9 more exotic fruits found in Hawaii you absolutely must try

Longan

Don’t let its dull paper-bag-brown color of these small Asian fruits fool you.

Longan are similar to lychee but a little different, still super sweet, delicious, and easy to eat (just bite open shell and squeeze into mouth). They are easy to find and grow year round.

Mangosteen

The unusual fruits are hard to find in Hawaii, though you may get lucky and find them at a farmers market (I’ve seen them in Hilo).

Mangosteens are round with a deep purpleish hue, and the white fleshy fruits inside resemble the segments of a mandarin orange.

They taste wonderful, like a combination of lychee, peach, strawberry, and pineapple.

Jackfruit

What’s spiky, light greenish-yellow and tastes like Juicy Fruit gum? That would be jackfruit, the world’s largest fruit tree, the fruits of which you can find at some markets and farmers markets across Hawaii.

The fruit is chewy (much like the gum) and sweet, and sort of banana / pineapple-like. Because of its fibrous texture, jackfruit can is also used as a meat substitute, and it’s actually pretty good.

Soursop

If you’ve had soursop, then you know about getting the rich, sugary juices all over your face and hands when you eat it.

Getting messy is a small price to pay, though: the soursop is probably one of the sweetest, most delicious fruits around, and also one of the strangest looking (size of a really large mango, but green and spiky).

They are easy to find at farmers markets, and are also known as custard fruit.

Rambutan

Rambutan are the “furry” cousins of lychee — similar in size, texture, and fruit — but with soft spikes that poke out of the skin. They are not quite as sweet or juicy as lychee, but serve as a good substitute if lychee aren’t available. Rambutans are commonly found in Hawaii.

Egg fruit

Finding an eggfruit in Hawaii is just about as rare as finding a mangosteen. But when you do find one, you’re in for an unusual treat.

The yellow palm-sized fruits resemble the exact texture, color, and heartiness of the yolk of a hard-boiled egg, except it’s sweet.

Eggfruits are also called canistel or yellow sapote.

Mountain apples

I have fond childhood memories of picking mountain apples, or Ohi’a ’ai, from trees in Hilo.

They are red and shiny and shaped like apples, and taste slightly tart and crunchy like certain apples (and pears), but I guess aren’t actual apples.

Other parts of the world call them Malay apples, and they were introduced to Hawaii by early Polynesian settlers.

Jamaican lilikoi

If you love “regular” lilikoi like me then you’ll be pleased to know about Jamaican lilikoi. These smaller, softer fruits are much easier to eat — just bite off the end and suck out the pulp and fruit.

Unlike regular lilikoi, the Jamaican version is much sweeter and less tart…I can safely say they are far more addictive.

Starfruit

When you first see a whole starfruit, it’s not immediately obvious why it’s called starfruit. After you slice it the name becomes obvious: perfect yellow 5-point stars!

The fruits itself is a little waxy on the outside and juicy on the inside, not the sweetest but still pretty tasty. The best starfruits are the ones more orange than yellow, but not too orange.

Image credits: Art Rachen, Isaac N.C., Lucas George Wendt, Rakeem Burrell, Joyce Romero, Ethan Weil, yimhafiz, globaleyes, marley1

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