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26 Asian Fruits To Enjoy Today

If you have adventurous taste buds, trying exotic Asian fruits should be on your to-do list. Fruits from across the continent come in various interesting shapes, textures, colors, and tastes. 

Like any other fruit, they are healthy and delicious. You can eat some raw or add them to a cocktail, while others are better used as ingredients for a dish. If you plan on visiting any of the 48 Asian countries soon, here are some recommended Asian fruity delights you should try.

Related Reads: Fruits That Are Vegetables And Vice Versa, Seasonal Produce Guide.

26 Asian Fruits To Try

Fruits generally have valuable health benefits. The fruits on this list are rich in Vitamin C, antioxidants, and other nutrients. If you have preexisting health conditions, please check with a physician so you are sure what fruits are safe for you to consume. 

1. Asian pears

asian pears
Photo by See-ming Lee on Flickr licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Cropped from original).

Asian pears refer to a species of pears that originate from East Asia. They are native to China and Japan but grow all over the continent. The Asian pear goes by many alternative names, including Nashi, Japanese, Apple, Chinese, etc. 

The typical Asian pear has pale yellow dotted skin and is roughly the shape and size of an apple. It has firm white flesh that's crispy with a mild flavor. You can eat Asian pears as fresh fruits, in salads or pie.

2. Breadfruit

breadfruit
Photo by Philip Tellis on Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

Breadfruit is a tropical fruit that likely originated in Polynesia. From there, it spread to Southeast Asia, Central America, the Caribbean, and some parts of Africa. The Malayan name for breadfruit is sukun. 

The fruit is bumpy bright green on the outside and has seedless milky flesh on the inside. There's a seeded variety called breadnuts.

Breadfruit is typically used as an ingredient in savory dishes. It's a delicious substitute for potatoes. You can boil, roast, or fry it. You can also eat the over-ripe fruit raw.

3. Buddha's hand

buddha's hand
Photo by Burkhard Mücke on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Buddha's hand is an Asian citrus fruit with an unusual appearance. It is a bundle of many long yellow finger-like projections. The fruit is believed to have originated in India and was introduced to China by Buddhist monks3.

This Asian fruit has no pulp or seeds and's not eaten fresh. The rind and flesh have a sweet, strong fragrance. The rind and flesh of Buddha's hands have a sweet-bitter taste. You can use it for salad dressings, candy, cocktail infusions, and so much more.

4. Chinese Bayberry

chinese bayberry
Photo by harum.koh on Flickr licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Cropped from original).

Chinese barberry, or Yangmei as the locals call it, is a popular fruit native to China. It has a bumpy body that could be bright red to deep red when ripe. The fruit is about the size of a large cherry with a chewy texture.

It has a slightly sour taste with hints of strawberry and raspberry. You can eat it fresh, candied, baked or dried. Pickled Yangmei juice is a delicious way to cool down in the hot Chinese summer sun.

5. Carambola

carambola
Photo by DeusXFlorida on Flickr licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Cropped from original).

You might know Carambola as the star fruit. The alternative name comes from its five-pointed star shape when sliced cross-sectionally. The star fruit is native to tropical Asia. 

Carambola is often consumed fresh with a pinch of salt or pepper. It can also be candied, fermented, or juiced. Almost ripe Carambola has a sharp sour taste, but ripe ones have sweet notes of melon, pear, and gooseberry.

The star fruit has medicinal properties but excess consumption can also be toxic for people with certain health predispositions2.

6. Dragon fruit

dragonfruit
Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash.

The dragon fruit or pitaya is a refreshing snack. It tastes like a combination of a pear and a kiwi. It's a popular ingredient in exotic fruit bowls, smoothies, and jelly. Although it's grown extensively in Vietnam, the dragon fruit originated from Central America.

Dragon fruits come from several types of cacti. They are about the size of a large orange. Their thick peel can be pink or yellow with green leafy spikes. Some varieties of dragon fruits have white flesh, others are pink and some are deep red. Whatever the color, the flesh is filled with edible black seeds.

7. Durian

durian
Photo by Hasbi Kurnia on Unsplash.

Durian is one of the most controversial Southeast Asian fruits. Its smell and taste are why people hate and love it. A durian smells so bad that in many Asian countries, you can't bring the fruit to public spaces. Durian grows in the Philippines, southern Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. 

The durian fruit can grow as big as a soccer ball. It has compartments filled with pulp inside its spikey husk. The pulp has a thick, creamy texture and tastes like vanilla pudding. People eat it raw or use it in desserts. They also roast and eat the seeds.

8. Goji berries

goji berries
Photo by daveeza on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The goji berry is an Asian fruit valued for its health benefits1. Asians have used it in traditional medicine for centuries. Goji berries are native to Japan, Taiwan, and China but grow all over Asia. Another name for the tiny teardrop-shaped berry is wolfberry.

These have a sweet, sour flavor that feels like a melding of a cherry and a cranberry. You can eat them fresh, juiced, frozen, or dried. Or use them as tea and liquor infusions. There's a variety of goji berries grown outside in New Zealand and the US. Those taste more like tomatoes.

9. Ice apple 

This exotic Asian fruit is a fan palm native to Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. It has other famous names, including toddy palm, Tadgola, sugar palm, palmyrah palm, and tala palm. The palm fruits resemble coconuts.

The toddy palm is highly valued for its medicinal properties and almost every part of the plant is edible. But, most sought after is the translucent jelly-like substance inside the seedpod of the immature fruits. It tastes like coconut, has high water content, and is perfect for hydrating in scorching summer heat.

10. Jackfruit

jackfruit
Photo by Rakeem Burrell on Unsplash.

The jackfruit is a popular Asian fruit native to South Asia. Jackfruits are the largest tree-borne fruits in the world. One jackfruit can be about 2 feet long and weigh up to 40 pounds. 

The jackfruit has a fleshy, deep yellow pulp with a sweet smell and pineapple flavor notes. The stringy Jackfruit pulp is a preferred meat substitute in vegan meals. 

You can enjoy fully ripened jackfruit raw or add it to certain dishes. Unripe jackfruit can be boiled, pickled, or fried. The edible seeds taste like chestnuts when roasted.

11. Kumquat

kumquat
Photo by Rens D on Unsplash.

A kumquat is a citrus fruit native to eastern Asia, particularly China and Japan. Kumquats look like olive-sized oranges. They are the smallest member of the citrus family. They take on a yellow-orange color as they ripen.

These fruits taste like oranges with a spicy, deliciously sweet flavor. You eat them whole like grapes. The skin, pulp, and seeds are all edible. The skin tastes sweet, and the pulp is quite tart. Only the Meiwa Kumquat is an exception. Both the skin and pulp are sweet.

Kumquats may be eaten raw, dried candied, or made into jams and desserts.

12. Longans

longan
Photo by Judgefloro on Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

The longan is an exotic fruit popular in many Asian countries, including China, Vietnam, India, and Thailand. Another common name for the fruit is dragon eye. It comes from how the dark single seed surrounded by translucent edible flesh appears.  

These fruits have a musky flavor and mildly sweet taste. They are comparable to lychees in taste and size but have more noticeable tartness. Their texture is succulent and semi-firm. You can buy fresh, dried, or canned longans. Take caution when biting into fresh longan. The seed is hard enough to crack your teeth. 

13. Loquat

loquat
Photo by Jean and Fred Hort on Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The loquat is an exotic Asian fruit native to central and eastern China. It was introduced to Japan about 1,000 years ago and has become commercially popular there. The fruit has been cultivated in the US since the 1870s.

A loquat is yellow-orange, sort of pear-shaped, and about 2 inches long. The skin is tough and covers the edible whitish-orange pulp. 

Loquats have a slightly tart and mostly sweet flavor. The taste is reminiscent of plums and cherries. They are usually eaten fresh but can be cooked, canned, or made into fruit leather.

14. Lychee

lychee
Photo by Jamie Trinh on Unsplash.

The lychee is a globally loved Asian fruit that originates from southern China. It has been introduced to Hawaii, Jamaica, South Africa, and Florida.

The small lychee fruit is oval and has a bumpy strawberry-red exterior. The edible part is the milky translucent flesh surrounding the single large brown seed. 

Fresh lychees have notes of citrus, watermelon, strawberry, and pear. They have a floral aroma and are excellent additions to cocktails and desserts. Tartness is a lot more noticeable in dried lychee.

15. Mango

mango
Photo by Srinivas Sudagani on Unsplash.

Mangos from India and Thailand are sought after for their mouth-watering flavors. The mango is India's national fruit and an important ingredient in Thai cuisine.

There are so many varieties of mangoes you can enjoy in South Asia. They include the nam dok mai, ok rong, Kesar, Dasheri, Neelam, Chaunsa, and Chok Anan, just to name a few. 

Mangoes are popularly eaten raw. However, you can try recipes like Thai sticky rice and mango, mango salad, mango pudding, etc.

16. Mangosteen

mangosteen
Photo by Art Rachen on Unsplash.

The mangosteen is one of the most popular tropical fruits, rivaled only by the durian. It is native to Southeast Asia, but you can find it growing in the United States and Central America, too. 

The orange-sized fruit has a firm dark purple rind. It encases 5 to 8 segments of delicious, juicy white flesh. The segments may be seeded or seedless.

Mangosteens have a sweet-and-sour flavor with peach, pineapple, lychee, caramel, and strawberry notes. Most people simply eat mangosteen raw. You can dehydrate it to make chewy snacks.

17. Mosambi

Mosambi, also known as sweet lime, is one of the exotic fruits of India. It is similar to an orange in appearance but tastes like lime. Mosambi is less acidic compared to regular lime. It tastes mildly sweet.

This fruit is juicy, and that's what most people use it for. Mosambi lime juice is a popular cooling drink during Indian summers. The fragrant fruit can be used for almost any cooking use that applies to limes.

18. Passion fruits

passion fruit
Photo by Suguri F on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Cropped from original).

The passion fruit is not Asia but found its way there and is now a popular naturalized fruit. There are two types of passion fruits: yellow and purple.

Both types contain crunchy seeds encased in pulp. The pulp of the purple passion fruit is yellowish, while yellow passion fruit tends towards colorless pulp. 

Passion fruits generally have a sweet flavor. They taste like a cross between a guava and a pineapple. Some people believe the yellow passion fruit has a little tart to it.

19. Japanese persimmon

japanese persimmon
Photo by [puamelia] on Flickr licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Japanese persimmon, or kaki as it is locally called, is the national fruit of Japan. It's also an important fruit in China and Korea.

Kaki has two major types: the fuyu and hachiya. Fuyu persimmons lose their astringent taste and ripen faster. When fully ripened, hachiya persimmons are squishy, while fuyu persimmons are super soft.

The sweet flesh of both types of Japanese persimmon tastes like honey. You can eat them fresh, dried, or baked. They made great additions to salads and pudding.

20. Pomelo

pomelo
Photo by Ivar Leidus on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The pomelo is one of the most popular exotic fruits of Southeast Asia. It is the largest fruit in the citrus family. It can have an oval or round shape and measure up to 11.8 inches in diameter.

There are many different varieties of Pomelo. Some have yellow pulp, while others have white or pink pulp. Generally, pomelos have a taste profile similar to the grapefruit but with a more noticeable sweetness.

You can enjoy pomelos fresh fruit or use them in sweet dishes. You can also extract fragrant lemony essential oil from the peel and seeds.

21. Rambutan

rambutan
Photo by Anil Xavier on Unsplash.

Rambutan is a bright red tropical fruit that's native to Malaysia. It's grown in Southeast Asia and Central America.

The fruit is covered with long, soft, greenish spines and is the size of a golf ball. When you open the skin, you'll find the edible white flesh. It tastes somewhat acidic and somewhat sweet. Rambutan's taste profile is similar to lychee, but the rambutan is creamier. 

You can consume rambutan in a variety of ways. You may also roast the large single seeds.

22. Sugar apples

sugar apple
Photo by Saravanan Narayanan on Pexels.

The sugar apple is also known as the custard apple or sweetsop. It is one of those exotic asian fruits that aren't native to the continent but have become so popular there. 

The fruit has a thick, knobby rind, which separates into segments with pulp and seeds. Sugar apple skin may be yellow, green, or reddish.

Sugar apples have a sweet aroma. The creamy white or yellow flesh has a minty sweetness. People mostly eat it raw but you can also make ice cream, milkshakes, wine, or jelly with the sugar apple.

23. Snake fruit 

snake fruit
Photo by Marco Verch on Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The snake fruit is easily one of the top exotic Asian fruits. It has a red-brown scaly skin that resembles snake skin. Some varieties are covered with thorns. In Indonesia and Malaysia, the local name for the fruit is salak.

The edible part of the snake fruit is the three lobes of crunchy and juicy flesh. The flavor is like a mix of apple, banana, and pineapple. Some varieties have more of a honey-like sweetness, while others are more citrusy.

You can enjoy snake fruits raw, juiced, fermented into wine, or candied.

24. Tamarillo

tamarillo
Photo by C T Johansson on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Cropped from original).

The tamarillo is a unique Asian fruit that shares many similarities with the tomato. Its other names are Tree tomato and Dutch eggplant. Tamarillos are oval-shaped and have bright orange to red glossy skin. 

Tamarillos are said to have originated from the Andes and spread to Asia. They cultivate the fruit in India, the Philippines, and Malaysia.

Tamarillos have tough and bitter skin, but the pulp has a tangy and sweet taste. The pulp is like that of tomatoes but with large black seeds. It's like a cross between passion fruit and tomatoes.

25. Tamarind

tamarind
Photo by Malcolm Manners on Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

Tamarind is native to Africa but is extensively cultivated in the Indian subcontinent. The fruit is a pod that contains seeds and thick, fibrous pulp.

The tamarind is one Asian fruit that's rarely eaten raw. It has a laxative effect. The pulp has a taste that's more sour than sweet. It becomes more sour as the pulp dries.

The most common use for tamarind is as a cooking ingredient. It's popular in Asian food, especially in Indian cuisine. Tamarind is also popular in Central America.

26. Wax apple

wax apple
Photo by Renjusplace on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The wax apple goes by many names. People call it rose apple, java apple, jambu, etc. The fruit is shaped like a bell with waxy skin ranging from deep red to pink or pale green.

Wax apples have a subtle, sweet flavor similar to an Asian pear. The texture is crisp and crunchy but still quite juicy. You can eat this delicious fruit raw or add it to fruit salads. You can also cook wax apples.

Wax apples are native to South Asia but do well in the United States tropical regions.

Where to buy Asian fruits sustainably

Of course, native Asian fruits are grown abundantly on the continent. However, people from other continents have been able to grow some Asian fruits where climate and soil conditions permit. For example, the kiwi fruit is common in the United States and New Zealand.

Whether you are in Asia or America, the best place to get exotic fresh fruit is in the farmers market. Local farmers will have fruits that are in season and grown locally.

If you go to a supermarket or produce specialty stores, be sure to find out how far the fruits had to travel to get to you. That way, you can offset the carbon emissions correctly.

Conclusion

Asian countries have so many delicious fruits bursting with novel flavors. They are also packed with minerals and Vitamin C. You've got to try Asian fruits at least once, even the infamous durian. This list is a great starting point.

1

Vidović, B., Milinčić, D., Marčetić, D., Djuriš,  D, Ilić, D., Kostić, Ž., & Pešić, B. (2022). Health Benefits and Applications of Goji Berries in Functional Food Products Development: A Review. 

2

Lakmal, K., Yasawardene, P., Jayarajah, U., & Seneviratne, S. L. (2021). Nutritional and medicinal properties of Star fruit ( Averrhoa carambola ): A review. Food Science and Nutrition.

3

Smith, K. A. (2014). What the Heck Do I Do With a Buddha’s Hand? Smithsonian Magazine.

By Jennifer Okafor, BSc.

Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.

Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.

Fact Checked By:
Isabela Sedano, BEng.

Photo by Jonny Clow on Unsplash.
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