Most weird fruits in Phuket actually taste delightful, though their odd appearance can turn away those who have never encountered them before. From unusual shapes to peculiar smells, these tropical fruits are probably going to be some of the strangest things you'll eat in Phuket – unless you decide to chow down on some edible insects.

    Naturally, it's a big help in overcoming trepidation if you know a little about the bizarre produce sold in Phuket's fresh markets. Some might makeshift weapons, while others seem as though they're from a different planet. With our informative guide, you can be confident in trying some of the most unique Thai fruits during your holiday.



    Thailand’s national fruit, mangosteen, has a thick and hard rind concealing an edible, white-coloured endocarp. It has a subtle, almost sherbet-like taste. Interestingly enough, the endocarp's fleshy segments correspond to the number of tiny tabs seen on the bottom of the fruit. You can easily open a mangosteen with your hands, but be careful as the juice from peels can form a rather indelible stain.



    Rambutan’s name comes rambut, which is the Malay word for 'hair'. The reason is pretty obvious – its red or yellow rind is covered with hair-like spikes. 

    Once you look past this weird exterior and open the fruit, you'll find a white, translucent flesh with a seed at its heart. Rambutan flesh looks almost identical to lychee, but it has a grape-like flavour – mostly sweet and creamy, with a slightly sourish edge.


    Custard apple

    Originally from Central America, the custard apple looks like an overgrown and bloated green raspberry. You can easily break this fruit into halves with your hands. While it's best eaten fresh with a spoon, custard apple is often mixed with coconut milk and enjoyed as ice cream. Custard apples are valued both for their great taste and fabled medicinal qualities. It's also known as sugar apple or bull’s heart. 



    Durian is known as the ‘king of fruits’ in Southeast Asia. While it looks more like a medieval mace than a tasty treat, this fruit is very popular with Thais. Expatriates and tourists tend to be starkly divided between those who adore its flavour and those who abhor its smell. Those who love durian think that it tastes like cream cheese, onion sauce and sherry,  while others likened it to decomposing flesh.

    Due to its pungent smell, you're not allowed to bring durian into most hotels, taxis, minivans and buses. There's no cholesterol in its pale yellow flesh, but it does contain high amounts of natural sugars, which may have contributed to the myth that you can’t pair durian with alcohol.


    Dragon fruit (pitaya)

    If you open this pinkish-purple, hostile-looking little fruit, you’ll see that its white creamy inner flesh has a polka-dot pattern of black seeds. Dragon fruits (or pitaya) are rated as effective laxatives, so avoid eating too many in one go. This tropical fruit is also excellent as smoothies, with seeds adding an interesting texture for good measure.

    Ben Reeves | Compulsive Traveller

    Start planning your trip

    COVID-19 Travel Alert

    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.

    Back to top