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15 Sri Lankan fruits that you should try while visiting

15 Sri Lankan fruits that you should try while visiting

Curious about the fruits in Sri Lanka? Since it’s a tropical country, there are plenty of Sri Lankan fruits that are grown locally year round, and they’re cheap too!

Here’s a list of 15 fruits that you should definitely try while visiting. 

Thambili

This Sri Lankan fruit is known as the King Coconut, and it’s very famous. The Thambili is a great source of carbohydrates, vitamin E, iron, calcium, and phosphorus.

You can buy these in the streets and at local fruit markets. Usually, they will cut it open for you to drink the juice, but you can also eat the “meat” inside if they cut it in half. 

Thambili

Photo: Shutterstock

Veralu

Also known as the Ceylon Olive. It’s a good snack filled with minerals, vitamins, fiber, and valuable anti-oxidants, which is also why locals use it for medicinal purposes as well.

Veralu

Photo: Shutterstock

Naminam

The name of this fruit is quite funny in Swedish, as it sounds like a word for “yummy”. 

Naminam is a wrinkly fruit that almost looks like fungus. Luckily the taste is much nicer than its appearance and gives a nice sour tang.

You won’t find them at every street vendor that sells fruit, but if you do, make sure to taste the Naminam!

Naminam

Photo: Shutterstock

Red Bananas

Yellow bananas are commonly sold all over the world, but red bananas are rarer. The red banana has more beta carotene and vitamin C than its yellow counterpart, and they are especially a favorite in Central America. 

In Sri Lanka, you can buy these at the local fruit markets.

Red banana

Photo: Shutterstock

Wood Apple

The wood apple reminds a bit of a coconut on the outside and they smell like a combination of blue cheese and raisins. They are very common in Sri Lanka as well as India.  

The taste of the Wood Apple is sour, sweet, and gives a hint of coffee. To open it, I suggest that you smash against something hard or have someone open it with a knife for you.

It’s a strange fruit that will surely be fun to try!

Wood Apple

Photo: Shutterstock

Breadfruit

Similar to the Jackfruit, which has become more famous than the Breadfruit, but also delicious. 

You can open it and eat the inside raw, or you can enjoy a nicely cooked Breadfruit Curry, which is a Sri Lankan delicacy. 

Breadfruit

Photo: Shutterstock

Papaya

Papayas are grown in many countries, including Sri Lanka, and you can find these everywhere in local markets. The most common papaya is the one known as the Red Lady.

Sri Lankans normally eat Papaya as a breakfast food or make a juice from the fruit. 

Papaya

Photo: Shutterstock

Rambutan

Popular all over Southeast Asia, the Rambutan is one of the weirdest looking fruits in the world.

It is also very delicious, with a similar look and taste to lychee.

Rambutan

Photo: Shutterstock

Mangosteen

Often dubbed as the “Queen of fruits”, the Mangosteen is a real charmer. 

Kalutara, Kegalle, Kandy, Matale, Galle, and Gampaha are all regions that are famous for growing delicious Mangosteens in Sri Lanka, so if you ever travel to one of those places, make sure to try some fresh Mangosteen!

Of course, you will also find plenty in Colombo when they are in season. The fruit is not only delicious, but also filled with Calcium, Vitamin C, and B.

Mangosteen

Photo: Shutterstock

Cashew Apple

Did you know that the Cashew Apple contains five times more vitamin C than Oranges?

And yes, this is how cashew nuts grow. The Cashew Apple and the drupe are the fruit, and the cashew nut is a seed inside the drupe. 

Cashew Apple

Photo: Shutterstock

Gooseberry

The Ceylon Gooseberry is a native fruit in Sri Lanka that is typically available during spring and fall. They come with high amounts of antioxidants, polyphenols, and anthocyanins. It has a sour taste, and can also be made into jam or jelly. 

When in season, there are plenty of them. One fifteen-foot tree is capable of producing nearly 90-pound of Gooseberries.

Sri Lankan gooseberry

Photo: Shutterstock

Kekiri

This fruit is technically classed as a cucumber, but it’s much more exotic and flavorful. It’s an indigenous fruit of Sri Lanka and it has been used in ayurvedic medicine for a very long time. 

As you can see there are two different types of Kekiri. The more yellowish kekiri to the right is known as Sweet Kekiri, and can be eaten fresh. 

Kekiri

Photo: Shutterstock

Jambu

Also known as water apple or rose apple. The Jambu of Sri Lanka has a crispy texture and a mild flavor. It has a cooling effect on the body, and are typically best enjoyed during a hot summer day. 

Jambu

Photo: Shutterstock

Annoda (Soursop)

Also known as Soursop, grown on the evergreen tree. The flavor of Annoda is almost like a strange combination of pineapple and strawberry with a sour citrusy touch. 

The Annoda is ovoid and can grow up to 30 cm long. The shell is characterized by the thorns and green color. 

Annoda

Photo: Shutterstock

Mango

Mangoes are cultivated and sold almost all around the world, but one of the best places to have a fresh mango is definitely in Sri Lanka.

They are native to South Asia, and they are filled with nutrients like Vitamin C and Folate.

Sri lankan mangoes

Photo: Shutterstock

Where to buy fruits in Sri Lanka

The best fruits in Sri Lanka are from the farms directly, or if you’re staying in a homestay, and the family has their own garden. Otherwise, I suggest visiting the local markets. 

There are plenty of local markets around the country where vendors sell locally produced fruits and vegetables. You can also see street vendors that operate outside the markets, selling fresh produce according to seasonality. 

At some popular beaches, you will also find people selling Sri Lankan fruits. 

Other fruits of Sri Lanka

The 15 Sri Lankan fruits already mentioned are of course not the only fruits that are grown in Sri Lanka. It’s truly a tropical fruit paradise with an abundance of exotic fruits year round.

To give you a sense of what other fruits you can find here, see the list below. 

  • Guava
  • Jackfruit
  • Sapodilla
  • Pomegranate
  • Pineapple
  • Passion fruit
  • Avocado
  • Cacao
  • Carambola (Starfruit)
Pomegranate

Photo: Shutterstock


Have you tried any of these Sri Lankan fruits? Share your experience in the comment section!

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