Weird Exotic Fruits Around The World

Some people don’t like the word “exotic” – others jump at the opportunity to say that this or that fruit isn’t exotic anymore or isn’t exotic for this or that country.

But you know what? I like the word exotic – it awakens a curiosity within me, an excitement of a world that perhaps is not yet as mainstream as people make it out to be.

Sure, the world does feel smaller and smaller, and there are foods in our supermarkets today that nobody would have ever heard of 10 years ago – but to me, there are many fruits that I have yet to taste or only had the privilege of trying once – and those, in my opinion, are exotic …

Weird Exotic Fruits Around The World

Kiwano Melon – Africa

Also known as the African cucumber, this slimey looking melon with horns is native to the African Kalahari Desert – today you can also find it in California and New Zealand.

Some people say it’s the most disgusting fruit they’ve ever tried, others say it reminds them of a blend between banana, lime, passionfruit and cucumber – an unsual blend indeed…!

Durian – South East Asia

One of the strangest tasting experiences I’ve had is with the Durian – this big, spiky, evil-looking fruit has some dedicated fans, but even more people who avoid it at all cost.

The reason why it’s such a strange experience to taste it is because you’re fighting your own senses. Your nose tells you to stay the hell away, while your tongue tells you to continue eating.

The fruit actually tastes pretty good, but the smell is stomach-turning, which is why you will see signs everywhere in South East Asia banning the fruit.

Everything from hospitals to hotels to buses put up big signs warning anyone from bringing the fruit inside.

Wood Apple – Sri Lanka

When I first saw the wood apple I thought it was inedible. The shell looks like a rock, and the insides look rotten.

But don’t let the look – or funky smell, fool you, because it tastes great – if you don’t want to eat it as it is, order a wood apple smoothie or juice, and you will be hooked!

Ugli – Caribbean

This is a fruit I have yet to taste, and to be honest I had never even heard of this fruit until just a few days ago. The next time I plan a vacation in the Caribbean, this will be at the top of my list!

Just the name alone makes me want to try this fruit, and the fact that the name describes the look of it is even better!

The Ugli looks a bit like an ugly version of an orange, and tastes like a mix between a grapefruit, orange and tangerine – the fruit is a favorite among locals, can be found everywhere from tiny street stalls to Caribbean luxury resorts.

Jackfruit – India

Seriously one of the tastiest fruits I’ve ever had, the yellow flesh of the Jackfruit is sweet and mild, similar to pineapple – only better… The fruit is one of the largest tree-borne fruits in the world, so I would suggest buying the flesh by itself rather than the whole fruit.

Snake Fruit – Indonesia

Snake fruit, or Salak, is a fruit I haven’t seen anywhere outside Asia.

It looks like an imaginary snake egg, with a shell like the skin of a snake.

The snake egg has a sweet and sometimes tangy taste to it, kind of like pineapple but with a completely different consistency, like an apple, and it looks like huge peeled garlic cloves.

One of the reasons you don’t see it much in places where the fruit doesn’t grow is because it goes rotten only a week after picking. Even in a country where the fruit grows it’s hard to spot the tasty ones from the bad.

Be careful when eating it, avoid the red parts as they’re a bit sour, and remember that the pulp inside is inedible!

Sapodilla – Caribbean

Sapodilla is basically nature’s cotton-candy. It is super sweet, like syrup. Someone once described it as a caramel-covered pear.

It’s definitely a highlight for people taking luxury holidays in the Caribbean, but picking them is an art form.

As they are picked before they ripen, they must be stored in certain ways. Some bury them underground, others wrap them up in clothes to speed up the process.

Feijoa – South America

With a consistency of a pear and a flavor like something between guava, pineapple and strawberry – this fruit really has combined the best flavors in the world..!

While it is native to South America, it’s mainly grown in New Zealand today – it’s also Nathan’s favorite fruit ;)

Other exotic fruits worth trying: Longan, Lychee (one of my favorites), Rhambutan, Santol, Mangosteen (yum!) and Dragonfruit (yuck!).

What are some exotic fruits you have tried?

(photo credit: 1 –  2 – 3 – 4)

17 Responses to Weird Exotic Fruits Around The World

  1. Just One Boomer (Suzanne) November 23, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    I obviously have not been going to the right places in the Carribean. Have you ever had a chirimoya?

    • Sofia November 23, 2012 at 9:11 am #

      I’ve heard of it but never tried it myself. Is it nice?

  2. Gull November 24, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    This post was inspiring enough to make me want to try some of those fruits-and yeah jack fruit is delicious!!!
    Thankyou for a lovely post!

    • Sofia November 26, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      Great to hear! Food, and especially sweet stuff, is one of the things I love most about traveling.

  3. San Diego RV Camper November 26, 2012 at 3:07 am #

    The inside of a Kiwano melon looks like passion fruit but the flavor as you stated maybe would be like four seasons? hahaha. Which among these did you like best?

    • Sofia November 26, 2012 at 10:42 am #

      You’re right, it does kind of look like a massive passionfruit inside. My favorite is the jackfruit – yummm..

  4. Suzzane from Travel Universally November 26, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    In my lifetime , I haven’t seen such exotic fruits except Jackfruit and Wood Apple. Thanks for showing such fruits. I would like to taste the Snake’s fruit.

    • Sofia November 29, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

      The snake fruit is definitely an interesting fruit to try, if you ever find yourself in Bali you have to taste them!

  5. Katie November 28, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    Tried durian and jackfruit. Both were awesome. I’m looking forward to trying the other fruits.

    • Sofia November 29, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

      Haha yes they’re both awesome but in very different ways, I think ;P

  6. Tita November 30, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    Very interesting! I’ll make sure to put Ugli, Kiwano, Feijoa and Wood apple on my list when visiting the countries. Anyway, I live in Indonesia and I think you can try most of the fruits mentioned here: Durian, Rambutan, Jackfruit (nangka in local lingo), Snake fruit (salak), Dragonfruit (buah naga) and Mangosteen (manggis).
    They’re available (almost) year round, even though some will be difficult to get and not at their best when it’s not the season :)

    • Sofia December 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

      There are so many delicious fruits in Indonesia, I love mangosteen!

  7. Robbert December 4, 2012 at 4:40 am #

    I have encountered and tried most of the Asian fruits mentioned, but have never seen a Snake fruit. I’ll be sure to add it to my list of things to try.

    Can I add Langsat to the list? Or is that not considered exotic enough? I for one had never heard of it prior to coming to Borneo. They are very tasty!!

    Ive also had the pleasure of trying Brunei Olives, a fingerfood that I believe is a fruit, although you need to boil it before you eat it. It is only available in Brunei.

    • Sofia December 4, 2012 at 8:45 am #

      Of course you can, Langsat are delcious! They often hand them out for free at temples in Thailand, have never heard of Brunei Olives – they seem interesting!

  8. Chanel @ LaViajeraMorena December 10, 2012 at 2:58 am #

    That Kiwano Melon looks delicious. If I don’t get to Africa soon, I am going to have to go back to California and find it :D

  9. Bruno December 18, 2012 at 1:44 am #

    Very nice! What you call Ugli is known as “mexerica” (maybe you’ll pronunce mexereeca) here in Brazil. It is typpicaly a summer season fruit, but available in the market almost year round for a reasonable cheap price (2USD per kilo). It has a thick but easy to open shell, like a thick orange, is juicy and tastes really sweet, one of my favorite fruits ever.
    We do have the Jackfruit as well, called “jaca”, but the “atemoia”, a kind of its “considerably small cousin”, is one to look for, probably the sweetest fruit on planet!
    You can also easely find mangosteen and lychee on summer season here!

    • Sofia December 18, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

      Thanks for the tips Bruno, I would love to try atemoia, what a pretty name for a fruit. :)