Malay rose apple (ชมพู่)

(mountain apple, Syzygium malaccense)

In Thai fruit markets you will definitely see beautiful “bells” – these are Malay rose apples or chomphu like they are named in Thailand. Rose apples have nothing to do with apples, neither by taste, nor by look. There are several species that produce dark red, pale red (rose) or light green fruit. All species have the same taste.

Taste of Malay rose apple

It is a refreshing fruit with neutral pale taste, not sour, but slightly sweet. Mountain apples remind me of dissolved pear juice with a pinch of dill, some say that they taste like dissolved juice of sweet bell pepper, apple and watermelon.

White flesh of rose apple is very juicy (can be compared to juiciness of a watermelon) and very crispy (crispier than apple’s flesh, but less dense). Malay rose apples are the fruit that can be eaten like popcorn – one after another. They help to quench thirst.

Unripe mountain apples
Unripe rose apples

How to eat, choose and transport

Malay rose apple is eaten whole – it has no seeds and its skin is thinner than skin of any apple. Rose apples are sold ripe, just check if they are damaged or scratched. One should transport them carefully, as it’s easy to damage their tender skin. These fruit can’t be stored in a fridge for more than 10 days.

Different specie of rose apple
Note the shape of this apple, I haven’t seen this type of rose apples at fruit stalls. Trees that bear red fruit have pink flowers

When and where to buy

The season for mountain apples in Thailand is from October to March. They are sold everywhere. The price starts from 35 THB per kg. Usually light green apples are cheaper than red ones. I’m sure you will find them in low season for higher price.

Malay apple flower
Flower & buds of light green mountain apple
Many Malay rose apples
Just take a look at this tree – how many apples it has under each leaf!
A lot of rose apples
The same tree, view from under
Malay rose apple tree
Malay rose apple tree with red apples
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