The Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) is native to the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and other regions of tropical Southeast Asia. The fruit is ovoid, single-seeded berry with pinkish red skin. The thin, leathery, spiky rind grows to about 3–6 cm long and 3–4 cm broad, hanging in a cluster of 10–20 together. Within is the fruit flesh; whitish or very pale pink, translucent, juicy with a sweet or sour taste (much like a grape). Rambutan is closely related to lychee, longan, and mamoncillo.
Here’s one spiky fruit that many people love. Soursop (Annona muricata), also called Graviola, is a large, spiny, green tropical fruit with a soft, sweet, white flesh. The sweet flavor is described as a mix of strawberry and pineapple. The fruit size ranges from 10-30 cm (4 to 12 in) long and up to 15 cm (6 in) in width, and weighs up to 4.5-6.8 kg (10 or 15 lbs). The pulp is used to make teas, juices, sorbets, candy and ice cream flavorings.
Gac (Momordica cochinchinesis) is a fruit native to Southeast Asia but is consumed mostly in Vietnam and Laos. For centuries, the fruit is traditionally used both as food and medicine. It is known as red melon, baby jackfruit, spiny bitter in English. Its ovoid fruit turns to brilliant red-orange hue when it ripens. The skin is covered in small, short spines, while its red core consists of clusters of fleshy pulp and seeds. The flesh has a unique taste - reminiscent of cantaloupe with hints of green melon and carrot.
Breadfruits (Artocarpus altilis) are round to ovoid tropical fruits measuring 15-20 cm long and about 20 cm across. It has a harsh, sandpaper-like green rind that turns to yellowish-green with some red brown parts when ripe. The interior part of the fruit is white, starchy and somewhat fibrous. When fully ripened, it becomes too soft, less starchy and sweetly fragrant that can be eaten raw or cooked. Breadfruit is related to breadnut and jackfruit.
The Horned Melon (Cucumis metuliferus) is known by various names including kiwano, hedged gourd, jelly melon, blowfish fruit, and English tomato. When ripe, this unusual-looking fruit has a yellow-orange skin with prominent spikes or horns and green jellylike flesh. The horned melon has a sweet and tart, banana-lime taste. The brighter the orange skin, the sweeter the flesh of the fruit. It can be eaten at any stage of ripening.
Durian is regarded by many people in southeast Asia as the "king of fruits". The exotic fruit is distinctive for its large size, strong penetrating odor, which earned it the title, “the fruit that tastes like heaven but smells like hell.” The fruit's shape ranges from round to oblong; can grow up to 30 cm long and 15 cm wide and weigh up to three kg.
It has green to brown husk (rind) covered with sharp, prickly thorns. Depending on the species, it has a pale yellow to red flesh. The edible flesh tastes like "a rich custard highly flavored with almonds". Indeed, durian is king in taste, smell and spikes.
The Pulasan (Nephelium mutabile) is a small spiky fruit native to Malaysia. The name pulasan comes from the Malay word pulas (twist). It has various common names, including kapulasan in Indonesia, ngoh-khonsan in Thailand, and bulala or panungayan in the Philippines. The fruit is ovoid, 5-7.5 cm long, dark red, with thick, leathery and spiky rind. Inside is the white or yellowish-white, juicy flesh (aril).
The skin ranges in color from red to black and is harder to tear apart. It has a sweeter taste than the rambutan and lychee and somewhat similar to that of almonds. It is usually confused with its hairy cousin, the rambutan. Compared to the rambutan, the pulasan lacks the hairy spines. It is also bigger, sweeter and the flesh does not stick to its seed.
The Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus)is known as the largest tree-borne fruit in the world. It is native to parts of South and Southeast Asia, and is believed to have originated in the southwestern rain forests of India. The fruit is oblong to cylindrical and typically 30 to 40 cm in length and weigh 4.5 to 30 kg. The thick skin is green or yellow when ripe and the rind secretes white sticky latex.
The interior consists of non-edible “rags” and large sweet-smelling yellow flesh that encloses a smooth, oval, light-brown seed. The succulent, aromatic, and flavorful flesh are eaten fresh or cooked. It can also be made into jams or preserves and chips as well.
The Marang (Artocarpus odoratissimus), also called madang, and tarap, is a medium-sized fruit closely related to jackfruit, cempedak and breadfruit. Its round to oblong fruit can grow to as much as 15–20 cm long and 13 cm broad, and can weigh about 1 kg. The thick skin is covered with soft, broad spines that becomes hard and brittle as the fruit matures.
The ripe fruit can be opened by using the hands - twisting and gently pulling the skin. The fruit core resembles that of the jackfruit but with fewer “rags”. The edible areas are white, juicy, fragrant and with small seeds. Compared to durian, Marian has a more appealing scent and a sweeter flavor. The fruit should be eaten quickly as it fast loses its flavor and the fruit oxidizes.
The Cempedak (Artocarpus integer) is often confused with the jackfruit. The sausage-shaped fruit is similar to the jackfruit in appearance but smaller. The interior can also be mistaken as marang but with bigger arils. The fleshy, edible aril has a green color and turns slightly yellowish as it's ripe.
The fragrant taste is similar to the breadfruit and jackfruit with a hint of durian. The flesh is rather perishable, so it should be consumed quickly. Unlike the jackfruit which usually needs a knife to break open, a ripe cempedak fruit is soft and can be opened using the hands. It can be fried or made into delicious cakes.