Desserts, Snacks and Fruit
Find out what desserts and fruit Thailand has to offer...
Thailand has an extensive range of sweet snacks, generally known as ka-nom. These can be bought from street vendors at any time of the day. Thai people often like sour, unripe fruit dipped in salt and chillies or small fish glazed with sweet syrup and there is a vast selection on offer on nearly every street.
There are many fruits available in Thailand. They are sold at the local markets by the kilogram or from food stalls on the street in ready-to-eat slices. Although many fruits are available all year, the variety and quality greatly increases during the rainy season from May to October.
Here is a list of a few of the fruits in Thailand and the months that they are available. There are many other fruits which are listed with photos in the links below.
- Rambutan (ngoh): This looks like a small red egg covered in rubbery hair. The thick skin is peeled back to reveal a sweet, white, juicy fruit with a large seed in the middle. It is available from May to September
- Mango (ma'-muang): There are many varieties of mango in Thailand. Some of them are eaten ripe, when they are sweet and yellow; others are eaten while they are still green and range from very sour to sweet-sour. When ordering, ask the vendor which it is – sweet (wan), or sour (bri-ao). Thai people generally prefer to eat them green and sour, dipped in salt, sugar and chillies. Another favourite is sweet, yellow mango served with sticky rice cooked in coconut cream (ma'-muang khao niao). Although some varieties are available all year, there is a much wider selection during January to May with a greater variety of sweet mangoes available at this time
- Lychee (lin-chee): These have a red skin with a small white fruit inside which is sweet and tangy. They are sold in bunches by the kilo. They are very popular but have one of the shortest seasons, being available only between April and June
- Mangosteen (mong-goot): These have a hard, dark skin which is bright pink inside with a small white fruit in the centre. The fruit is made up of small segments, each with a seed which can simply be swallowed if it is still small. The fruit is sweet, tangy and very refreshing
- Durian (durian): One of the most famous fruits in Thailand, it is well known for its strong and pungent odour which has caused it to be banned from some of the up-market hotels in Bangkok. It is a big fruit about the size of a large football with a thick green skin covered in large, sharp spikes. The skin is cut open to reveal a soft and very smelly yellow fruit. The fruit is in segments, each of which has a large seed. It is best eaten when neither under ripe or over ripe, this is when the fruit has a firm but soft texture and is sweetest. There are many varieties of durian but the most popular is mon-tong. Durian is another fruit with a very short season, available from May to August
- Jack Fruit (kan-noon): This is another unusual fruit and is related to the durian. It's even bigger than the durian but the skin is covered with small bumps rather than spikes. Also, it lacks the strong odour which makes the durian so unpalatable to some people. The yellow fruit inside is sweet and in small segments, again, each with its own seed. These can be boiled in salted water and eaten as a snack. Jack fruit is one of the few fruits which is not sold by the kilo; usually it is sold in 20-baht portions. It is available year-round
- For a list of fruits and when they are available: Click here