"Eating Bangkok's Unique Oranges" Street Food Tip by Chyan

Street Food, Bangkok: 19 reviews and 33 photos

  Som-khewa below som-tra (sweet oranges)
by Chyan

In Bangkok, orange (som-tra, Citrus sinensis) is not orange in colour. It is green. An un-discerned tourist may mistake the green orange as lime (manau), but it is not lime.

The type of Thai orange common in summer in Bangkok is the som-khewa (Citrus sinensis Siam), which means "orange-green-sweet" in Thai.

Som-khewa tastes sweet but it turns sour before it resumes its sweetness in one's bud. It is the miracle fruit of the citrus world.

At TOPS, each som-khewa to nylon red packs of som-khewa are sold at between 39 Baht to 57 Baht. There is the commercial name Frinnant Orange, an obloid som-khewa larger than a typical som-khewa. The latter is usually smaller than a Frinnant Orange.

A som-khewa can be as small as a lime and it has only a thin layer of green outer skin. When its green outer skin is peeled, a bright orange cross-section is noticed.

A street vendor near Soi Saphan Khu often shows this lime-like som-khewa's epicarp and prepares a plastic bottle of som-khewa juice for sale at around 20 Baht, although I did not buy it because I doubted its authentic origins.

I bought my first few som-khewa packs at TOPS and from a street vendor outside TOPS at 30 Baht, instead.

Som-khewa is grown in the northern parts of Bangkok and the eastern side of Chiang Mai, according to a street vendor. It has less juice than a mandarin orange and thus it is quite heaty in quality. Its one to two less protective clavate seeds can be crushed like green melon seeds and are edible.

Som-khewa ranges from the shape of a lime to a persimmon, and it is never as round as an orange.

Address: TOPS Supermarket
Directions: Near Saphan Taksin BTS Station

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Aug 17, 2004
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