Some of the following are highly recommended for when steamy heat has sapped the body, and others are either very unusual or prohibitively expensive outside the region. Washed, peeled fruit is also a safe travel snack option for avoiding tummy bugs. Take advantage of an Asian trip to try them.

Milk Fruit

Said to only be found in Vietnam and Cambodia and with a very short season, apple-shaped milk fruit is named for the milky sap which oozes from the skin when it is cut. With a striking purple and green skin, the very sweet translucent flesh harbors large seeds.

milk fruit
Milk Fruit

Dragon Fruit

Brilliant magenta pink skin with the scales which give this fruit its name cover white flesh peppered with tiny black seeds. Vietnam is the largest local producer, although Thailand, Cambodia and other countries are catching on to this easy-to-grow cactus which probably originated in South America but has spread like a weed across Asia. Sweet but quite neutral in taste, juicy dragon fruit is high in fiber.

dragon fruit
Dragon Fruit

Coconut

The workhorse of Asian fruit, coconut is high in potassium and young coconut juice both quenches thirst and replaces much-needed minerals leached out from sweating. Travelers worried about stomach bugs love coconuts as they are completely sterile – so sterile the juice has even been used for emergency plasma transfusions. Its flesh and milk is integral in a variety of Asian dishes. After a hard day in the tropical heat, coconut juice beats dehydration.

coconut
Coconut

Papaya

Cambodia and Thailand both produce magical salads from grated green papaya, with Thailand's famous som tam by far the spicier. Papaya flesh is also perhaps the most powerful meat tenderizer of all, turning the toughest of beef into mush if it is left for too long. Papaya is an omnipresent fruit in Asia, and the rich orange flesh of a tropical papaya makes its Western cousins pale in comparison.

papaya
Papaya

Longan

Walnut sized yellow-brown skin covers opaque, juicy sweet flesh. Longan is often found on sale at roadside stalls as a traveler's snack and sugar hit. It is Thailand's largest fruit export.

longan
Longan

Lychee

Rough, bright red skin covers a luscious opaque flesh. The tinned version often found overseas does not do justice to the fresh version.


lychee
Lychee

Rambutan

Brilliant red with long, yellow-green hairs, this round berry-like fruit is a perennial favorite. Named after the Malay word for hair, it originated in the lowlands of Malaysia but in now available across the region. Inside, sweet, firm white flesh covers a black stone. Rambutan makes a wonderful addition to fruit salads and shakes.


rambutan
Rambutan

Mangosteen

Peel away the brilliant purple, pithy skin to reveal white, sweet segments of flesh, each with a large pit. Mangosteen is considered the queen of fruit – durian is the king.

mangosteen
Mangosteen

Jack Fruit

Leave removing the sweet yellow pods inside this largest of all tree-grown fruits to the experts or risk fingers being glued together with the thick sap of the green, knobby skin and internal membranes. Green jackfruit is used in soups and stews. Once ripe, it has a distinctive smell some say is reminiscent of a durian. Originally native to India.

jack fruit
Jack Fruit

Snakeskin Fruit

Literally looks like the skin of a snake on the outside and peels back to reveal a creamy meat. This fruit is particularly popular in Vietnam but is now seen on market stalls throughout most of the region. Beware of the small hairs scattered on the outside of the skins – they may itch.

snakeskin fruit
Snakeskin Fruit

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