Friday, November 7, 2008

Chantaburi, Thailand

We recently took some time away to visit an area in the south east called Chantaburi. We went with Pae's family who came from their city in the Ubon Ratchatanee in the east. One of our main stops on the quicky trip was a giant fruit farm. This place was pretty huge and offered all you can eat fruit as part of the admission fee. Thailand has many of the "normal" fruits that I am used to from the states, but also has some pretty exotic ones grown in S.E. Asia as well. Below are a few pictures of one of my favorites and one of Pae's favorites. My favorite fruit here is called "Mangkoot" in Thai. Westerners know it as the Mangosteen. The Mangkoot is a juicy fruit that comes packaged in a hard purple cover. As with many purple vegetables and fruits, Mangkoot is considered a strong antioxidant Health benefits aside, the dang fruit is heavenly! It can be eaten at room temperature but just like a Snickers bar, a few hours in the refrigerator only increases my enjoyment! The picture below shows a Mangkoot still ripening on the tree, a pile ready to eat, and the actual edible part of the fruit.

One of Pae's favorite fruits is called "Durian". The durian is probably one of the scariest looking fruits here in Thailand. It's spiky outer covering makes these things look like a Captain Caveman club made to maim! The things can grow huge too, and unfortunately they are sold by the kilogram UNCUT, so you end up paying for the inedible rind. When you bite into a Durian, you are really in for a surprise, even if you have eaten them before. Some, less ripe ones have the taste of ice cream and the texture of maybe a chestnut. The more (over) ripe ones, in my opinion, has the texture of cotton candy or ice cream, but leaves an oniony aftertaste in your mouth. We usually choose the harder ones to avoid this pungent flavor. I've seen Durian in the supermarket about the size of my chest, I'm talking the trunk of my body...I'm no strapping hunk, but that's still huge for a fruit! Think about one of these things falling out of a Durian tree onto your melon! The pictures below show the rind, a cross section of the fruit, a big pile ready to be cut open and the family enjoying some at the farm. I had a piece, but the rest of the family must have eaten a whole Durian each, again, it was free!

There are literally dozens of other awesome, and to the western eye, perhaps a little strange looking fruits here in Thailand.
After the farm, we headed to the beach to eat our bags of Mangkoot and to plan the road back home. We took some pictures of our stop off at the beach. You'll see me in one of them making my best Naomi Uda face and a few of members of Pae and her family. She has two older brothers. If you're ever in the area, give us a ring!

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