Traveling to the Philippines will mean seeing and consuming fruits you may have never seen before in your home country. Here are just a few to look out for.
The ubiquitous national symbol of the Philippines, the mango is known for its sweet, tart flavor and juicy flesh. Guimaras mangoes are said to be the sweetest in the world, although the Davao and Zambales varieties are in close contention. If you’re not into sweets, green mangoes might be more to your tastes. Filipinos are the only people who eat mangoes raw—usually with bagoong (shrimp paste), salt, or sugar.
Philippine bananas can be eaten by themselves or used in cooking, usually for snacks (turon and banana cue) or Filipino desserts recipes (banana cake, pancakes). There are several varieties, from the finger-sizedsenoritas to the large, spotted Cavendish. The saba bananas, more correctly called plantains, are thicker and often used with soups and meat dishes.
Like mangoes, Philippine pineapples are unrivaled when it comes to taste and quality. They’re said to be infinitely sweeter than Hawaiian or Australian pineapples, which are more popular outside the country. While it’s generally sold neatly peeled and sliced, Filipinos consider it a waste of perfectly good flesh. What they do is peel it as thinly as possible and painstakingly take out each ‘eye,’ so that all of the flesh stays intact.
This is one of the most widely grown fruits in the country; many people even have trees in their own backyards. Although not as sweet as mangoes or bananas, they’re one of the old-time favorites simply because they’re there all year. Ripe papayas are best eaten fresh and chilled, while semi-ripe ones are often sold with a salt and vinegar dip. Raw green ones are used in many Filipino food recipes, such as tinola(chicken stew) and atsara (pickled salad).
Langka or jackfruit is far from inviting on the outside, with its large, irregular body (it’s the largest tree-grown fruit in the world) and its thick, spiky shell. Outside Asia, it’s usually sold canned and in syrup, but most locals will tell you it’s best eaten fresh. The flesh is sweet and chewy, and the seeds are soft and slightly sticky. Langka seeds are used in many Filipino recipes, often cooked in coconut milk and mixed with meat, vegetables or other spices.
People like to joke that no part of the coconut tree goes to waste, from the roots to the tips of the leaves. But the fruit is no doubt the most versatile part of all—you can eat it fresh, drink its juice, recycle the husk, and cook with both the milk and the flesh. Coconut cream or gata is practically a staple in Filipino cooking recipes, particularly in Bicolano cuisine where it’s often used with chili.
Watermelons are said to be the ultimate summer fruit. The cool, sweet juice and crunchy flesh make it a popular dessert on hot days. Eat it in fresh wedges or use it to make a nice summer cocktail. Red watermelons are the most popular variety, but yellow watermelon is also remarkably sweet and definitely worth a try.
Avocados go for up to $2 (P100) apiece in the U.S., whereas in the Philippines you can get at least three large pieces with the same value. This sweet, fleshy fruit is currently all the rage in Western countries because of its newfound health benefits—it’s rich in potassium, and vitamins B, E and K. Kids like to eat this sweet, fleshy fruit sweetened with milk or sugar; others use it in shakes, salads and desserts.
Santol is a common fruit in the markets throughout Indonesia and the Philippines. The fruit is about the size of a baseball and it has a thin rind. The pulp is sweet to sub-acid and surrounds several large seeds.
Originally from China, dalandans have adapted to local conditions and have developed a terrific flavor that is both acidic yet sweet. dalandan offering They are related to Valencia oranges; think Sunkist, albeit in a smaller and greener form. Fresh Dalandans have a bright and deep green skins, smell great, possess a natural shine and are firm to the touch. They have an obovate shape (look it up in a dictionary). They were at the market in abundance yesterday. Priced at just P15-20 a kilo, depending on size and vendor, they were a bargain. I purchased 3 kilos that are displayed in the Balinese offering vessel at right. A day or two later they will be perfect for juice or shakes
This fruit, scientifically referred to as Citrofortunella mitis (Citrus reticulata x Fortunella sp), i.e. a hybrid of a Mandarin orange and the Kumquat, acal1is an essential ingredient in Philippine cooking (according to the Oxford Companion to Food). It is a small, flavor and acid packed fruit that has a distinct citrus flavor, sometimes described as a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. It is used in kinilaw (raw fish marinated in vinegar and kalamansi), to marinate meats, to squeeze over broiled food, noodles or fruit, to make juice, or candied into something sweet and sour at the same time.
Suha or Pomelo (Citrus grandis) is the largest citrus fruit of all with fruits weighing up to 3.0 kilos. suha1According to the Oxford Companion to Food authored by Alan Davidson, the Pomelo is an ancestor of the grapefruit and is believed to have originated in the Malay Peninsula or Western Indonesia. From there it migrated westwards and now thrives in several tropical climates around the world. Pomelo is believed to be derived from the Malay word pumpulmas which evolved into the Dutch pompelmoes and truncated by the English into pummelo or pomelo.
. A native to the West Indies and Central America, the first seeds/trees were apparently introduced by W.S. Lyon, a horticulturalist with the Philippine Bureau of Plant Industry, in 1905. Happy 100th anniversary, Caimito! The Caimito fruit has a star like design when it is sliced, hence its common name Star Apple. It has a soft, extremely sweet flesh that is delicious when cold
Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostina) is mg1definitely one of my top 10 fruits on the entire planet. It would be on the menu at my ideal last supper. A native to Malaysia and Indonesia, the picky tree requires exacting growing conditions and is difficult to propagate. In the Philippines, most of the mangosteen harvest comes from Sulu, Zamboanga and Davao del Norte. An estimated 5000 metric tons of fruit is harvested every year
Rambutan season has started!!! The first harvests of this aram1wonderful fruit are starting to hit the local markets. Last Saturday I purchased a very fresh bunch of rambutan grown in Batangas or Laguna at a still pricey PHP80 a kilo at a local market. Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) is believed to be native to Malaysia and Indonesia (hence its name being derived from the Malay word rambut or hair) and thrives in the Philippines in Mindanao
Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) are alang1believed to be indigenous to the forests of the Western Ghats in India. It has since spread to Southeast Asia and also grows in parts of Africa, the Caribbean and even Florida. Jackfruit wood is prized in Cebu for the guitars and ukeleles they make and sell to locals and tourists alike
The 2.2 kilo fruit in the less than flattering photo above arrived and began to smell up the office. Splitting open the near Jurassic-like skin was apparently a skill all its ownâ€¦it seems the skin has natural â€œcracksâ€ or fissures which make opening the fruit much easier. Once open, the pungent aroma quickly filled the room