If you see clusters of baby potatoes among fruits in Thailand – don’t wonder, it’s langsat. The tree originates from Malay peninsula and is hardly met in areas outside Southeast Asia. That’s why you should taste the fruit here. Langsat is one of symbols of Narathiwat province (Southern Thailand).
Taste of langsat
The taste of langsat is tender, perfectly balanced, sweet with a pinch of sour. The flesh is soft and juicy. Flavour & flesh remind of medium-sweet white grapes and ripe grapefruit.
How to choose, transport & store
It’s easy to confuse langsat with longan. How to distinguish both fruits:
- If there’s a sample of open fruit – it’s perfect. Inner part of langsat consists of cloves (like garlic), while longan has a single berry under the peel.
- Langsat has bigger fruit, they seem to be a little velvet and their shape is slightly oval (like fig’s shape).
- Langsat fruit grow in dense clusters, while longan fruit grow scattered.
- Thai vendors put inscriptions in English for tourists, but they use Thai names. “Longkong” is for langsat and “lamyai” is for longan.
Check fruit as there may be some with rotten areas in clusters.
Langsat can be easily transported due to the peel on each fruit, but avoid squeezing it too much. Langsat has some sticky liquid on its skin, so it’s better to wrap it in a plastic bag. Don’t store ripe langsat more than 1 week in a fridge.
How to eat langsat
Peel the fruit, inside you will find little “garlic” – transparent arils, like in mangosteen. Some “cloves” contain seeds. They are not hard and they won’t harm you if you eat them. But they are slightly bitter. Seeds of langsat are used for preparing antihelmintic medication.
In the Philippines people burn dry langsat skin, so it works as mosquito repellent. Somewhen I’ll definitely try to use it this way.
When & where to buy
The season for langsat lasts from mid summer to mid autumn. It is sold everywhere. The price starts from 20 THB per kg.
Source of picture with open fruit: Wikipedia, author Calliopejen, modified by Amada44 and me.