Have you ever tried a variety of exotic fruits from Asia? From the smelly durian to the succulent mangosteen, there are so many ways to experience the flavours and aromas of Southeast Asian fruits. My name is Georgia, and I am well known on TikTok for my passion for trying the many exotic fruit from Asia! Here I list my favourite and "must try" 13 tropical and subtropical fruit from Southeast Asia.
Durian has earned a reputation for being the king of all Asian fruits due to its distinctive flavour and aroma. It may not look very appetising, but durian is full of unique flavour that can become quite addictive once you try it! Delicious when consumed fresh, durian can also be cooked or used in various desserts. However, to truly try durian you simple must try it fresh.
The first time I tried durian was on a road side stall in Singapore and not surprisingly, I hated it! If you are tourist in a foreign country, DO NOT DO THIS!! Durian should only be eaten fresh. You want to go somewhere where you pick the durian and they open it in front of you. If you are in Malaysia and travelling through Kuala Lumpur, I recommend that you try Durian Man in SS2. This is where I had my first (real) durian experience. I honestly don't count the Singapore experience!
Malaysia is well known globally to have some of the best durians in the world! There are specific durian stalls (like the one I recommend) where you can try many varieties. I recommend that for your first durian you try a more mild one like the D24. The most popular durian is by far the Musang King, and although the flavour is strong, I recommend you give it a go!
@simplegreensoul Who knew the smelly fruit would be so tasty?! #durianmalaysia #durianlovers😍😋 #malaysiafoodies #malaysiafoodie #veganmalaysia #veganinmalaysia ♬ Clair de Lune - Flight Facilities
Ciku (as it is called in Malaysia), or also known as Sapodilla in other parts of the world, is a small brown fruit that actually looks a bit like a potato. Once ripe, it is soft to touch and a burnt orange colour on the inside. It is deliciously sweet, juicy, and soft. The sweetness can be likened to that of maple syrup, and the soft juiciness is similar to a soft pear. Just make sure to get someone to pick a ripe one for you if you aren't sure. This fruit can be tricky to pick when it is ripe! If you have been following me for a while you would know that though! It took me THREE times to get this one right... but once you do ITS AWESOME!!
@simplegreensoul Who is with me on this one? Ciku is arguably the BEST fruit in the whole world! Thats if you get a perfectly ripe one. If you want to see what an unripe ciku looks like compared to an overripe, you can check out my earlier videos where I actually tried Ciku 3 times before I got it right! If you try it and you dont think much of it… its probablt because its not ripe enough yet or its overripe! #ciku #tropicalfruit #tropicalfruits #tropicalfruitslover #malaysianfruit #tropicalfruitbox #simplegreensoul #fruitlovers #fruits #exoticfruitslover #exoticfruits #sapodilla #aussieinmalaysia ♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim
@simplegreensoul Replying to @_anna10.08 Am I doing it wrong?! It’s a no from me! 😅 #malaysianfruit #malaysiafruit #plantbasedfoodie #tropicalfruitbox #borneofruit #veganmalaysia ♬ Comical and a little silly carefree music(831995) - Etsuo Kawasaki
@simplegreensoul The 1st time wasn’t so successful… I’ve taken your recommendations and given it a 2nd chance! #malaysiafruit #borneofruit #plantbasedfoodie #veganinmalaysia #veganmalaysia ♬ Comical and a little silly carefree music(831995) - Etsuo Kawasaki
The hairy exterior of rambutan may turn some people off, but the taste is worth it! Described as sweet and sour with a hint of tartness, this tropical fruit is enjoyed both fresh and dried. To eat it, simply peel away the skin to reveal the juicy inner flesh. Rambutan can be eaten on its own or used in smoothies, juices, salads and other recipes. Make sure to try it while on vacation in Thailand or while exploring Southeast Asia - you won’t regret it!
You can easily buy rambutan from road side stalls in Malaysia or at any wet market. I bought mine from the local wet market, also known as a pasar. Just be careful of the ants! Rambutan is actually one of the three fruits that I had never heard of until moving to Malaysia! Apparently for 2 million people on TikTok this was unbelievable?!
@simplegreensoul Can you believe I had never seen or heard of these 3 fruits until recently? 😅 #malaysianfruit #malaysiafruit #tropicalfruitbox #veganmalaysia #veganinmalaysia #plantbasedfoodie ♬ Honeypie - JAWNY
4. Dragon Fruit
From its spiky, vibrant exterior to its juicy center, dragon fruit is one of the most intriguing fruits around. On the outside, the deep magenta peel and spikes make it look more like a sea creature than Earthly fruit!
Inside, it’s bright white or a dark purple with an abundance of small black seeds. The texture reminds me of Kiwi fruit, and the sweetness can vary quite drastically with this fruit! I have had dragon fruits that taste extremely sweet, and others that actually taste like nothing. The sweetness of the fruit varies on the crop. If you try one and it tastes like nothing, then don't let this be your last dragon fruit you try! Eventually you will come across an amazing juicy and sweet one. This can be true for the white or purple flesh, but is usually more common for the dark purple flesh. You can buy yellow dragon fruits too, and in my opinion, these are usually the sweetest and tastiest kind. The yellow dragon fruits also have a white flesh.
Just be warned that the purple flesh type will make your urine and poop a dark red colour! This freaked me out the first time I tried it!
@simplegreensoul Red, yellow or white pitaya. Have you tried all of these? What is your favourite? #malaysianfruit #tropicalfruitbox #fruitlovers #veganmalaysia #veganinmalaysia #yellowpitaya ♬ BIZCOCHITO - ROSALÍA
Also, if you may be wondering how do you tell the difference between a white or purple dragon fruit? Of course the yellow dragon fruit has a yellow skin, but the red / white variety appears to look the same! I made this quick TikTok discussing and identifying the differences. Once you know how, you will never NOT be able to tell the difference!
@simplegreensoul Replying to @biggesthomebody Just make sure you don’t eat too much or you will start to sound like me 💀🤣 #malaysianfruit #dragonfruits #veganinmalaysia #reddragonfruit #whitedragonfruit #frugivorebaby ♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim
Native to the Southeast Asian region, the mangosteen is a juicy fruit surrounded by a dark purple rind. Opening the fruit can be tricky for a first timer, but once you open up its thick exterior, you will find luscious white segments that are sweet and slightly tart.
Mangosteen is easily one of my favourite tropical fruits. I can't believe I had never heard of this delicious tangy fruit until moving to South East Asia! The insides actually look like a pieces of garlic at first glance, but the flesh should be plump, juicy, and white in colour.
There is a knack to opening the mangosteen, which involved pressing firmly and twisting. Just be careful to not get any of the dark purple juice from the exterior on your clothes. It will stain!
@simplegreensoul Replying to @trublu888 Damn this probably the coolest thing I’ve learnt recently… what a clever fruit! 😅 #mangosteens #ilovefruit #didyouknowthishack #plantbasedgirl #didyouknowthisbefore ♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) - 山口夕依
@simplegreensoul Mangoes used to be my favourite fruit… but now I’m not so sure!! I think I like Mangosteen more 😆 #manggis #mangosteens #malaysianfruit #malaysiafoodies #malaysiafoodiehunter #PepsiApplePieChallenge ♬ FEEL THE GROOVE - Queens Road, Fabian Graetz
Native to tropical and subtropical climates, the longan is a close relative of the lychee. Longans generally have thinner, lighter-colored shells than lychees do. An incredible source of vitamin C, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and more, this round fruit actually ripens on the tree and can reach up to two centimeters in diameter. Inside its sweet and fragrant shell is a flavorful white flesh with a slightly chewy texture.
The longan is extremely popular in Malaysia, and can be found at any pasar (wet market), or road side stalls.
Pulasan is a close relative of the rambutan and the taste and texture is also very similar to rambutan. Similar to the rambutan, once you peel the exterior of the fruit, the juicy, sweet, and slightly tangy interiors resembles that of a lychee. Pulasans are much rarer to find, and I have actually only come across Pulasan once during my whole time in Malaysia! Pulasans are well known to be slightly chewier and tastier than rambutans!
If you find this spiky fruit, you must buy it!
@simplegreensoul Like rambutan…but better! 😆 #malaysianfruit #tropicalfruitbox #veganmalaysia #veganinmalaysia #plantbasedfoodie ♬ Good Day - Nappy Roots
Soursop, also known as guanabana, is a tropical fruit with a spiky green exterior and a creamy white interior. It has a sweet and tangy flavour, similar to a combination of pineapple and strawberry. Soursop is rich in vitamin C, fibre, and antioxidants, making it a great addition to any diet. It can be eaten fresh or used in smoothies, desserts, and other recipes.
@simplegreensoul I’m blown away with the kindness of Malaysians. Can you believe a stranger bought this for me to try? I was admiring the fruit but didn’t have any money on me so he insisted on buying it for me 💚 #malaysiafruit #malaysianfruit #soursopfruit #plantbasedfoodie #veganinmalaysia #tropicalfruitbox ♬ Bright and Positive Hip Hop 3 minutes (background music) - MPmedia
@simplegreensoul The weird but wonderful tropical fruit, Soursop! If you haven’t tried this fruit before then you absolutely must! Just make sure you don’t eat too much of it 😆 #soursopfruit #soursop #tropicalfruits #malaysianfruit #veganlifestyle🌱 #healthylivingstyle ♬ How`s Your Day (Remastered) - aAp Vision
However, be warned that I have shared a delicious soursop recipe before and many were quick to point out that this fruit is so delicious and unique on its own that it seems wasteful to make a smoothie with it!
@simplegreensoul If you manage to get your hands on this exotic fruit, Soursop, then you have to try this Soursop milkshake recipe! #tropicalfruits #malaysianfruit #soursopjuice #soursopfruit #fruitsmoothies #healthyfoodies ♬ How`s Your Day - aAp Vision
Papaya is a tropical fruit with a soft, orange flesh and a sweet, but mild flavour. The texture is smooth and similar to that of a rock melon. It is rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium, making it a great choice for boosting immunity and promoting healthy digestion. Papaya can be eaten fresh, added to salads, or used in smoothies and desserts. It is also commonly used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties.
I love to sprinkle a bit of salt and squeeze some lime juice on fresh papaya. This is truly delicious and you absolutely must try it!!
@simplegreensoul Did you know this delicious hack for papaya? Truly👌 #malaysianfruit #tropicalfruitbox #healthyfruits ♬ How`s Your Day - aAp Vision
@simplegreensoul Have you ever tried a papaya milkshake or papaya smoothie before? This is a super simple recipe that is SO YUMMY! It’s a must try 🥰 #papayasmoothie #papayamilkshake #tropicalfruitbox #healthyfoodlover #fruitlovers😋 ♬ How`s Your Day (Remastered) - aAp Vision
I was also pleasantly surprised at how delicious papaya is for a smoothie. This simple recipe honestly tastes exactly like a milkshake or thick shake!
Starfruit, also known as carambola, is a tropical fruit with a unique shape and flavour. When sliced, it forms a star shape, hence the name. It has a sweet and tangy taste, similar to a combination of apple, grape, and citrus. Starfruit is rich in vitamin C, fibre, and antioxidants, making it a great choice for boosting immunity and promoting healthy digestion. It can be eaten fresh, added to salads, or used in smoothies and cocktails.
I have only ever tasted the green star fruit, which is actually very tart! I didn't like it at all. However, I am told that if you buy the sweet variety it can be quite delicious.
Jackfruit is a large, spiky fruit that is native to Southeast Asia. It has a sweet, tropical flavour and a meaty texture. The jackfruit is from the same family of the durian and the cempedak, which means it is on eof the stinky fruit from Asia! At first the smell is overpowering, but honestly I believe that you start to get use to the smelliness and actually start to enjoy it!
Jackfruit is rich in nutrients, including vitamin C, potassium, and fibre and can be eaten fresh (ripe jackfruit), or cooked in curries and stews, or used as a filling for tacos and sandwiches. However, it is important to note that the jackfruit that is used in curries or vegan dishes is often a young jackfruit. This is white in colour and the is harder to touch. The ripe jackfruit is bright yellow and very soft to touch.
I love making vegan dishes with young jackfruit! You can checkout this delicious deep fried chicken recipe that I make with young jackfruit.
The jackfruit is a huge fruit. Therefore, it is unlikely you would buy a whole one and it is common to buy fresh jackfruit already extracted from the fruit. This is what I recommend that you do if you want to try jackfruit whilst in Asia
I also make a delicious jackfruit sorbet (highly recommend you try this recipe!), which you can see how in my TikTok recipe below.
@simplegreensoul Frozen fruit has never tasted so good 😊 #jackfruitrecipes #plantbasedfoodie #malaysiafoodies #malaysianfruit ♬ original sound - dest 𓆉
@simplegreensoul Replying to @punithanthevar you can’t tell me that this isn’t like jackfruit ice-cream or jackfruit sorbet now 😏 #jackfruitrecipes #fruitsorbet #healthierdessert #plantbasedfoodie ♬ Vlog BGM_03(953483) - Fujiwo
Cempedak is another tropical fruit in Asia that is closely related to jackfruit and durian. It has a sweet, musky flavour and a soft, creamy texture. The fruit is typically eaten fresh, but can also be used in desserts and baked goods. Cempedak is a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and fibre, and is also low in calories. However, it is important to note that this fruit too is consider one of the many stinky fruit from asia, and has a strong odour that some people may find unpleasant.
One of the most famous Malaysian street food dishes if Cempdeak Goreng, which means deep friend Cempedak! I had initially planned to make this dish with this cempedak that I am trying but sadly the cempedak was too ripe (or not ripe enough, I actually have mixed comments in my TikTok!).
@simplegreensoul I finally found some Cempedak to try! This tropical fruit has been one of the most requested fruits that I try (the most requested being durian!😆) and it finally seems to be in season! 😋 I actually made some cempdak gelato with this afterwards… I’ll be sharing the recipe for that soon 🥰 #malaysianfruit #tropicalfruits #cempedak #tropicalfruit #plantbasedfood #eatyourfruits ♬ How`s Your Day (Remastered) - aAp Vision
Snakefruit, also known as Salak, is a tropical fruit native to Indonesia but also cultivated in other Southeast Asian countries. It gets its name from the scaly skin that resembles that of a snake. The fruit has a firm, crunchy texture with a slightly acidic taste that is a combination of apple, pineapple, and banana. Its flesh is yellowish-white and has a single large seed in the center. Snakefruit is highly nutritious and is a good source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals. It is often consumed fresh as a snack. Its unique flavour and texture make it a popular exotic fruit among fruit enthusiasts.
I really enjoyed the flavour of snakefruit when I tried it. I would compare it to consuming an apple or banana as snack. The crunchiness of it would also be delicious in a salad. I plan to create a salad recipe with this delicious fruit eventually!
@simplegreensoul Have you heard of snake fruit before? #snakefruit #buahsalak #malaysianfruit #tropicalfruitbox ♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim