List of Tropical Foods

Written by jen oda
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List of Tropical Foods
According to the Center for Educational Technologies, the Amazon rainforest receives "12 % of sunlight a day" but "less than 2% reaches the ground." (rainforest image by Aleksander from Fotolia.com)

The tropical regions of the earth are those between Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. These areas surround the equator. Most hit by the sun, these areas are the warmest places on earth. The tropics are also home to an enormous variety of exotic plants and animals. The hot and humid climates and heavy rainfall yield an alluring multitude of tropical foods.

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Fruits

The plethora of exotic plants allows for an incredible mix of tropical fruits. Tropical fruits are usually brightly coloured and have a wide range of sizes, shapes, colour, textures and tastes. Some are edible and some are not.

One example of an edible tropical fruit is breadfruit. Breadfruit is a large round, yellowish green coloured hard fruit with a white fleshy centre that you can cook or serve raw. It is a popular item in Malaysian and Indonesian dishes.

Guava, a small, fragrant fruit native to southern Mexico and Central America, has a white or pink centre with seeds. Use guava in drinks, desserts, sauces and jams.

Tamarinds, which originated in Africa, are podded, brown fruits with a reddish-brown sticky pulp. Tamarinds have a unique tangy, sweet spicy flavour. Enjoy tamarinds fresh or use them as the main ingredient for candies, preserves and drinks.

The rose apple is a round, greenish-yellow fruit. It grows to 2 inches in length and smells and tastes like rose water. The rose apple spoils quickly and is usually not found in markets. Eat the rose apple fresh (soon after picked) or use it to make preserves or rose water.

List of Tropical Foods
Fruit bowls light up with the vibrant shapes and colours of tropical fruits. (tropical fruit image by Ivonne Wierink from Fotolia.com)

Nuts

The plants of the tropics provide an extravagant array of nuts. Nuts are actually hard shelled fruits that have one or no seeds inside. The tropical regions offer thousands of varieties of nuts.

The macadamia is one example. The macadamia nut grows inside the macadamia fruit, a hard green shell containing the nut. The macadamia nut is native to Australia. Enjoy the macadamia nut alone, in chocolates or desserts.

The cashew nut, native to northern Brazil, grows at the end of a cashew apple fruit. Stripped from the cashew apple, the nut is roasted and eaten. Raw cashew nuts contain chemicals that can be toxic if ingested.

List of Tropical Foods
Briefly steamed cashews are usually labelled "raw." (nuts image by alri from Fotolia.com)

Meats

Cultures in the tropical regions have distinctive ways of cooking meat. Their dishes include spices, fruits, vegetables and oils from their native region. Open flames cook tropical meat dishes.

Brazil is famous for its tropical cuisine. One of the typical ways to cook meat is Churrasco. Rub sea salt on both sides of a fillet mignon and roast the steak on an open fire. Gauchos (cowboys) originated the Churrasco steak in the19th century.

Ahi tuna is a tropical fish. It lives in oceans all around the world. Ahi tuna is also called Yellowfin tuna. "Ahi" is its Hawaiian name. Japanese and Hawaiians eat Ahi tuna raw. It is also seared and served with tropical fruits salads like mango and pineapple.

List of Tropical Foods
Served raw or lightly seared, Ahi tuna steaks are not usually cooked throughout. (raw steak of tuna image by Chef from Fotolia.com)

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