One of the best things to do anywhere in Thailand is to buy fresh, cut fruit at a street stall. These little stalls or mobile carts are on practically every street in Bangkok and on most major streets and some side streets everywhere else in Thailand. So much fresh, tropical fruit is grown in Thailand that it’s easy to buy almost anything you want at a street stall and the prices are cheap. But if you want to buy fresh fruit at a street stall in Thailand, how do you order it and what is available?
How To Find Street Stalls Selling Fresh Fruit in Thailand – Street stalls selling fresh, cut fruit are everywhere in Bangkok. If you feel like buying a bag of fresh fruit, just walk down any main road in Bangkok and you’ll find a fruit vendor within 2 or 3 minutes. Some stalls are static market stalls; some are metal carts on wheels that are pushed to different locations throughout the day. Just wander around your neighborhood, and you should find someone very quickly. If you’re outside Bangkok, you may find the fruit seller pushes his cart through your neighborhood every day. If not, go to one of the many local markets and you’ll always find one or two fresh fruit sellers hawking their wares.
Is Buying Fresh Fruit at a Thai Street Stall Safe? – I’ve lived in Thailand for nine years and buy fresh cut fruit almost every day from a street stall. In six years, I’ve only had food poisoning once and, I think, that was from a bag of cut watermelon. Can’t be sure though, as I’d also eaten other things that day. Either way, once out of several thousand times of buying fresh fruit is a pretty low statistic. I’ve had food poisoning more often in the US when I’ve bought bad food at a supermarket or restaurant. So, yes, buying fresh cut fruit in Thailand is safe. The Thais do it, and many of them live longer than a lot of Westerners do! The fruit is also on ice, so it’s kept as cool and bacteria-free as possible.
How To Order Fresh Fruit in Thailand? – When you get to the fruit stall, you’ll see all the fruit the vendor has to offer in separate section of his cart. As I said, it will be on ice. If it’s fruit like guava or rose apple, it may not be cut yet. Instead, the vendor will cut it for you while you wait. If it’s watermelon, papaya, honeydew melon or many other soft fruits, it will already be cut into pieces large enough for one serving.
When you decide what you want to buy, if you don’t know the Thai for it, just point at the fruit. The vendor will then take one large piece out of the ice and place it in a plastic bag. He will then chop the fruit into manageable pieces with a large knife that he uses to chop THROUGH the bag without cutting it (which I always find fascinating!). Once chopped, he’ll stick in a large toothpick-type stick, which you will use to spear the fruit so you can eat it.
Normally, he will also ask you if you want a tiny bag of sugar to go with it, or a bag of sugar mixed with chili (Thais love adding these to their fresh fruit). This plastic bag with the fruit will then go into another small plastic bag with a handle, so you can carry it easily while you’re eating it. In most places, a bag of fresh fruit including piercing stick and chili sugar is 10 baht or 30 cents.
What Fruit is Available – Every fresh fruit stall in Thailand sells different fruit. Most will sell watermelon, guava and papaya, then a choice of other fruits like pomegranate, honeydew melon, rose apple, and mango. Some street stalls will have the fruit already chopped up in bags and ready to sell, but these are usually the very busy stalls as they know, especially at lunchtime, there will be a lunch rush. Mostly though, the fruit will be chopped as you wait.
Buying fresh, cut fruit in Thailand is cheap and very safe. Many Americans worry about getting food poisoning yet, in six years of living in Thailand, I’ve only had it once. In the US, I got food poisoning at least three times a year so, overall, I think food in Thailand is safer than food in America. Most of my friends, and my parents who visit Thailand almost every year, agree with me.
So, if you’re feeling like a juicy, refreshing bag of fresh, cut fruit in Thailand. Grab one from any fruit stall. It’s safe and delicious, and so cheap!