When reading about fruit in Thailand, they talk about all the exotic varieties, and that it’s everywhere; from the countless markets and food carts, to the tourist-driven water markets in Bangkok.
Out here in the country, it is LITERALLY everywhere. On my morning runs, I see every variety of seasonal fruit growing alongside the road. It’s for sale at seemingly every house in every village, as families pick what’s fresh in their backyards and pile it on a table for sale. Each table operates on the honor system with a scale and a cardboard box. Weigh and pay and you’re good to go.
When we stop for lunch after a hike, the lady who runs our local noodle shop always sends us off with a few mangos or a pineapple. Workers stop their scooters by a grove of mango trees and stock up with an armful on their way home. It is plentiful, beautiful, delicious and so exotic.
I have my favorites (I love pomelos but hate peeling them), but within the first week, we discovered a new favorite. Suddenly, dragon fruit, (pitaya in Spanish, kaumangor in Thai), were everywhere. I’d seen them in Hong Kong, but only the white variety. Out here in the northern Thai countryside, we see mostly the bright pink variety. Our noodle lady had a big pile of them one day, so we bought a few kilos and took them home to experiment.
The super sweet pulp blends up smoothly, we put it in the blender with some pineapple, a few bananas from our tree, some lime juice, water and ice. It’s so sweet that, even with the lime juice, we didn’t need any sweetener.
It’s a nutritional powerhouse, lowering cholesterol and glucose levels, with vitamin C, antioxidants, healthy fats and some protein from the numerous seeds. And, it’s actually a succulent. The plant looks like a huge Christmas cactus. The farm at the Spa Resort has rows and rows of them.
I used to spend about $30 a week on fruit in the U.S. Strawberries, blueberries, apples, plus whatever was in season, were staples for us. Now, I’m spending about $3 a week on fruit. Of course, I could spend way over $30 a week here if I kept with our U.S. staples and shopped at the foreign grocery stores, but by staying local (by that I mean within a 1 mile radius) and seasonal, I can keep it under $5 a week for all the fresh, perfect fruit we can eat.
This week I’ve seen a lot of round gold-colored fruit . . . better do some research.