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A to Z fruits of Myanmar – discover the delicious fruits

As a kid growing up in the American south I remember how excited we would get when peach season came around. It coincided with the end of the school year and my sister and I would eagerly wait the day when my grandfather would come over with the first fruits off the tree. We knew that we had two months ahead of us to eat peaches, peach ice cream, peach cobbler and whatever else we could make.

So it comes as no surprise that I get the same excitement here in Myanmar when I see the first mangos or lychees or a dozen other fruits on display in the market for the first time in the season. When I first arrived in Southeast Asia I remember being pleasantly surprised at how flavorful the fruits were. Instead of sitting in shipping trucks across the country for weeks, they were picked from the farm and at the market the very next day allowing them extra days to ripen on the vine.

As well, the sheer variety of fruits in Myanmar is amazing. Of course we have the standard fruits like bananas, pineapples, apples, oranges and grapes but we get an array of other varieties.

Here are some ones to look for when here in Myanmar:

A to Z fruits of Myanmar

Colorful Bananas of Myanmar

  • A to Z fruits of Myanmar #1: Bananas- Ok, so everyone has probably eaten a banana before. But in Myanmar there are over a dozen varieties. Be on the look out for phee gyan variety which is about the size of your hand and thick- these are great for dessert when grilled and served with honey. The tiny nann tha pu bananas are the size of a finger and are great for snacking thanks to their size and sweet flavour.
  • A to Z fruits of Myanmar #2: Papaya- Papaya is a fruit people seem to love or hate. Slightly musky in flavor, the vividly colored fruit is chock-full of vitamins. The fruit is often served raw with a squeeze of lime to balance out the sweetness and is also popular as a juice. Unripened papaya is green in color and crunchy and is mixed with lime juice, fish sauce, oil and a combination of seeds and spices to make a popular Burmese salad.
  • A to Z fruits of Myanmar #3: Mango- The mango season is from around April until June and is one of the most popular fruits in Myanmar. The best variety mango is called sein tha lone – meaning one diamond- and is a perfect balance of sweet with a little sour. Mangos are served fresh and as juice when ripe but also served when still green to be eaten as a sour snack with a sweet-chili dip. As well, toward the end of the season they are pickled so that they can be enjoyed in the off-season with curries or in salads.
  • A to Z fruits of Myanmar #4: Mangosteen- The mangosteen can only grow in a particular set of conditions, so it is hard to find outside of tropical countries. In fact, Queen Victoria once offered to knight any traveler who could return to England with the fresh fruit and thus it is often referred to as ‘the queen of fruits’. The thick, deep purple cover is cut open to reveal a segmented white fruit that is juicy, sweet and just a touch acidic. It is known to be a ‘cooling’ fruit
  • A to Z fruits of Myanmar #5: Rambutans- The local word for rambutan translates in to rooster’s comb, which is a pretty accurate description of the fruit. The fruits are similar in taste and texture to a lychee but covered in a bright red rind with hair-like protrusions curling out.
  • A to Z fruits of Myanmar #6: Pomelo- Pomelo are similar to grapefruit in that they have thick peels and segmented fruits. However the pomelo carries a sweeter flavour and dryer texture. They also can grow much larger in size. In Myanmar pomelo is often served with a dry sauce- either sweet or spicy- and can also be used in salads.
  • A to Z fruits of Myanmar #7: Jackfruit- Jackfruit has been reported to grow up to 80 kg in size but most of the ones here in Myanmar are under 5kg. The fruits are covered by a hard green shell with small bumps. Inside are dozens of bright yellow pods that are stringy in texture but honey-like sweet to taste. The fruit is versatile, often used in soups and salads and the seeds can also be cooked. Given its large size, most market vendors sell the shelled fruit in small bags so that it is not necessary to buy the whole jackfruit!
A to Z fruits of Myanmar

Fruits at the market in Myanmar

  • A to Z fruits of Myanmar #8: Durian- Most visitors to Asia have heard of the durian fruit. The super-smelly, odd-tasting fruit is banned from public transport and hotels in many countries, including Myanmar, due to its offensive smell. Yet it is extremely popular. The smooth, mushy fruit  has been described as ‘rotten, mushy onions’, ‘dirty gym socks’ by some and ‘almond cheesecake’ by others. It is worth it to try at least once and if the smell of the fruit puts you off there is durian ice cream and candies you can try instead.
  • A to Z fruits of Myanmar #9: Avocado- In the winter months, Myanmar’s avocados ripen. Whilst common in the west, many visitors are surprised to see it in Myanmar. The most popular way to consume for the locals is as a shake with ice, palm sugar and condensed milk- it sounds strange but tastes delicious. Tourist restaurants in Bagan and Inle Lake make guacamole and use it in salads, making a nice break from the usual Burmese meal.

There are dozens more fruits we could mention but the best way is to come here and try for yourself! We welcome you to Myanmar to taste the delicious fruits and other foods of the Golden Land.

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