Metro Manila · 15 Exotic Fruits Grown In The Philippines
The world has a variety of bizarre and exotic fruits and many of these strange fruits grow in the Philippine Islands.
Walking in the produce aisle of a big grocery store in the Megacity gives one an impression that there is a wide array of fruits to choose from, but the reality is, the stuff on the produce aisle is only a sampling of what Mother Nature offers. Below are 15 exotic fruits grown in the Philippines.
This list is not ranked.
The Rambutan’s most apparent characteristic is its soft spikes. If you haven’t seen this fruit yet, the best way to spot it in the produce aisle is to look for something that looks like a furry strawberry. Indigenous to the Malay Archipelago, this reddish fruit is one exotic fruit loved by many Filipinos. Once the skin is removed, you will find a smooth fleshy fruit that looks like a lychee.
2. Star Apple
Locally known as the Cainito or the Caimito, this fruit has a thick, round, purple shell. When cut open in the middle, one would see a star pattern, inspiring those who discovered it to give it such a name. The rather sweet pulp is mainly white but comes with a tinge of purple.
Star Apples come from the West Indies though and are also found in the lowlands of Central America. However, this fruit is widely grown in many places here in the Philippines.
3. Star Fruit
Also known as Carambola, this fruit is indigenous to the Philippine Islands but is also grown in other parts of Asia as well as South America. It has ridges that run down its length and when cut sideways, the Carambola shows off a star pattern. Yellow when ripe, this native Philippine fruit is rich in antioxidants.
Known for its thorn-covered husk and overpowering smell, Durian is a popular fruit in the Philippines specifically in the southern part of the country where it is grown. Alfred Russel Wallace, a naturalist known for his work in natural selection, described the taste of this particular fruit as “a rich custard”.
Because of its pungent smell, Filipinos often say that when it comes to the Durian, you either love it or hate it. If you would like to get a taste of this fruit without having to smell its natural fragrance, you can buy Durian candies from stores that sell local Filipino products.
5. Green Mango
There is nothing strange about green mangoes but the way this tropical fruit is eaten in the Philippines can be classified as weird. One must note though that weird is not a bad thing at all.
Because green mangoes are so sour, Filipinos love eating it with shrimp paste referred to in the vernacular as alamang. In some provinces, it is eaten with fish paste (bagoong) and a splash of vinegar.
Sweetsop, also known as Sugar Apple is widely grown in the country. Referred to in most Philippine languages as Atis, this exotic fruit has the shape of a pine cone. Under its lumpy shell is a fragrant white flesh that tastes a bit like custard with a hint of sweetness and sourness.
Breadfruits are found in many parts of the Philippines and Southeast Asia. When not yet ripe, breadfruits are starchy and hard. If you cook unripe breadfruit however, you will get something that tastes like fresh bread.
Lanzones is a small light brown fruit with thin skin. Inside, you will find five juicy segments that have a distinctive kind of sweetness. Be careful though because some of these segments have very bitter seeds inside. According to local folklore, this fruit tree was borne out of the love between a farmer and his wife.
Known internationally as Java Plum, the Duhat is a fruit tree that bears a berry-like fruit with a deep purple color. It is a little sticky and the color often sticks to anything that it touches especially when the juices have come out. This exotic fruit is found in many areas in the Philippines but is specifically grown in the Ilocos Region and added to sugar cane wine.
Jackfruit, known as Langka in the Philippines, is a fragrant fruit that often reaches up to 35 kilograms in weight. This fruit is described as aromatic, starchy, fibrous, and very sweet. Langka shavings preserved in sugary syrup are often used in the Filipino ice dessert Halo-halo.
Chico (Sapodilla) is a brown fruit with a skin that is can be described as a softer version of sandpaper. While it has a relatively rough exterior, it contains a soft and very sweet flesh and comes with an aroma likened to beer. Widely grown in the Philippines, this sweet little fruit was introduced in the country during the Spanish colonial times.
Chesa or Tiesa (Lucuma) is indigenous to the Andes Mountains but is grown in many parts of the Philippine Islands. This fruit, when not yet ripe, is rock hard. Vendors of the fruit would often tell their customers to wait for it to turn soft before slicing it open. When finally ripe, you will find that the flesh has the texture of boiled yolk. It is so soft that it melts in your mouth. Its taste is often described as caramel custard or like that of a pumpkin.
Dubbed as a cancer killer, Guyabano or Soursop is a fruit with a hard, green skin. It looks like a greener and smaller version of the Jackfruit but doesn’t taste like it. When opened, one would see a white fibrous pulp. While it can be a bit sour, it has its own brand of sweetness.
14. Wild Berries
Referred to in the northern part of the country as Bugnay, these berries are harvested to make Bugnay wine. They are sweet little fruits that line the pathways of Adams and many parts of Sagada.
This bell-shaped tropical fruit, also referred to as Mountain Apple, grows in the hilly and mountainous regions of the Philippines. While this fruit is not as sweet as an apple, it has a lot of moisture inside and can quench one’s thirst.