The world is full of amazing exotic fruits. How many have you heard of?
We’ve traveled to over ninety countries, visited local markets, and taken over sixty food tours. Still, we are surprised when we find a new fruit we’ve never heard of. Apples, oranges and bananas are nice, but there’s a whole WORLD of tasty and unusual fruit out there! We discovered many of these in Asia years ago, but I find it incredible that so many of these are not widely known in the US, even after all these years. Here are 16 exotic fruits – pictures and names – so you can become familiar with them.
This is a citrus fruit from Asia that looks like a lemon with long, finger-like segments growing from it. Marketed in the U.S. during Halloween as “Goblin Fingers,” this citrus has a delicate fragrance and is less tangy than a lemon.
This is a tart berry commonly found on shrubs in the Amazon region from Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela. Used mostly in juices, it is known for its extremely high vitamin C content.
These beautiful fruits are found in Asia and South America and they come with bright pink or white flesh peppered with black seeds. It’s low-calorie but high in fiber and antioxidants and vitamin C.
Both prized and reviled, the notorious durian is found around Southeast Asia. The taste is sharp and pungent, the smell foul, and the soft, creamy texture is similar to the putrid flesh of a rotting corpse.
The jackfruit looks similar to a durian, but is scaly instead of spiky. The pulp is crunchy and hard and tastes a little like canteloupe. It is often used as a meat substitute – perfect in tacos!
The langsat looks like a longan, but is a little bigger. The taste is similar but its fruit is divided into sections instead of one piece like the longan. To peel it, you just pinch the skin until it breaks.
Longans are round tree fruit found in Southeast Asia. They have fragrant white flesh surrounding a large seed, and are similar in flavor to lychees, but slightly more tart.
Loquat are round or oval yellow or orange tree fruits with high sugar content, commonly used in pies or jams. We tried these straight from the tree in the Republic of Georgia.
Lychee are round or oblong with bumpy red skin and white flesh, found around Southeast Asia. They are similar in taste to longans but sweeter, like a cross between strawberry and watermelon with floral notes.
The mangosteen is a small purple fruit with segments of sweet, floral white flesh, found in Southeast Asia. It has many health benefits, such as being high in antioxidants.
Also known as Cape gooseberries, physalis are nightshades native to the Americas and Australasia. They come wrapped in a calyx (like a tomatillo) and we’ve seen them pop up more and more in high-end restaurant dishes.
The largest citrus fruit, native to Southeast Asia, the pomelo is similar in taste to a sweet grapefruit and is often eaten on holidays and other festive occasions.
The hairy-looking rambutan is a tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia. It’s similar to the lychee in sweetness and flavor but creamier and less crisp.
Rose apples are found around Southeast Asia. They have a sweet and slightly tart flavor, with a crisp and crunchy texture similar to an apple.
Also known as hala fruit, the screw pine is found in Asia-Pacific. It is constructed of dozens of segments connected to a core that can be pulled out and eaten. It has a sweet delicate taste similar to pandan (made from its leaves).
Also known as salak, this fruit is found in many parts of Asia, including Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. It has a crunchy fruit that combines the flavors of apple, banana, and pineapple.
Summary: Exotic Fruits – Pictures and Names
You can see that there’s a whole WORLD of tasty and unusual fruit out there. I find it incredible that so many of these are not widely known in the US, even after all these years. These 16 exotic fruits are delicious and worth discovering. If you have an Asian market in your city, I challenge you to visit, see how many you can find, then have a tasting party.