When I first came to Taiwan in 2011, I hated pineapple. Then I had Taiwan pineapple and it changed my world; it tasted like a pineapple starburst. I realized then that Taiwan fruit is sweet and amazing.
Below is a list of our favorite Taiwan fruits. Many if not all of these fruits are not native to Taiwan, but Taiwan is the first place we ever tasted them. And even though it means nothing, what the heck, we will number them from the top 15 to 1.
15. Starfruit 楊桃
Starfruit is cool because when you cut it into slices it has the shape of a star. That’s about the only good thing about it. I mean, it tastes like grass. People in Taiwan make smoothies with it, I assume those would be okay but I have never had one. Sorry starfruit fans.
14. Persimmon 柿子
This fruit looks like a tomato on the outside but inside is like an apple, though not quite as sweet. It’s not the most delicious fruit in Taiwan but it is unique.
13. Custard Apple/Sugar Apple 釋迦/番荔枝
This is truly a Taiwan delicacy with entire towns in eastern Taiwan specializing in growing this fruit. It has a sweet taste and soft texture, and tons of seeds. I like the flavor of this fruit, but picking out all the peanut sized seeds can be annoying.
12. Papaya 木瓜
A giant pumpkin-like fruit, it has a soft semi sweet flesh and a very unique flavor. Usually these are not sweet enough for me, so I prefer papaya milk or smoothies where the flavor is brought out in the best way.
11. Leechee 荔枝
Leechee is a special Taiwan fruit. It is also similar to Longan 龍眼. It has a hard shell with citrus fruit in the middle. I have to admit it’s not my favorite because of the shell and the giant seed in the middle， but the sweet fruit inside is delicious, like a cross between an orange and a lemon.
10. Wax Apple 蓮霧
These look like wax apples I guess? Inside they have a very soft flesh, and are easier to chew on for those of us with sensitive teeth. They are sweet, but not the sweetest fruit ever.
9. Jujube 棗子
These are like apples but with a giant seed in the middle and with a slightly different shape. These are usually grown in Taiwan, so you rest assured that they are fresh, unlike the Washington State apples that took a 3 month boat ride to get here.
8. Durian 榴槤
This spiky fruit can be stinky, disgusting, and frightful for most foreigners. However, my friends once gave it to me frozen and it tasted just like ice cream, so next time try it in frozen form. But beware as this fruit is super expensive.
7. Passion fruit 百香果
Literally translated from Chinese, this fruit is called “100 flavors fruit.” Passion fruit can be extremely sour if you get one that is not ripe. A friend of mine told me you have to find ones that look old and wrinkly on the outside, these are more likely to be sweet. The taste of ripe passion fruit is an amazing sweet and sour mix similar to Mango, and we love it.
6. Pomelo 柚子
This fruit is traditionally eaten during the mid-autumn festival. It is basically like a giant orange, with a really think peel. The peel is so big actually, that you can wear it as a hat during the festival and become one with the culture (Below is a picture of me with full pomelo garb and the full moon at my back).
5. Dragon Fruit 火龍果
This fruit is literally called “Fire Dragon Fruit” in Chinese. It comes in white and dark purple. It tastes okay: not very sweet. But it just looks cool inside and out, especially the purple ones.
4. Guava 芭樂
Guava is wonderful. It comes in white and red flesh varieties, although the outside is always green. Inside is a very sweet dense flesh with tiny rock hard seeds. I think it is best to eat these dipped in sweet plum powder.
Taiwan pineapple is as sweet as candy. I love to go buy a huge bag of chopped pineapple on the street and eat it as a snack. American pineapple on the other hand is almost always bland and sour, so I especially miss it whenever I am gone. Also, if you are interested in endless rolling hills filled with Pineapple fields, you should check out Dashu 大樹 in Kaohsiung.
2. Banana 香蕉
Some would say Ecuador is the banana capital of the world, and that is probably right, but I’m sure Taiwan bananas are just as good. The most famous bananas are from 旗山 Qishan in Kaohsiung, and are some of the biggest bananas I have ever seen. One of the great things about living in Taiwan is you can buy fresh bananas on the street almost everywhere, so if you are a banana connoisseur like myself you will not have worry about bananas going bad (I eat bananas every single every day).
Banana prices in Taiwan (along with all fruits and vegetables) are affected by Typhoons. At the beginning of 2017, bananas were selling at 4 times the normal price, a ten year high. Partly because of this and because I love bananas, I have planted 4 banana sprouts on my in-laws property. I should be able to harvest fruit in a year or two. Stay tuned for related blog posts.
1. Mango 芒果
Taiwan Mangoes can compete with any dessert anywhere. Although there are many mango varieties, the taste is similar: amazing. The soft but not too soft texture mixed with super sweet and a hint of sour makes it one of the best fruits ever invented. There is a mango season in Taiwan that lasts from about May until October, which makes summer mangoes all that more desirable. Delicious Taiwan mangoes are an aspect of Taiwan that I always miss when I am in the States.
Did we miss your favorite fruit? Sorry. You can add it in the comments below. This is by no means an exhaustive list; we just want to share our favorite Taiwan fruits with the world.