The 10 Most Exotic Fruits In Manhattan's Chinatown, New York

Ameena Walker

Manhattan’s Chinatown is somewhat of a city landmark — notorious as the go-to spot for all of your high-fashion knock-off desires, authentic Chinese food, and dime-a-dozen souvenir shops. But there’s more to it than that. This small, communal part of Manhattan is home to some of the most exotic fruits from around the world. If trying unconventional delicacies is your thing, here are ten strange fruits that you can find in Chinatown.

Lychees

Lychee

The lychee has grown in popularity and become slightly more mainstream than other fruits profiled here. It is native to China but cultivated in various regions of the world. It has a soft yet bumpy red skin. Peeling it unveils a cloudy white ball of flesh – with a sweet, white grape–like taste and texture – encircling a large black seed. Lychee is commonly used to make drinks, jams, candies, and other tasty treats.

Longans

A close cousin of the lychee, the longan differs in appearance – it has a thin, smooth, brown outer shell and slightly more translucent flesh – but is similar in taste. Longan is sweeter, with a more meaty taste than the lychee, making its flavor more distinct.

A Bowl of Rambutan

Rambutan

Rambutan is another cousin to both lychee and longan. Native to Southeast Asia, Rambutan has an exotic appearance – bright red skin with green spikes shooting out, resembling hair. While it might look a bit scary, the spikes are soft and harmless, and the skin can easily be pulled apart, revealing a ball of white flesh (that has similar taste and texture to the lychee and longan) wrapped around a large almond-shaped seed. The flesh, with the sweetness of a red grape, sticks to the seed more than its cousins’ flesh, requiring more effort to eat, but just as much reward.

Dragon Fruit

Dragon Fruit

Native to Southeast Asia, this fruit stops traffic with its appearance alone — pink leathery skin ornamented with flaring green leaves. Depending on which dragon fruit you get, the inside will either be white or red. Both varieties are speckled with tiny, edible black seeds and have the consistency of a pear but with a slight kiwi undertone. The taste is a far cry from being as enticing as its appearance, since it is rather bland overall – but hey, at least it looks cool in a fruit bowl.

sweetsop

Sugar Apple

The sugar apple, also known as sweetsop on many Caribbean islands, is native to tropical countries in the Caribbean and Americas but is also cultivated in tropical parts of Asia. Its appearance bears some resemblance to an artichoke. By simply pulling the skin apart, the fruit can be opened up. The white and creamy flesh has a very sweet and sugary taste and is riddled with black, watermelon-like seeds. When unripe, the skin is a firm bright green. As the sugar apple ripens, it gains black marks on its outer coat; it’s nature’s way of showing us that this fruit is now at its best and ready to be enjoyed.

Guanábana

Guanabana

This prickly green fruit is native to Caribbean islands, similar to the sugar apple, and commonly known as soursop. The inside of this fruit closely resembles the sugar apple as well, yet the taste is undoubtedly different – a mixture of pineapple, banana and strawberry would be the most accurate description. The seeds are practically identical to that of a sugar apple, yet this flavorful fruit is more tangy.

banana_C

Thai Banana

Thai bananas resemble miniature-sized plantains. The taste is similar to a standard banana but much sweeter and firmer. These bananas get sweeter as the skin gets darker. Thai bananas are the bananas that are used in most Thai restaurants for frying and serving with or as dessert.

Scenes from the Walnut Creek Farmers Marker

Persimmon

Resembling a pumpkin-colored tomato, this popular Asian fruit is a bit easier to find in the fall than other strange fruits. The flesh of the fruit is the of same hue as its skin, with a subtly sweet flavor, sans seeds of any sort.

mangosteen

Mangosteen

Don’t let its humble appearance fool you; after one taste of this amazing fruit, you might be wondering where it has been all your life. Mangosteen has thick, dark purple skin, like a plum. The taste is incomparable; it is juicy and sweet with a hint of tartness and is as refreshing as watermelon. Mangosteen is often pricey when available but well worth the splurge.

Durian – The King of Fruits

Durian

Crowned the ‘King of Fruits,’ durian provides an experience like no other. This peculiar, Southeast Asian fruit is not for the faint of heart. Its huge size and thorny green exterior will be the least of your problems. The strong smell – indescribably terrible – might have you giving this delicacy a second thought. Its odor is so pungent that several countries in Asia have banned consumption of it in public places. If you do make it past the smell, the taste is a custardy blend of flavors that is an acquired taste. You’ll either love it or hate it — either way, the ‘king of fruits’ will leave you with an unforgettable impression. The best place to buy durian is from none other than Jay Fan the Durian Man of Chinatown. Occupying a small stand at the corner of Bowery and Grand Avenue, Jay has a reputation for knowing his durian, having been featured in The New York Times and several YouTube videos.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article