The longan seems to be the most loved of the many litchi-like fruits available in Thailand, and the area around Chiang Mai is the primary growing region for these small brown berries. The fruit comes in season a bit later than the litchi. Longans are small, almost spherical fruits with a mottled light brown to beige colored skin. Like the litchi, the skin of a longan is thin and leathery. The English name for the fruit must be related to the Chinese word for it, long-ngan, which means "dragon eyes." Unlike the litchi, the Chinese believe the longan to be nourishing and healthful, without contributing to the body's "imbalance" of yin and yang. In fact, the longan is a favorite food of Chinese women who have just given birth. Longans are rich in iron in a form which is easily absorbed by the body.
Beeo Keeo longans on sale in a market.
Longans are also a good source of copper and manganese, which help to maintain healthy hair and skin. Copper is also useful for helping the body to absorb iron, making the longan a good fruit for people who are anemic. Copper also helps to maintain and repair the connective tissues of the heart and arteries.
There are two main varieties of longan sold in the markets. See Chompoo or "pink colored" is the most highly prized. As its name implies, the flesh has a slightly pinkish color to it. The other type, Beeo Keeo, looks similar on the outside, but the flesh is more greenish.
The bigger the Long Tong, the more you pay!
Another fruit looks very similar to the longan, and in Thai it's known as long tong. Long tongs are larger than longans and generally much sweeter. For this reason, the fruit is usually much more expensive than the longan.
|1 fruit without refuse||3.2 g|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.0032 65.000||0%|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||0.48448 300.000||0%|
|Fiber, total dietary||0.0352 25.000||0%|
|Calcium, Ca||0.032 1000.000||0%|
|Iron, Fe||0.00416 18.000||0%|
|Magnesium, Mg||0.32 400.000||0%|
|Phosphorus, P||0.672 1000.000||0%|
|Potassium, K||8.512 3500.000||0%|
|Zinc, Zn||0.0016 15.000||0%|
|Copper, Cu||0.005408 2.000||0%|
|Manganese, Mn||0.001664 2.000||0%|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||2.688 60.000||4%|