them at local markets and shops (they are usually sold by the piece).
It is possible to grow finger lime in a pot. The plant also typically bears fruit in pots, but its climatic requirements are quite demanding.
🍉 Yellow Watermelon
Chelsea discovered yellow watermelons when traveling to Taiwan! She says:
Yellow watermelon was incredibly sweet and light, and now I think I prefer it to regular red watermelon.
I've been on the hunt for it in North America and have yet to find it on this continent.
🌰 Rambutan (aka Chom Chom Fruit)
Rambutan (aka Chom Chom Fruit in Vietnam) is closely related to Lychees and is another popularized so-called super fruit in the West.
Francesca at Travel Heal Love recommends that you try Rambutans!
I have tried Rambutan for the first time in Phuket, the biggest island in Thailand. This small, yet delicious fruit can be found between December and January or August to September. It is not unusual to see street vendors with trucks overflowing with this red and green fruit.
At first, I was unsure how to eat it because Rambutans have a bizarre, spiky shell, but despite looking very sharp the spines are quite soft and bend back easily. So, all you have to do is to peel off the exterior and find the white, smooth, and sweet fruit within. Moreover, in the middle of the white flesh, there is a stone, you can either eat or discard. I, personally, do not particularly like it, so I get rid of it.
I have seen local people eating Rambutans raw, they usually consume them alone, as part of tropical salads, or as an ingredient for smoothies or cocktails.
At last, these delicious fruits grow on big trees and are often found in jungles and forests all over Thailand. Those are part of the diet of many animals, in particular, elephants love them!
Mariza has encountered rambutan in Taiwan, among other tropical fruits there.
Rambutans might look a bit scary at first sight, but you are bound to be hooked after the first bite!
They are basically a kind of hairy lychee, just bigger and better! And by better, I mean much sweeter.
They originated in Malaysia, but are quite common throughout South East Asia.
I tried them in Vietnam for the first time, where locals refer to them as Chôm Chôm; meaning "messy hair.” Quite a fitting name!
In season from May to August.
🥘 Hog Plum / Spondias Plum varieties
The Hog Plum is a variety of Spondias Plums native to the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
So besides the Spondias tropical fruits seen in the picture, which I used in a hog plum curry, you will have come across other Spondias plums such as the June Plum native to Sri Lanka where it is better known as Ambarella.
Natalie from apairoftravelpants.com came across the June Plum in Sri Lanka, she remembers:
Ambarella is a small tree fruit grown in the tropics.
It is similar in flavor to a mango, but has a crunchier texture.
When we went to Sri Lanka, we tried it in a curry, and it was delightful.
The fruit softened into little pillow-y dumplings with a slightly sweet and sour aftertaste.
Prior to going to Sri Lanka, I’d never heard of this fruit!
It’s grown in tropical areas around the world and after a quick Wikipedia lookup, it seems that cultures the world over prepare this fruit quite differently.
The ambarella curry was delicious, and we thoroughly enjoyed giving it a try, but haven’t seen it since we left Southern Asia!
Hog Plums are usually in season during rainy seasons from June to October.
🍋 Limon Mandarina (aka Rangpur Lime, Rangpur Orange)
Shelley of Travel To Oaxaca is introducing us to the Limon Mandarina.
Limon mandarina is a tropical fruit hybrid that combines a mandarin orange and citron lime. It has a very pungent, acidic taste, bright-green peel and the flesh is bright orange.
This citrus fruit goes by a different name depending on where in the world you're consuming it. In Spanish-speaking countries like Mexico and Costa Rica, it's called limon mandarina; in English, it's mandarin lime or lemandarin; in the Indian Subcontinent, they are called rangpur lime, named after the city of Rangpur in Bangladesh.
If you happen to take a cooking class in Oaxaca Mexico, chances are you'll try a limon mandarina because they are added to several varieties of soups. It usually comes on the side for soups including caldo ranchero, and you add your desired amount to taste.
You might also find limon mandarina as an agua fresca (fresh fruit water). As this fruit has a bitter taste, locals make limon mandarina agua fresca with sugar or honey to make it more palatable.
🍍 Black Pineapple
Michele Peterson of A Taste for Travel talks about the black pineapple, a special pineapple variety from the Caribbean.
The Antigua Black Pineapple is considered the rarest and sweetest variety of pineapple in the world. It’s unique to the Caribbean country of Antigua & Barbuda where it’s so highly prized it’s even featured on the nation’s coat of arms. Its origins can be traced to the Arawak indigenous peoples who brought it from South America in the 17th century and cultivated it on the volcanic rich soil of Antigua’s southern coast.
I first tried this delicious fruit in the market in St. John’s, Antigua where the produce vendors served slices of pineapple as samples to entice shoppers. Eating the fruit raw is the best way to appreciate the distinct, fragrant aroma and exceptional sweetness of the Black Pineapple. But the golden fruit is also enjoyed in pineapple turnovers, as jam and as a topping on ice-cream.
A member of the Queen group of pineapples, it’s smaller and more elongated rather than round in shape. Because it’s so delicate, it doesn’t travel well, so it’s rarely available outside of Antigua & Barbuda where the unique soil conditions and climate also contribute to its juicy sweetness.
This is another fruit I hadn't encountered yet.
Lulo is common in South America.
Evelyn from cultureatz.com enjoyed Lulo while cruising through Columbia, Panama, and Costa Rica:
One of my greatest pleasures in life is discovering and tasting exotic fruits.
And I definitely got my fill of new fruit discoveries in Colombia!
One such fruit was the Lulo.
Cute name, right?
The Lulo is indigenous to South America, specifically to Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador.
Actually, it is called Lulo in Colombia but naranjilla in the two latter countries.
The Lulo kind of looks like a tomato, with a similar smooth skin, but it is a very bright orange color.
The inside is light green and yellow, and the taste is sweet and tart, like a citrus and pineapple mix.
It is very fragile and not suitable for export.
I enjoyed it in the most traditional way, as that the locals do: freshly blitzed in a tall glass in a hole in the wall juice bar.
🪓 Bael Fruit (aka Bel, Wood Apple)
The Bael/Bel fruit is native to the Indian subcontinent.
Anuradha from inditales.com explains:
Bel fruit also called wood apple is a fruit that happens abundantly in foothills of the Himalayas in peak summers.
Hard outside and pulpy yellow inside, it is a favorite to make cool summer drinks.
It takes a bit of skill to open it and once it is opened to manage its pulp.
Mix a bit of sugar or salt, few seconds in a mixer – whatever you like, and you have a cool drink ready.
Mostly Bel Fruit is big to say the size that fills your both hands, but the wild ones are small – may be the size of a cricket ball.
Durian is related to jackfruit and breadfruit, but it's nothing like the two other tropical fruits.
Catrina from 24 Hours Layover discovered Durian on a trip to Asia.
Now for the world’s smelliest fruit – durian! The infamous durian fruit is found in several South East Asian countries where it is very common – I first came across it in Singapore at a market. It is a large green oval-shaped fruit – around a foot wide, with the outer part covered in spikes, and is also sometimes named the ‘King of Fruits’.
It has a distinctly strong odor that can be smelt from meters away and lingers even after the fruit is gone. I can only describe the overpowering aroma as something that resembles an incredibly sweaty cheesy sock. Inside, it has a creamy flesh and luckily doesn’t taste as bad as it smells. The taste is like a mix of banana caramel custard. Durian is commonly eaten raw and also put in desserts and smoothies.
There are around 30 different variations of durian, and even though it smells so bad, it is popular in Asia because it is highly nutritious and is known as a super fruit as it prevents many illnesses and cancers.
Durian also grows in Hawaii and you can nowadays buy it online, as well as in select Asian supermarkets around the world.
Some people say it stinks, so either you love it or you hate it. Bino from Singapore shares:
I encountered durian in Singapore, where many people are crazy about it.
Even in hotels where it may otherwise be banned, in Singapore, it is actually welcomed.
Other than the fruit itself, the durian is also being offered as cake, ice cream, candy, and even as jam.
When the durian season is at its peak, some hotel restaurants actually offer a “durian buffet” which is essentially a buffet made up of various sweets, pastries as well as the actual durian fruit.
Durian season is from June to August.
🥃 Cashew Fruit
Cashew fruits are not that well known compared to the beloved cashew seeds.
While it's easy to transport cashew seeds, once they have been arduously removed from the green raw tar-like skin, it is almost impossible to move the fragile tropical fruits from A to B without damaging the soft orange and yellow skin and pulp.
The fruit can be turned into a liquor or, usually, it's left with some salt in the sun before being enjoyed raw.
Uses for cashew fruits are limited, however, try to taste one raw whenever you get a chance!
In season from March to June.
⚪️ Mamoncillo (aka Spanish Lime)
Stephanie, of The Unknown Enthusiast, discovered the Mamoncillo fruit on a trip to Colombia.
I tried mamoncillo (also known as “Spanish limes”) as I was traveling in Colombia. You can find these fruits around the Caribbean. These little green fruits do resemble smaller limes, but are entirely different in both taste and texture.
Mamoncillo are a very common fruit to eat in Colombia and are usually found on street carts around the city. You can buy a small bunch for a few hundred pesos (around 10 cents USD) and are a delicious snack as you walk around.
Mamoncillos have a leathery exterior shell, which you can crack easily with your teeth, and then use your hands to pull apart. The interior consists of a soft, pulpy, almost gooey flesh that surrounds a large pit. To eat it, you just suck the fruit off the pit.
Despite being called “Spanish limes,” mamoncillo are not actually citrus fruits and are more related to lychees. Unpeeled mamoncillo will be good for up to a week.
The flavor of mamoncillo is sweet and just ever so slightly tart. I loved the flavor of these mamoncillos and was delighted to eat these regularly throughout the trip.
Kokum is related to the Purple Mangosteen, and it's a tropical plum.
The fruit comes from and is mostly used in India for culinary and medicinal purposes.
However, people don't just bite into the tropical fruits as it has thick skin.
The fruit skin is separated from the pulp and left to dry in the sun.
This skin is then used as a delicious souring and coloring agent (purple/pink) for stir-fries and curries, as in this Okra stir-fry here.
In season from March to June.
🍬 Baobab Fruit
Iris Veldwijk from Mind of a Hitchhiker stumbled over the baobab fruit twice on her travels.
In the Pamplemousses Botanic Garden in Mauritius, I visited the baobab corner. Besides these iconic trees, I also found some funny-looking pods on the ground with velvety skin. One of them lay open, exposing white fleshy seeds that looked like popcorn. I joked about eating the mystery fruit to my partner.
Fast-forward three months, and we’re traveling in Madagascar, the land of baobabs. At a market in the coastal city of Morondava, I reencountered the hairy pods in baskets next to heaps of fresh mangoes and Lychees. The vendor shook them like maracas to hear the seeds inside.
At the hotel, we cracked them open with one decisive blow. The creamy-white fruit pulp is quite dry and light. It melts on your tongue like cotton candy and tastes similar to tamarind. Tart and a little sweet.
Baobab is rich in nutrients. It’s vital to the way of life in western Madagascar and other parts of Southern Africa. It is eaten right out of the pod, or the pulp is turned into powder and baobab juice. The pods stay good on the shelf for three years if uncracked. Despite its potential, baobab fruit hasn’t (yet) reached ‘superfood’ status in the west.
🌸 Purple Star Fruit
Carlita from carlita.me came across this unusual tropical fruit in her travels:
During my trip to Vietnam in 2017 I encountered an amazingly tasty fresh fruit known as the purple star apple.
We were served this fruit during our tour of the Mekong Delta on Unicorn Island.
The fruit is best served chilled during dessert and has a mildly sweet taste with a crispy texture.
🍑 Marian Plum (aka Plum Mango)
Gabriel Glasier from Chef Travel Guide came across the Marian Plum.
While visiting one of the food markets in Bangkok, Thailand, I stumbled across a table of this fruit that looked like mini plums that the vendor called "Mayong-Chit," which is the Thai name for Marian plums.
In other regions, they are also referred to as Mango Plums, Ma-Prang, and Gandaria.
I immediately tried my first bite and marveled at its unique flavor combination, which is like a cross between a mango and a persimmon. The whole fruit is edible except the seed, and the flesh has a texture similar to a plum with which it shares its name.
What I love about the Marian Plum is how it's not one note like many fruits, as it delivers a perfect balance of sweetness with a touch of tart.
They serve two purposes in many Thai homes: they are made into decorative bunches and used as centerpieces with the leaves still attached. Outside of eating them whole, the fruit's flesh and the plant's young leaves are a popular addition to salads.
If you happen to visit Thailand between the end of February and May, check the markets to try out this delicious and unique fruit.
🔮 Amla aka Indian Gooseberry
Amla is one of those tropical fruits which cannot be consumed raw.
The ayurvedic fruit is weird but known to help all kinds of ailments and Garnier has even included it into its shampoo product line in Europe.
It tastes sweet, sour, astringent, bitter, and quite pungent and this is the fruit with the highest concentration of vitamin C (that's why you can't consume it raw).
In season from October to April, so far, only known to grow in India.
❤️🔥 Maracuja/Passion Fruit
This fruit has two names and comes in all kinds of colors, In the West, it's known as Maracuja in the East, where it grows as well, it's known as Passion Fruit.
The fruit comes in Purple, Yellow, or Orange, and it has seeds on the inside which are edible as well.
In fact. I made a passion fruit strawberry jam once with it.
Lisa from culturalfoodies.com came across beautiful Maracuja/Passion Fruits. She says:
In May 2017 I visited Colombia and traveled around several regions within the country.
The city where I found the most interesting fruit was in Medellín, the former drug capital of the world.
The maracuya (passion fruit) is a very commonly grown fruit in Colombia, and has a sweet/tart flavor with many seeds.
In season all year round.
🥤 Sapodilla (aka Zapota, Chikoo)
Sapodilla has many names in this world because this tropical fruit from the new world was introduced by the Spanish and Portuguese when they colonized the globe.
So, you will find different sapodilla varieties all over, some being more yellow and others dark brown, and the shapes might vary as well from round to oval.
People call it zapote, zapota, chikoo, naseberry, nispero among many other names.
The tree produced a glue-like substance that can be used as natural (super sticky) glue.
The fruit itself is sweet, and depending on the variety, might taste like caramel.
I like to make a Sapodilla Milkshake.
In season all year round.
By the way, Priya from Photo Wali encountered cactus fruits in India. Those don't grow in the tropics, in fact, the opposite, cactus fruits grow in arid areas of the world. They are quite exotic, and juicy as well, yet I don't think I will be compiling a post about dessert fruits, that's why I thought I would just quickly share this interesting fruit here at the end.
Priya shared the following:
I came across the pretty, pinkish-red fruits of the cactus at a stall at the International Kite Festival in India. Cactus fruits, also called Cactus Pears or Prickly Pears, are not only edible but filled with health benefits. These fruits have a lovely sweet-sour taste to them, making them ideal candidates for making prickly pear juice and jams.
Global Food Recipes
with Spices and Herbs
Free E-Book available for a limited time. Grab yours now and get instantly inspired!
You missed out!
Tropical Fruit Salad
- 2 cups Tropical mixture of fruits cut small
Additional topping ideas
- Yogurt or Greek Yogurt
- Honey or Stevia
- Oats or rice flakes
- Lemon Juice
- Wash your fruits and get rid of impurities and remove skin and seed pods if necessary.
- Cut fruits into small pieces. The smaller cut the better the fruit salad turns out.
- Choose a topping of your choice and use them all at once.
- Mix everything and serve cooled.