5 Must-Try Fruits in Taiwan







You cannot even dream of getting these fruits (and of these quality) in the United States, unless you forgot about that passion fruit in your backpack when it comes time to go through customs  =O

There are so many fruits that you should definitely try in Taiwan: papaya, dragon fruit, yellow watermelon, banana, longan and lychee, mango, starfruit, green skinned oranges, and pomelo, to name a few. I highly encourage you to pick as many different fruits as you can, and try them all! Depending on what season you visit Taiwan, there will be different availability of fruit. I’ll list my personal favorites here 🙂

For the best price, go to a market that sells only fruit, or only fruit and fruit juices, or a traditional wet market. For convenience, buy these pre-cut at night markets or wet markets, or wherever you may see them on the street.

Look for the word 水果 (shui guo / fruit) or 水果汁 (shui guo ji/ fruit juice).

You could ask the vendor,

Can you pick one for me that is ready to eat today?  ”可不可以幫我挑一個 今天可以吃的?” “ke bu ke yi bang wo tiao yi ge jin tian ke yi chi de?” Or just  Can you pick one for me  “可不可以幫我挑一個?” “”ke bu ke yi bang wo tiao yi ge?” (Of course, Google Translate can you give you the exact pronunciation. 

shijia_minCustard apple, sugar apple / 釋迦 / shi jia

Appearances can be deceiving. These are not very pretty on the outside. HOWEVER..They are probably the sweetest fruit that exists, and the inside is a creamy white filling. The texture towards the green knobby clusters are more similar to that of a, say, soft but grainier pear, while the texture inside is soft and velvety. My mom used to say certain fruits were ‘sour’ if they were not obviously sweet-tasting. She obviously held shi jia as the gold standard for fruit sweetness 😀 Oh yea, did I mention my mom LOVES shi jia?

I find shi jia very filling, probably due to the high sugar content. If you want to save room for other goodies, better to find some friends to share with!

How to Pick

They are ripe when they are very soft to the touch. You can buy some that are more firm to have for later, and buy some that are super soft, to eat now. However, once they are ripe…better eat up! They do not travel well.

How to Eat

it is so soft when ripe, that you can use your hands to crack the fruit down the middle to split it open. Then, use a spoon to scoop everything out. Without a spoon, you can also just pick out one green knob at a time, and devour the white filling.

guava_minGuava /  芭樂 / ba le(la)

Yummy. Pale green on the outside, white on the inside, these are just really good. Some like these soft, some like them crunchy (sprinkled with some sour plum powder- YUM!)

How to Pick

Again, others have bought these, so I’m not too sure. This can be another one for the vendor.

How to Eat

Some people cut out the middle section that contains the seeds, but I eat everything, especially because the flesh around the seeds is generally even more soft than the surrounding flesh.  To me, ba la taste best when they are sliced into wedges.


Passion fruit /  百香果 / bai xiang guo

“白香“ translates to 100-fragrances, so that would mean that passion fruit is 100-fragrance fruit, and I cannot agree more. Hands down, this is my favorite fruit! It is slightly tart, sweet (if you eat a ripe one), and has nutty seeds that can be eaten, too. If you are unable to find the fruit, look for the Chinese words on drink menus- there will definitely be tea shops that sell drinks with real passion fruit pulp in them.

How to Pick

Don’t pay attention to what vendors may try to say to trick you (I fell prey to a sneaky vendor once)- These are ripe when they are wrinkly. However, if it is toooo wrinkly like a raisin, it may be not as juicy / somewhat dried out. Look for wrinkly ones, or ones that are heavy for their size, and only eat when wrinkly. There are the dark purple ones, as well as the lighter colored ones. The dark purple are more common, and I think I prefer the dark purple slightly more. The lighter color skinned ones have a more floral/ mild taste, if I remember correctly. I think of Madagascar versus Tahitian beans =o Both are good, though- try one of each to do a taste test!

How to Eat

If possible, hold the fruit steady from the top, and slice it in half with the knife parallel to the table. This way, the juices don’t just leak all over the plate, but they stay in the bottom half.

If you don’t have a knife, you can also use strong fingernails to make an incision in the top of the fruit, and tear the top open. Make sure you scoop everything out with a spoon!


Try this drink at Ju Zi Gong Fang- Orange House. It’s a franchise, but I really enjoy their passion fruit QQ green tea!








Papaya_minPapaya / 木瓜 / mu guacutpapaya_min

Are they named mu gua (mu is a radical for the word tree) because they are melons that grow on trees? Anyway, do not dismiss papaya as something you can also eat in the US.  Papayas in Taiwan > > > Papayas you eat in the US. I believe all the papayas we get are either from Mexico, other Latin American countries, or Hawaii?

Papayas in Taiwan are sweet, creamy, and do not have any weird stink to them. Mr. ABC Chef used to almost recoil at the sound of papaya, and could now also wax poetic about Taiwan papayas, like I do. If you can’t find papayas in the markets, papaya milk from a shop that uses lots of papayas instead of mostly milk (watch the workers before you buy) is next best.

How to Pick

Again, not really good at picking these, because most of the ones we ate were picked by friends. I think it’s safe to say that as long as the papaya is very soft (like a ripe avocado), it is ready for eating.

How to Eat

Because of the large size of a papaya and the need for a real knife, it’s probably easiest to eat it when you have a knife ready, or just buy it already cut. I think it’s best eaten when sliced up and eaten like a watermelon slice.

lianwuWax Apple /  蓮霧 / lian wu

These do not have a texture like an apple at all! They are definitely more juicy than apples, and are very crispy and refreshing. Unlike with shi jia, I feel you could eat a bunch of lian wu and still have some room for other food.

How to Pick

I’m not too sure, actually..Pick ones that look rosy red, not pale, and maybe ones that do not look cracked  on the bottom where the bell flares out. They also sell bigger ones that are more expensive and a shade of deep red (different variety, perhaps)? but I prefer the more normal sized ones, as I think they have better taste.

How to Eat

Wash and eat! Some people avoid the hairy part on the flared-out part (kind of similar to the hairy part on the bottom of an apple), but on the go (or on the train), I just eat it, too.


  1. Sam

    Fruits of the philippines. That is the place to go for all these fruits and more. Except wax apple. Never saw that there.

    • Megan

      Seems that tropical countries have several fruits in common!

    • Bob Jacobson


      I believe the Filipinos call wax apple \”macopa\”.

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