Different Fruits Around The World
All Articles

Different Fruits Around The World

While growing up, the closest I ever got to these unusual fruit was the pineapple guava or Passion fruit Dole jug from one of my local grocery stores.

You probably have your own story about how food has impacted your life. Maybe it’s the experience of sharing a family meal or a time when you tried something new (and delicious like exotic fruit).

Surely, you’ll have some unforgettable food experiences on one of Rustic Pathways’ high school summer travel programs, but before you go, learn about some of the unique fruits and vegetables around the world you might see.

Fruit Name Country
Dragon Fruit Latin America, Southeast Asia
Pejibaye Latin America
Latundan Bananas Southeast Asia
Potatoes Everywhere
Starfruit Asia, Latin America
Jocote Latin America
Mangosteen Southeast Asia, Latin America
Coconut Everywhere
Bird’s Eye Chili Southeast Asia, Africa
Durian Asia, Australia
Jackfruit Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia
Rambutan Asia, Latin America
Plantains Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia
Pea Tips Asia
Long Beans Asia, Africa
Lychee Fruit China, Malaysia, Vietnam
Snake Fruit Indonesia
Miracle Fruit West Africa

Dragon Fruit in the field

Dragon Fruit

Latin America and Southeast Asia
Dragon fruits, also known as pitaya, are cultivated in Southeast Asia and are famous for their vibrant, leathery skin and mildly sweet flesh speckled with tiny black seeds. Often featured in exotic fruit displays and fruit salads, dragon fruits are enjoyed fresh for their striking appearance and refreshing taste.

Summer travel programs to experience dragon fruit:
China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand: Ultimate Asia
Thailand: Amazing Thailand

Pejibaye palm fruits

Pejibaye

Latin America
Native to the tropical regions of South and Central America, the pejibaye has incredible regional diversity leading to a number of fruit colors and sizes. The fruit is edible, but must be cooked before consuming. The texture is similar to a sweet potato, and the flavor is nutty like a chestnut. (Fun fact: The pejibaye comes from the same palm tree as hearts of palm)

Summer travel programs to experience pejibaye:
Costa Rica: Heart of the Jungle
Peru: Andes to Amazon

Latundan Bananas bunches

Latundan Bananas

Southeast Asia
The latundan banana—cultivated across Southeast Asia—actually derives its name from Claude Letondal, a French clergyman who introduced it to the region from India. The tropical fruits have become popular across Southeast Asia in local desserts because of its silky texture and sweet, full-bodied flavor. It makes an incredible banana fritter!

Summer travel programs to experience the latundan banana:
Cambodia: Floating Village Service Expedition
Vietnam: Hanoi to Ha Long
Various potato varieties

Potatoes

Everywhere
Though the potato origins lie in the Andes of South America—the Andes are home to more than 4,000 varieties of native potatoes—it is commonly consumed across the world as a staple food. These starchy tubers can be sweet or savory, big and small.

Summer travel programs to experience potatoes:
India: Himalayan Explorer
Peru: Sacred Valley Service

Starfruit slices on a plate

Starfruit

Asia and Latin America
Star fruit, or carambola, is a tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia and now cultivated in Latin America. Its distinctive star shape when sliced and its sweet-tart flavor make it a popular choice for fresh fruit salads. Starfruit is enjoyed both fresh and as part of various culinary creations. It is an excellent source of vitamin C.

Summer travel programs to experience starfruit:
Costa Rica: Heart of the Jungle
Laos: Come With Nothing, The Mekong Expedition

Jocote fruit on the tree

Jocote

Latin America
The jocote is a small tropical fruit native to the Americas and particularly popular in Costa Rica and the Caribbean. Its name comes from the Nahuatl word xocotl, meaning sour fruit. The fruit is said to taste similar to a plum when ripe.

Summer travel programs to experience jocote:
Costa Rica: Turtle Conservation Project
Peru: Andes to Amazon

Mangosteen fruit display

Mangosteen

Southeast Asia and Latin America
Though the exact origins of the mangosteen are unknown, it’s thought to have come from the islands of Southeast Asia due to its widespread cultivation in the tropical region. The white flesh of the purple mangosteen is sweet and tart, juicy and fibrous. The rind and seeds are inedible. If it weren’t for the short shelf-life and fragility, mangosteen would surely take the global fruit market by storm. A must try.

Summer travel programs to experience mangosteen:
Thailand: Amazing Thailand
Vietnam: Ultimate Asia
Coconuts for sale at a market

Coconut

Everywhere
Originating in the Pacific Islands, fresh coconuts are cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates around the world. Known for its versatility, the coconut can be used in a variety of self care products or consumed in a variety of preparations.

Summer travel programs to experience the coconut:
Fiji: Sun, Sand, and International Service
Dominican Republic: Marine Life and Coastal Restoration

Bird’s Eye Chili plants

Bird’s Eye Chili

Southeast Asia and Africa
Commonly found in Southeast Asian cuisine, the bird’s eye chili is often also called the Thai chili. It is quite small and varies in color, but packs serious heat. It is in the same Scoville range of the habanero.

Summer travel programs to experience the bird’s eye chili:
Laos: Southeast Asian Adventurer
Thailand: Marine and Rainforest Conservation in Thailand

Durian fruit on the tree

Durian

Asia and Australia
Don’t bring durian on public transportation or into your house. The durian, native to Southeast Asia and cultivated in Australia since the 1960s, is distinctive for its pungent odor and spiky rind. Though some have described the odor as rotting food, the flesh is rich, custardy, and has the essence of almonds. This is one of the tropical fruits not for the faint of heart.

Summer travel programs to experience durian:
Australia: Seven Wonders of Australia
Thailand: Come With Nothing, The Mekong Expedition

Jackfruit hanging on tree

Jackfruit

Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia
The jackfruit—a species in the fig and breadfruit family—is cultivated and consumed in the tropical regions of the world.

An unripe jackfruit is mild in taste and meaty in texture, making it a popular meat substitute for vegetarians and vegans. A ripe jackfruit is sweet and custardy, lending itself to a variety of dishes but most often consumed as dessert.

Summer travel programs to experience jackfruit:
Tanzania: Serengeti to Zanzibar
Costa Rica: Soccer and Service in Costa Rica

Rambutan fruit clusters

Rambutan

Asia and Latin America
Despite being native to Malaysia, the rambutan can be found across the world in tropical and subtropical climates. Closely related to the lychee and longan, rambutan have a distinctive red and green furry appearance. The spiky fruits are sweet and sour, and commonly taste like a mix between a lychee and a pear.

Summer travel programs to experience rambutan:
Cambodia: Floating Village Service Expedition
Costa Rica: Surf and Service in Costa Rica

Long Beans

Long Beans

Asia and Africa
Possibly originating in Southeast Asia or Africa, the long bean is not a vegetable at all. It’s actually legume and most closely related to black-eyed peas. The crisp, tender pods can be eaten fresh or cooked, often cut into much smaller pieces.

Summer travel programs to experience long beans:
China: Wonders of China
Thailand: Marine and Rainforest Conservation in Thailand

Plantains

Plantains

Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia
Plantains can be found across the world, though there are more varietals in Southeast Asia and Africa than anywhere else. Unlike your typical banana, plantains are starchier in texture and used for cooking both sweet and savory dishes. They often can be found as a side dish in Central and South America, particularly in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.

Summer travel programs to experience plantains:
Costa Rica: Heart of the Jungle
Dominican Republic: Mountain Air and Village Service
Pea Tips

Pea Tips

Asia
Pea shoots—the stems and leaves of the snow pea—have been commonly cultivated and consumed across Asia for a number of years. The shoots have a delicate green flavor with a hit of their more recognizable snow pea pods.

Summer travel programs to experience pea tips:
Southeast Asian Adventurer
Thailand: Amazing Thailand

exotic fruit snake fruit

Snake Fruit

Indonesia

Snake fruit, or salak, gets its name from its reddish-brown scaly skin. This exotic fruit is native to Southeast Asia and is known for its sweet and tangy flavor. Snake fruit is often eaten raw and is a popular ingredient in exotic fruit dishes and fruit salads.

Educational travel programs to experience snake fruit:
Bali Service Learning

fruit around the world lychee

Lychee Fruit

China, Malaysia, Vietnam

Southeast Asia Lychee fruit, with its rough, spiky skin, is a tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia. The translucent, sweet flesh inside is often enjoyed fresh or used in exotic fruit desserts. The tiny black seeds are not eaten, but the fruit itself is a delightful addition to any fruit salad.

Travel programs to experience lychee fruit:
Hanoi to Ha Long
Wonders of China

Miracle fruit

Miracle fruit

Miracle Fruit

West Africa

Miracle fruit, native to West Africa, is known for its unique ability to make sour foods taste sweet. This unusual fruit contains a glycoprotein called miraculin that temporarily alters taste perception. Miracle fruit is often used in tasting parties where participants eat sour foods like lemons and limes afterward.

Travel programs to experience miracle fruit:
Tokyo Fusion

About the Author

Naomi Tao

Creative Lead and Graphic Designer

Born in London and raised in St. Louis, Naomi learned the importance of global citizenship and community building at an early age. Her passion for these things and her love of travel led her to Rustic —first as a student and again in 2013 after graduating from the University of Southern California with degrees in fine art and marketing. When Naomi is not managing the Rustic Pathways brand or packing her bags for yet another adventure, you can find her learning about sustainable agriculture, cultivating fruits and vegetables in her garden, or catering intimate dinner parties for family and new friends.