When it comes to fruit, we Australians don’t usually stray far from our bananas, apples and oranges. If we’re feeling exotic, a golden kiwi fruit might get your vote but, really, we’re pretty boring fruit eaters.
Enter these fruits you have likely never heard of — and if you have, you probably haven’t tried them.
Most of these fruits are native to southeast Asia, while others are available at your local fruit shop (and your garden) but often get completely overlooked. Some of these strange fruits taste amazing, while others are… well, they are an acquired taste.
These little sea urchin looking things are an exotic fruit of southeast Asia. The word ‘rambut’ translates to ‘hairy’ in Malay and you can see why. However, once you peel the soft rind it looks exactly like a lychee, which is because they are in the same botanical family.
The small, plump fruit has a sweet, creamy flavour with a hint of floral. The point being, don’t judge a fruit by its cover because it probably tastes delicious inside — except, perhaps, for this next fruit.
Durian, aka the smelliest fruit in the world, is an acquired taste… for garbage juice. No, really, this spiky fruit actually smells like rotten eggs, sweaty socks, wet garbage and underlying notes of sweetness.
This southeast Asian fruit has a pong strong enough to stink out a whole apartment building. However (and this is a reluctant ‘however’), apparently ripe durian tastes good. Once you get past the putrid smell, the creamy flesh on the pods inside its thorny shell taste sweet. We’re game if you are.
3. Fruit salad plant
We don’t know which name we like better — fruit salad plant or its Latin name, Monstera deliciosa. One sounds delicious while the other bad arse.
Native to the tropical rainforests of southern Mexico, Monstera deliciosa actually grows in Australia — pretty much everywhere. You might unknowingly even have it as a house plant, and the fruit it bears on larger plants is edible and tastes like a combination of different fruits.
So, the next time you see a Monstera deliciosa while you’re wandering the streets, take a peak and look for some fruit salad.
Longan is a tropical tree fruit also known as ‘dragon’s eye’. The taste of longan is similar to rambutans and lychees, but with a more tart and distinctive flavour.
Longan fruits have also long been part of traditional Chinese medicine to boost sex drive and for anti-ageing — double whammy.
5. Banana passion fruit
While passion fruit are popular in Australia during the warmer months, banana passion fruits are much less known. Native to the Andes of South America, these yellow, elongated passion fruits contain an orange, sweet pulp and are lovely in juices.
If you’ve ever visited Indonesia, Thailand or anywhere in southeast Asia, you will have seen these cute, cartoonish purple fruits piled up on food carts.
If you’ve never tasted one you really must next time you travel there. Once peeled, the inside pods are reminiscent of a garlic clove but taste like anything but — the pods are sweet, creamy and moreish, just remember not to eat the bitter seed.
They might look somewhat similar to durian but are 1000 times less stinky. As the largest tree borne fruit in the world, a jack fruit can weigh as much as 35 kilograms.
Once ripe, a jackfruit smells like a mixture of pineapple and banana and, after wrestling to open it, is full of fleshy pods or “lobes”. A jackfruit has a mango, pear, peach and pineapple flavour. Sounds like heaven.
8. Snake fruit
Snake fruit (Salak) is a species of palm tree native to Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. Its scaly appearance reminds us of snake skin or even a dragon egg, but beneath its surface is flesh which is delicious combo of sweet, sour and juicy. It’s like a dragon fruit tingle.