Photo: Late boat at Waecicu near Labuan Bajo.

What is a starfruit?

Also known as the carambola or "five corners", the star fruit is a thirst-quenching fruit, usually with a waxy pale green skin that turns yellow-orange when it's ready to eat. Its cross section, unsurprisingly, is a five-point star. The flavour can vary from delicately sweet to slightly tangy lemon-pineapple. The very thin skin is edible and so you don't need to peel it but if the ribs show a brown line, remove them before slicing to eliminate the fruit's oxalic acid.

The starfruit grows to around 15 centimetres long, and is best from June to November in Southeast Asia, although it's native to China, Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia. Across Asia they are popularly eaten semi-ripe dipped into salt but they work well in fruit salads and look great on a cheese platter.

Eating the fruit is said to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics while in Chinese medicine they are used as a diuretic.

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 guava?
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 watermelon?

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