We’ve mentioned it before but it’s worth repeating that the coolest street credibility with the Thai people and also the way to their heart is through eating the same food as them, and the more exotic and weird it gets the more credibility you will have as a Farang.
Not everyone can eat fermented fish Palaa that is used in all the best soups and salads and dips, and most people have a hard time guzzling down insects with gusto or chomping on a mouthful of live baby prawns, but many of us are capable of venturing out a little further on the type of fruits we might eat.
In our experience the greatest signs of love and affection from Thais are when the Western visitor returns home with a bag of goods from the market and the fruits are brimming on top or poking out and displaying their unmistakable form.
No fruit is more championed or maligned than the Durian fruit. It’s hard sharp and spiky exterior is a lethal weapon if thrown at the head but inside are the sweetest, most ponging fleshy fruit pods on the planet.
The trick here is to pretend it’s a favorite exotic Austrian Alps, Sheep’s milk cheese that takes a bit of getting used to. Once acquainted to the spice of life that Durian provides, a relationship opens up that lasts a lifetime. Hong Kong Chinese pay top dollar for these fruits in the supermarket and a good serving can still be had for just over a hundred baht.
It’s not enough to buy the shelled fruits in the supermarket though. Get down to Klongtoey Talad and pick up a Durian and learn how to cut through its armor plating to enjoy the best that Thailand has, with the most easy to identify fruit.
These Wunderkinds are another favorite of ours. Dragon fruit are possibly the most unusual fruit there is. The outside is resplendent in a scarlet skin that resembles a magnified virus under an electron microscope.
Space alien like stubby feelers open up on the outside and yet cut through the relatively thin skin and you’re through to a white soft fleshy pulpy mass that is a cosmic spread of mildly sweet fruit, interspersed with hundreds and thousands like seedlings.
The seeds are so tiny compared to the flesh that they are eaten with it and provide a pleasant mouth crunching experience. Dragon fruit are a perfect post lunch mouth cleanser. They are light on the stomach and refreshing to the mouth without being overly sweet.
Imagine what dusty looking tree grapes with thick skins would look like and there you have a picture of LongKong. They’re always to be seen as shrine offerings and in some ways are a rather pedestrian tropical fruit but there’s a subtlety to Longkong that is hard to describe.
The mouth feel to use food technician talk is pleasantly firm without being crisp. The flavors are mildly lemony but with a hint of peach and grape. Don’t be long gone in trying out Longko