Photo: Late boat at Waecicu near Labuan Bajo.

What is a guava?

Guavas, grown mainly in central Thailand but native to Central America and the West Indies, are available year round and are a standard offered by street vendors, particularly in Thailand. The skin of the fruit is thin, greenish-yellow - you don't need to peel it - and the crunchy interior is usually white but can also be yellow, pink or red. The large, pear-shaped white ones are considered the best. They all have a centre of small, edible but hard seeds, in the middle of which is the softest pulp of the fruit. The fruit's unusual aromatic quality is due partly to an essential oil also found in cloves, known as eugenol.

If you buy it from a street vendor, expect it to be sold just slightly underripe so it is mouth-puckeringly sour, along with a small plastic bag with a salt, sugar and chilli dip. Sometimes on offer will be a dip of palm sugar blended with fish sauce and heated to a caramel-like sauce.

Guava is high in vitamin C - ripe ones have ten times as much as an orange - and iron and are a mild laxative. Great juiced.

Fruit in Asia FAQ

A bit of history, perhaps a taste-test and an idea on just what some of those Asian fruits really look like.

Asian fruit FAQ

What is a banana?
What is a cantaloupe?
What is a durian?
What is a jackfruit?
What is a longan?
What is a mangosteen?
What is a papaya?
What is a pineapple?
What is a rambutan?
What is a soursop?
What is a starfruit?
What is a watermelon?

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