Fruit-Travelling can be so much fun, especially when you know a little about your destination in advance. And this applies to local foods as well. So we at we figured it was time to share the sweet stuff on seven exotic fruits that are available in different parts of the world. Most of these are not only nutritious and loaded with health benefits, but will also add some zing to your palate!
These are commonly found in the Malay Archipelago and Southeast Asia. The rambutan resembles lychees, with a red, leathery skin covered with spikes. The rambutan is a popular garden fruit tree, and one of the most famous in Southeast Asia. They’re sweet and juicy, and commonly available as jams or sold in cans. Some benefits of the rambutan include helping with weight loss, reducing fever and the effects of diabetes. It can also be used for hair and skin care.
The dragon fruit is prominently found in Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Mexico and South America. Strawberry pear, or pitaya, as it’s locally known, is a night flowering vine that resembles a cactus. This is sweet and juicy, making it a popular choice. The most common dragon fruit is the red pitaya, but other varieties include the Costa Rica pitaya and the yellow pitaya.
You can drink the juice from this, or use it to make delicious homemade wine. Dragon fruits are commonly used in preserves and spreads, in salads, sorbets and even fruit pizzas. Dragon fruit can help lower blood glucose levels, fight harmful free radicals, stimulate metabolism due to its protein content, and help in tissue development. So if you happen to spot this, be sure to give it a try!
Mangosteen is found in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Thailand and elsewhere. This fruit is purple, creamy and may be described as a citrus fruit that tastes a bit like peach. It is rich in antioxidants, and for this reason it is believed the fruit can lower one’s risk of cancer. There are grand legends about Queen Victoria offering rewards to anyone who would bring her this. Mangosteen may be helpful in fighting bacterial diseases, reducing blood pressure, easing migraines and supporting vascular health.
Passion fruit is found in South America, India, New Zealand and Brazil. This has a soft, juicy interior that is full of seeds, and can be used to make juice to boost the flavour quotient. There are two types of passion fruit: the golden one (maracuyá), which is similar to a grapefruit, and the dark purple passion fruit (gulupa), which is about the size of a lemon. But be careful of those dark purple passion fruits; they can be harmful or even toxic.
Passion fruit has phenolic acids and flavonoids which are supposed to have a heart-protecting function and are known for their anti-microbial activities. This is also rich in vitamins C and A, and potassium.
So next time you are travelling to some exotic destination (or out at your local produce market), make sure you keep an eye out for these exotic, bizarre fruits. They’re a sweet treat, and loaded with health benefits as well!