Tropical Fruits in Cambodia
Cambodia is a country located in tropical area of Asia, where the soil and climate are suitable for planting almost kinds of tropical fruits. Most of all fruits and vegetables are planted and harvested naturally, which are very good for health. Fruit is also a favorite of Cambodia people consuming daily as nutrition food beside main meals of rice. Through out the whole year, Cambodia always has plenty kinds of fruits in all season. The price are reasonable so that everyone can afford for fruits. Below are photos of tropical fruits growing in Cambodia, and some are really Khmer fruits which I couldn’t find the English name for them.
Jujube has its scientific name as Ziziphus Jujuba Mill. China is the homeland of jujube since more than 4000 years ago with more than 400 cultivars in its family. Now jujube has been growing in all over the world where having tropical climate.
In Cambodia, a cultivar of bigger fruits is growing as farm. But for other cultivar of smaller fruits (as in the photo above) are planted as fruit tree in home garden. Depend on cultivar, fruit can be round or elongate, the biggest size could be equal to an egg. The whitish flesh of sweet and sour flavor is covered by thin, edible skin. Inside has a hard seed. The young fresh fruit is green and turn to yellow-green as it ripens. Until the fruit is fully ripe, it has black-red color and the flesh become soft, the skin become wrinkle. Fresh mature jujube is very popular in Cambodia than other form of snacks made of jujube, because the flesh is crisp, sweet and some sour in taste.
Papaya (La hong)
Carica papaya is the scientific name of papaya and it homeland was Mexico. Papaya is a very good fruit for health as it contains many nutrition, especially, it is rich in vitamin A which is very beneficial for eyes and skin. Immature fruit has green color skin and slowly turn to yellow or orange when it ripens. Ripe papaya is eaten as fresh fruit or made into fruit juice. Green papaya is used as vegetable in cooking, for instance, papaya salad, papaya soup with pork, Papaya sour soup, Samlor Kokor (Khmer vegetable fish soup), etc. It’s also pickled for serving with grilled meat, pork rice, num pang sach (bread serve with meat) which are typical breakfast of Cambodians. Another kind of food made of green papaya is Mam La hong, it’s papaya fermented.
Sugar Apple (Plae Teab)
Rose Apple (Chumpu)
Pursat Orange (Pursat)
Grapefruit (Kroch Thlong)
Dragon Fruit (Plae Sroka Neark)
Guava (Tro Baek)
Jew Plum (Makak)
Jew Plum or Ambarella fruit or Makak in Khmer has scientific name as Spondias dulcis. The fruit is at egg size or a bit bigger, grow out in clusters of more than a dozen. The thick skin of the fruit is green when young and turn to be yellow or orange when ripe. Both young and ripe fruits are edible with different flavor. In Cambodia, the young or green Makak is always popular as snack serving with salt-added-chilly. The flesh is crisp and has yummy sour taste (as in the photo about, Makak is already taken out its skin). When it ripe, the flesh become soft and has yellow color like ripe mango, however, it has sweeter taste. Makas has one hard seed with soft thorny and growing harder after mature, but when the fruit is young, the seed is also eaten.
Pomegranate (Plae Toteum)
There are several species of Pomegranate, it’s obviously seen by the color of its inner is red or white and also the size of the fruit. Usually the pink color is more delicious. Inside the cover, there are numerous seeds that covers by juicy flesh. There is no pomegranate farm in Cambodia, so it’s always imported from China, Thailand, Korea. Cambodian plant Pomegranate as ornamental plant in home garden only.
Star Apple (Plae Teuk Dos)
There are many varieties of star apple, the purple and green are common. The fruit has got star pattern when cut into half, that’s why it’s called star apple. It also has milk-like water, so Cambodian called it milk fruit (Plae = fruit; Teuk Dos = milk). The flesh is aromatic, soft and sweet, but it has the sticky white latex on the skin layer which could stick onto your mouth. My way to eat star apple is after cut it into half, I use spoon to get it flesh.