What is this Fruit?
May 7, 2011 8:17 PM   Subscribe

Can someone help me to identify this fruit? It is from South India and tastes a lot like coconut. The person who gave it to me wasn't sure of the name. Some research suggests it might be a "coconut apple" which is the inside of a very ripe coconut. It looks whitish/clear like ice-with a husk. Here are some pictures (1, 2, 3, 4)
posted by yticmic to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by pants tent at 8:32 PM on May 7, 2011

It looks a lot like a lychee inside, but the rind looks different.
posted by neko at 8:33 PM on May 7, 2011

posted by ghharr at 8:34 PM on May 7, 2011

You don't say how big it is, although if it's as big as a "coconut apple" it wouldn't be a lychee. If it's the same /size/ as a lychee, it would be a longan, with that colouring, although the insides look wrong for a longan as well...

What size is it?
posted by owlrigh at 8:35 PM on May 7, 2011

Does it have a seed inside?
posted by neko at 8:39 PM on May 7, 2011

I lived with a lychee tree for 4 years, and while the flesh is similar, it did not taste like coconut and the peel had spikey bits. I'm pretty sure it's not lychee.
posted by b33j at 8:44 PM on May 7, 2011

I think ghharr got it. Longan
posted by dtp at 8:49 PM on May 7, 2011

It doesn't look like any longan I've ever had. I wish there was a better sense of size or scale from the photos though...
posted by yeoz at 9:02 PM on May 7, 2011

Best answer: It is the sugar palm fruit

It is quite well-known in South India and the fleshy white fruit is eaten in summer as a coolant. Palm sugar is also made from this.
posted by theobserver at 9:04 PM on May 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

I think theobserver nailed it. Here's one example and here's another.
posted by neko at 9:11 PM on May 7, 2011

That is not a lychee.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:27 PM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Looks much more like a sugar palm fruit (also called kaong) than either lychee or longan.
posted by scalefree at 12:39 AM on May 8, 2011

If it's from South India it's the fruit of the palmyra palm. Very widely used in South India, Sri Lanka - every part of the palm is used.

It is also used to make a popular alcoholic drink (toddy).

I've not heard the term Sugar palm as used by theobserver before, but having wikipedia'ed it it appears to be a generic name for a number of species of sugar giving palm trees, including the Asian Palmyra palm, which is the one you find in South India. In Tamil we call the "Panai" which may be the term you heard in South India, the fruit itself is either referred to by the tree name or called "Nangu".
posted by inbetweener at 3:13 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: here is one more picture with a nail clipper for size reference.


I think the sugar palm fruit is correct. It has no seed, and if it is ripe, then it is filled with water which bursts when you bite it. Also, the wikipedia article mentions Andhra Pradesh, which is where I am.
posted by yticmic at 5:15 AM on May 8, 2011

(inbetweener— nangu as in "naked?")
posted by yaymukund at 1:47 PM on May 8, 2011

I remember it being called "nungu" in the part of Tamilnadu I was in. It's also got the mouth-feel of a big bolus of snot...
posted by Runes at 2:43 PM on May 8, 2011

Being from South India originally and having eaten that fruit several times, I can confirm that this is a palm called "Nongu" in tamil or "Munjelu" in telugu. This is a delicious fruit and refreshes you in the summer. If eaten tender, you will get a sweet nectar inside but if fully ripe, all the nectar dries up. Where did you get it?
posted by harigopal at 4:34 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

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