It’s hard to explain what eating Taiwan fruit is like. I’ve never had access to such a wide variety of beautiful, juicy, tropical fruits before. They taste as good as they look, and the quality is on a whole other level. Now that it’s getting warm again, I’ve been craving fruit every day so I’ve started to venture out and see more of what the island has to offer.
Taiwan fruit, and much of it’s produce in general, is also more local and seasonal than I’ve ever experienced. It was hard to get used to at first because you can get most fruits year round in the states, but now I’m on board. Knowing what’s in season and that it’s going to be so delicious is a pretty cool feeling. It’s like getting excited for spring when you’ve only had winter snow for six months. A little deprivation really makes you appreciate different foods.
There are some incredible year-round fruits available, but the spring and summer varieties are starting to pop up which makes it even more exciting. We moved to Taiwan in July last year, and we had so much to do to get set up the first few months we missed a large portion of key summer fruit time. Once we were finally settled, most of the fruits we wanted to try were disappearing from shelves. However, now that it’s May, it’s back on.
Taiwan Fruit You May Already Be Familiar With
Although I don’t highlight these in this post, Taiwan does have some of the below coveted fruits available either year-round or seasonally.
- Durian: These are available at the markets here, but they are actually from Thailand. I had my first Durian in Malaysia this spring, which surprisingly, I loved. The inside meat tasted very similar to caramel with a hint of coffee. My friends helped me pick out the best Durian and Malaysia is known for having the top tasting Durian. So I’m interested in trying the Thai style soon.
- Mangoes: I thought I’d had mangoes before, until I had Taiwanese mangoes. Known as ‘Aiwen’ or Irwin, Taiwan does 153,000 tons of annual mango production. There’s a reason for that – they have the most incredibly sweet, juicy flavor. I literally cried a little when they went out of season last year. They are just coming back now, so are a bit pricey. But that will come down as the season gets into swing. Taiwan also grows a large mango, called Golden Mango, that I’m looking forward to trying.
- Papayas: I never liked papayas much until I had them in Taiwan. My husband taught me to squeeze lime on them and now we’ve been eating them as dessert every night. There really is no need for ice cream when you have fruits like these!
- Pomelos: Similar to grapefruits, these are lighter in color and smaller than in the United States. I am a huge grapefruit fan, but can’t say I love pomelos here so far. They aren’t very tart or sweet, more mellow. I’m hoping they get better as the season goes on.
In addition to these, many fruits I often ate in the U.S. such as plums, peaches, pears and grapes are also showing up for the spring and summer season. There are so many fruits to explore, but below are the ones I’ve tried so far in Taiwan that are new to me, and why I’m digging them!
Taiwanese muskmelons are similar to honeydew in the states, but much sweeter and smaller than any melon I’ve had before. More the size of a softball. You get a lot less flesh because of their size, which my husband didn’t like. But, I enjoyed the personal size fruit as a more realistic snack you can easily cut up!
Green mangoes are really small mangoes, similar to the size of a pear. They are extremely juicy, messy and sweet. I love their flavor but similar to how my husband felt about the smaller muskmelon, I wish they were a bit bigger. With the big stone in the middle, you don’t get much meat! I still think they are worth it because they are ripe before the larger mangoes are ready in the season, which makes them a perfect spring fruit option.
Custard apples are the BOMB. They were a surprise find for us at a night market last year and I couldn’t wait for them to come back around for spring and summer. The most bizarre looking fruit, we couldn’t help but stop to try one. The vendor grabbed a spoon, cut open the top, and showed us how to scoop the custard right out of the center. You want to make sure they are really ripe before you break them open, because that is when you get the juiciest flesh and custard. Be aware, they do have tiny little seeds that some people might not have the patience to spit out with every bite. Doesn’t bother me a bit because these are the coolest and tastiest fruits!
Ox Heart Tomato
I was not sure if these were tomatoes or a more traditional style fruit when I first saw them. So unique looking! I appreciate that tomatoes are included in a fruit stand since they are in fact a fruit. I also appreciate that they aren’t kept cold, so the flavor is maintained. From the research I’ve done, I believe these are an heirloom tomato called Ox Heart. They are nice and light, juicy and tasty. I’ve started favoring these over the regular cherry or red tomatoes in the stores.
Wax Apple/ Bell Apple/ Cloud Apple
I’ve just become a big fan of wax apples. They are harvested all year round and although the texture is nothing like an apple, they taste like a cross between a pear and an apple. With a more crunchy bite, they are super sweet if you get them when they are ripe. They aren’t very expensive and readily available at the markets.
Yellow or Canary Melon
Isn’t this fruit so beautiful? It definitely stands out at the market. It tastes like a cantaloupe, but with the texture of a pear. Just a bit more watery than a pear. This melon is very refreshing and I’ll be eating it in breakfast bowls, smoothies and on it’s own as long as it’s available!
Starfruits, jujube’s, loquats…there are many more fruits to capture and tell you about. Look for more posts on the amazing Taiwan fruits this summer. What’s your favorite fruit? Have you tried any exotic fruits not local to you? I’d love to learn about them!