30 Exotic Fruits
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read the disclosure policy.
Why not try some delicious exotic fruits from all over the world? From tropical Caribbean fruits to exotic Asian berries, there are many tasty and nutritious options loaded with health benefits!
What Are Some of the Most Exotic Fruits?
In the U.S., exotic fruits refer to fruits that do not originate in North America and/or cannot grow here. Examples include the dragon fruit, which originated in South America, and the lychee fruit of Southeast Asia.
Which Fruit is the Rarest Fruit?
Mangosteen is considered a rarity in the U.S. because of the difficulties growing or importing it. The fruit requires specific growing conditions that are difficult to replicate in the American climate. Further, mangosteens spoil easily during transport from other countries. If that weren’t challenging enough, the mangosteen tree takes over a decade to mature and start bearing fruits, making it costly to cultivate.
Exotic Fruits Available in Most Grocery Stores
Dragon fruit originated in Central and South America and is actually a type of cactus flower. The flesh has a very mild flavor with just a hint of sweetness. You can enjoy it on its own as a snack or add to fruit salads and smoothies.
In addition to pink-skinned varieties above, there is also yellow dragon fruit with a slightly sweeter taste.
Guava is a delicious tropical fruit grown in the Caribbean and South America. It’s actually a type of berry with bright pink or white flesh. Guava has a refreshing, sweet taste and a range of health benefits.
Papaya is a sweet fruit with a distinctive flavor and lots of health benefits. Also called pawpaw, it makes a delicious snack or addition to desserts and smoothies.
Just note that papaya contains trace amounts of latex, making it unsuitable if you are pregnant.
Passion fruit was first discovered in subtropical South America. This exotic fruit is fragrant with a bright, tart flavor and crunchy seeds.
You can eat it with a spoon or make it into a tropical-flavored drink. Passion fruit provides vitamins A and C, a variety of nutrients and dietary fiber.
Goji berries are considered a superfood, making popular among the health-conscious. These berries are indigenous to parts of Asia and have a distinctive taste reminiscent of cranberries.
These juicy tropical fruits are native to southeastern China, where they have been cultivated for centuries. Lychees are prized for their sweet white flesh and distinctive refreshing flavor.
Just be sure to avoid eating the large pits in the middle, as they have toxic properties just like cherry pits.
Jackfruit is a mild-tasting tropical fruit native to Western India with good availability stateside. It has become popular as a meat substitute in vegan recipes (think jackfruit tacos), as it can be boiled or roasted and shreds nicely.
Durian is a tropical fruit with a distinctive spiny exterior and mild-tasting flesh. It was first discovered in southeast Asia and parts of Indonesia. Today, you’ll find it at most Asian markets in the U.S. Fun fact: Durian flesh is wildly popular as a savory pizza topping in China!
Though it has a similar appearance to the jackfruit, the two are not related.
This exotic fruit hails from Sri Lanka and today has good availability worldwide. Starfruit flesh has the texture of crisp watermelon and a taste reminiscent of pears.
Starfruit is packed with healthy plant compounds and antioxidants. However, its high oxalate content makes it potentially unsuitable for people with kidney problems.
The pomelo is the largest citrus fruit and can grow up to one foot in diameter! It’s native to China, where is remains popular to this day.
Pomelo fruit is high in vitamin C and has a pleasantly mild flavor without the bitterness often found in grapefruit.
The pomegranate is a tropical fruit thought to have originated in Persia and now cultivated around the world including in Florida and California.
Pomegranates are prized for their sweet and tart flavors along with their powerful antioxidants. You need to break them open to expose the pods (called arils) inside. Eat them as a snack, juice them or add to a fruit salad.
Persimmons may resemble orange tomatoes, but these fruits have a totally distinct honey-like flavor.
Originally from China, these fruits have been cultivated in Midwestern states such as Illinois, where persimmon pudding is a popular dessert!
Weird Fruits You’ve Properly Never Tried
The ackee is a soft exotic fruit with a delicate nutty flavor. While it’s native to West Africa, today ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica.
Even though it’s technically a fruit, Jamaicans prefer to combine it with savory seasonings and served with codfish and vegetables!
Considered a superfood because of its health benefits, Lucuma is an exotic fruit that is native to Peru. It’s used to make a tasty traditional Peruvian ice cream and other desserts.
This Japanese fruit has a mystical appearance with deep purple skin and translucent white flesh. The Akebi fruit has notes of watermelon and coconut with slightly bitter notes. The pulp has texture reminiscent of dragon fruit.
This unique fruit originated in South or East Asia and gets its name from its unusual shape. The Buddha’s hand is segmented into finger-like sections and is often used as a perfume.
Rambutan originated in Malaysia and has a unique appearance with its red, spiky skin. On the inside, the fruit has sweet, white flesh that looks and tastes like lychee.
This fascinating fruit is native to West Africa and has the power to alter your tongue’s perception of taste. After chewing these magic berries, you will experience a phenomenon known as flavor tripping.
This tropical fruit is native to Southeast Asia and is said to taste like a mix of lychee, peach and strawberry. Unfortunately, mangosteen is very hard to find in the US although availability is improving gradually.
Also known as sweetsop, this fruit is native to the Caribbean and Latin America. The fruit’s white flesh has a creamy, custardy texture and a sweet, mild taste.
Just note the sugar apple’s large seeds have toxic properties and should not be eaten!
Other Unique Fruits to Try from Around the World
Acai berries grow on large palm trees and are native to the rainforests of South America. They have become a social media sensation for their purported health benefits, including powerful antioxidants and low sugar content.
Acai berries are almost never available fresh. However, you can usually get them in freeze-fried or powdered form. Occasionally, you’ll find packages in the freezer section at specialty grocers or health food shops!
Elderberries are native to Scandinavia and the Mediterranean. These small berries are a rich source of vitamins C and B6, and are often used as a natural remedy for colds and the flu (think elderberry tea).
The cherimoya is a knobby exotic fruit native to Central and South America. The fruit has a sweet white flesh with a creamy and custard-like texture, similar to sweetsop.
Sometimes you’ll see it labelled custard apple, which is technically a hybrid of cherimoya and sugar apple.
Loquat originated in China and was exported to Japan during medieval times. The loquat fruit is sweet with slightly tart, citrusy notes. Eat it fresh or use it to make jellies, syrups and pastries!
Salak is an Indonesian fruit that makes a tasty snack. Also known as snake fruit, it has a similar flavor to pineapple and can be used to make wine.
Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit that is also cultivated in Korea and China. The fruit tastes like a combination of mandarin oranges and grapefruit.
It’s prized for its juice and zest, while also being used to make an oil for perfumes and cosmetics.
This fruit originated in China and is sometimes known as waxberry or yumberry. The taste can be describes as a mixture of strawberry and pomegranate with the texture of an orange.
Longan is native to Southern China and is a close relative of the lychee. The fruit has a sweet taste and offers many health benefits.
This South American variety of melon comes in many colors and has a sweet, refreshing taste. Pepino melons taste like honeydew with a hint of cucumber.
These fruits are grown in South and Central America and parts of the Caribbean. They are eaten by sucking sweet, juicy gelatinous flesh from the seed of the fruit.