National Fruit of Nepal: Versatile Sourcing
When discussing the national food of Nepal, one cannot overlook the multitude of fruits sourced from this incredible terrain.
The diversity is vast, ranging from the Mustang region’s hearty apples to the Terai plains’ succulent mangoes.
But, the plot thickens when it comes to the national Fruit of Nepal. There are many sources, each positing a different fruit as the national symbol. Let’s dive into the most frequently mentioned ones!
The National Fruit of Nepal is the Raspberry
One contender that often enters the conversation about the national Fruit of Nepal is the Raspberry, known locally as Aiselu.
Raspberry: An Unofficial National Fruit?
Despite being cited by sources such as Wikipedia, it’s important to note that Raspberry’s status as the national Fruit of Nepal is unofficial.
The lack of an official statement or citation from a trusted authority means that this designation isn’t set in stone while popularly accepted.
Raspberry: A Member of the Rose Family
The Raspberry belongs to the Rubus genus of the rose family. This berry is perennial, featuring woody stems and a sweet and tart taste. It’s worth noting that this Fruit is consumed fresh and processed into various grocery products.
Raspberry Products in Nepal
In Nepal, Raspberries are consumed in their raw form, savoured for their distinct flavour. But the reach of this Fruit extends beyond being a fresh snack. Raspberries are also dried for preservation, allowing them to be enjoyed year-round.
They’re also pureed, forming the base of many Nepalese desserts and drinks. One popular delicacy is the raspberry pie, where the tangy sweetness of raspberries perfectly complements the rich crust.
Is Date Palm the National Fruit of Nepal?
The question that often arises is whether the Date Palm, scientifically known as Phoenix dactylifera, holds the esteemed title of the national Fruit of Nepal, according to various source.
Date Palm: A Fruit of Significance
Locally referred to as the “Tree of Life,” the Date Palm is a flowering plant species from the palm family. Its nickname stems from its historical significance, providing life’s necessities to ancient civilizations.
Native to the Kumaon division of the Uttarakhand Province in India and adjacent western Nepal, the Date Palm is celebrated for its versatility and extensive use.
Despite its prevalence across the globe, especially in eastern and western countries, Egypt boasts the highest number of date palms, harvesting over 1 million metric tons of fresh dates each year.
The Nutritional Profile of Date Palm
The Date Palm is not just about historical and cultural significance. It also carries a unique nutritional profile.
Rich in minerals and vitamins, the Date Palm primarily contains six vitamins: Vitamin B thiamine, B2 riboflavin, A, C, and nicotinic acid.
This nutritional profile makes it an essential part of a balanced diet and contributes to its status as a potential national fruit candidate.
The Uses of Date Palm
The Date Palm goes beyond being a fruit enjoyed for its sweet taste. It offers practical uses that have been integrated into daily life, especially in regions where it is native.
Crafting with Date Palm Leaflets
The leaflets of the Date Palm can be skillfully crafted into baskets, demonstrating the versatility of this plant beyond its dietary contribution.
Fruit Stalks and Leaf Bases as Fuel and Rope
The fruit stalks and leaf bases of the Date Palm have been traditionally used for fuel. They are also processed into rope, providing a sustainable resource in many communities.
Date Palm Trunk: A Source of Timber and Roofing Material
The trunk of the Date Palm serves as an essential source of timber. Moreover, it can be used as a roofing material, demonstrating this fruit tree’s vast array of uses.
Through this exploration of the Date Palm, we can see why it might be considered the national Fruit of Nepal. However, it’s essential to note that several other fruits are also contenders for this title.
Mangifera: The National Fruit of Nepal?
Among the many fruits vying for the national Fruit of Nepal title, the Mangifera also emerges as a contender.
Mangifera: Backed by Online Forestry Sources
As per forestrynepal, the Mangifera is indicated as the national food of Nepal. While these sources provide a compelling argument, it is crucial to remember that the designation of a national fruit requires official recognition, which is still ambiguous in Nepal’s case.
A Look at the Mangifera Genus
Mangifera belongs to the Anacardiaceae family, better known as the cashew family. This genus consists of approximately 69 species, the most famous of which is the common Mango.
The Mango’s luscious, sweet taste and nutritional profile have made it a beloved fruit worldwide.
Mangifera species, particularly the common Mango, are widely cultivated across the tropical and subtropical regions of the world.
They are known for their large, fleshy fruits and resilience in varying climatic conditions.
Mangifera, particularly the common Mango, is a prevalent fruit in Nepal, especially in the Terai region.
Its popularity and the vast array of culinary applications, from being eaten raw to its use in pickles and desserts, underscore Mangifera’s significant role in Nepal’s food culture.
Hog Plum (Lapsi) – Believed to be the only Fruit found in Nepal
Among the myriad fruits native to Nepal, one stands out due to its exclusivity to the region — the Hog Plum, more commonly known as Lapsi in Nepal.
Lapsi: A Unique Fruit of Nepal
Lapsi bears a striking resemblance to a yellow-green plum, but what sets it apart is its distinctive flavour profile. This Fruit is celebrated for its tangy tartness, which offers a refreshing change from the more common sweet fruits.
Lapsi in Nepalese Cuisine
Lapsi is extensively used in the households of Nepal, particularly for its value addition to pickles and vegetables. Its tart flavour is excellent for adding a zing to various dishes, making it a favoured ingredient in many traditional recipes.
Moreover, this Fruit isn’t just restricted to culinary use. The Lapsi tree, apart from bearing this delicious Fruit, also carries significant religious importance in Hindu traditions.
Lapsi Trees in Religion and Natural Landscapes
Lapsi trees can be observed gracing the gardens of numerous temples in Kathmandu. They form an integral part of many Hindu rituals, further enhancing the cultural significance of this unique Fruit.
Furthermore, these trees shape the woodlands and farms of Nepal, growing naturally and adding to the country’s rich biodiversity.
This natural abundance and cultural significance further underscore why the Lapsi could be considered the national Fruit of Nepal.
Which Fruit is famous in Nepal?
While the quest for the national Fruit of Nepal remains an open-ended discussion, there’s no doubt about the popularity of certain fruits across the country.
These fruits, while not native to Nepal, have found a special place in the country’s culinary and cultural landscape.
The Ubiquitous Orange
Oranges are a crowd-favourite in Nepal, widely enjoyed for their juicy sweetness. They’re also common in Nepalese markets, with vendors proudly displaying their vibrant orange hues.
Apples: A Taste of the Himalayas
Apples, particularly those grown in the Mustang region, are cherished for their crisp texture and the unique flavour profile they bring due to the region’s climate.
Pears and Grapes: Exotic Delights
Pears and grapes, though less widely cultivated, have carved a niche in the Nepalese fruit scene. They’re trendy during festivals and special occasions, marking them as a special treat.
Bananas: The Everyday Fruit
With their convenience and year-round availability, Bananas have become a staple in many Nepalese households. Their versatility in culinary applications, from being eaten raw to their use in desserts, adds to their popularity.
Even though these fruits are not contenders for the national Fruit of Nepal title, their popularity in the country is unparalleled. They represent the diversity of tastes and preferences in Nepal, further enriching its vibrant food culture.
Exotic Fruits of Nepal
The diversity of Nepal’s geography, from the subtropical plains to the high-altitude Himalayas, allows a rich array of fruits to thrive.
Some of these are exotic, not commonly found in many parts of the world. Let’s explore these unique fruits and their characteristics.
Mul Berry (Kimbu)
Referred to as Kimbu in Nepal, Mulberries (Morus Alba from the Moraceae family) are treasured for their dual taste profile.
The ripe berries turn a dark black and offer a perfect balance of sweetness and sourness, making them a much sought-after fruit.
The Litchi or Lychee (Litchi chinensis from the Sapindaceae family) is a popular fruit with a sweet, fragrant pulp inside a rough, red exterior. It’s widely consumed fresh but also used in various desserts and beverages.
Durian (Durio species from the Malvaceae family) is a highly prized fruit in many Asian countries, and Nepal is no exception. Despite the pungent smell, its unique flavour and creamy texture make it a favourite among fruit connoisseurs.
With its hairy exterior and sweet, juicy interior, Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum from the Sapindaceae family) is a tropical delight. Though less widespread than some other fruits, it has a unique appeal among enthusiasts.
Wood Apple (Bel)
Wood Apple, also known as Bel in Nepal (Aegle marmelos from the Rutaceae family), is a hard-shelled fruit with a sweet and sour pulp. It’s often consumed in the form of juice or used in traditional medicines due to its health benefits.
Lastly, the Himalayan Raspberry (Rubus ellipticus from the Rosaceae family), not to be confused with the common Raspberry, is a wild fruit in the Himalayan region. Its golden-yellow fruits offer a tart flavour that differentiates it from its more common cousin.
King Fruit of Nepal
In the realm of Nepalese fruits, one Fruit reigns supreme — the Mango, often referred to as the ‘King of Fruits. Its ubiquitous presence and its fondness among the people give it a regal status in Nepal’s fruit kingdom.
Mango: A Prolific Presence in the Terai Belt
Mango is one of the most cultivated fruits in the Terai belt of Nepal, a region known for its fertile plains and subtropical climate — ideal conditions for mango cultivation.
The popularity of this Fruit is not only because of its luscious taste but also its nutritional profile, packed with vitamins A and C and dietary fibre.
The Mango Season
The flowering to fruit process of mango trees in Nepal naturally occurs in the Nepali months of Jestha and Ashar, corresponding to May and June in the Gregorian calendar.
This period marks the advent of the mango season, turning the trees into a visual treat with their heavy-laden branches.
A Household Staple
Mangoes are not just a commercial crop but are also commonly found in homes and gardens across Nepal.
During the peak season, it’s common to see mangoes being enjoyed in various forms — consumed fresh, featured in desserts, or even pickled for longevity.
Queen Fruit of Nepal
While the Mango may be the reigning king in Nepal’s fruit kingdom, another fruit holds the prestigious title of the ‘Queen’ — the Mangosteen.
This exotic fruit, originally from Southeast Asia, is increasingly making its mark in Nepal due to its unique taste and nutritional profile.
Mangosteen: An Exotic Import
The Mangosteen, officially the National Fruit of Thailand, is a tropical delight known for its luscious and complex flavour.
Its scientific name is Garcinia mangostana, which originates from the family Clusiaceae. While not native to Nepal, this Fruit has found its way into the country’s fruit basket, primarily due to globalization and increased accessibility to exotic fruits.
Inside the Mangosteen
The Mangosteen’s exterior, a hard rind coloured a deep, royal purple, encases four to eight white, juicy flesh segments.
This is the edible portion of the Fruit, renowned for its perfect balance of sweet and tart flavours. Typically, Mangosteens are eaten fresh as a dessert fruit due to their delightful taste.
Mangosteen in Culinary Uses
While enjoying the Mangosteen fresh is a treat, it’s also incorporated into several culinary dishes. In Thai cuisine, green Mangosteens are occasionally used in curry dishes for their tangy flavour.
Similarly, in some Indian regions, they’re added to fish curry, lending a unique flavour to the dish.
The Fruit is found only in Nepal.
While Nepal is home to various fruits, one Fruit is unique in this diverse range — the Nepali Hog Plum, commonly known as Lapsi.
This Fruit is a local delicacy, cherished not just for its taste but also for its numerous health benefits.
Nepali Hog Plum (Lapsi): An Overview
The Nepali Hog Plum, or Lapsi (Choerospondias axillary from the Anacardiaceae family), is a small yellow-green fruit that closely resembles a plum.
The Fruit is sour when unripe but turns slightly sweet when fully matured. This unique flavour profile makes it a favourite among the locals.
The Nutritional Powerhouse
Lapsi is rich in various nutrients, including antioxidant Vitamin C, Arginine, Amino acids, Magnesium, and Calcium.
These nutrients make Lapsi a healthy fruit choice. Regular consumption of Lapsi is believed to help prevent heart disease due to its antioxidant properties.
National Fruits Spread in the South Asian Domains
The diversity of fruits in South Asia and its neighbouring regions is astounding. The following are some of the fruits that have been declared national fruits in various countries within this domain:
The Pomegranate (Punica granatum), known for its nutrient-packed seeds, is the national Fruit of Afghanistan, Iran, and Azerbaijan. Its vibrant red seeds are rich in antioxidants and vitamins, often consumed fresh or used in cooking and beverages.
The Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), recognized as the national Fruit of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, is the largest Fruit that grows on a tree. Its Fruit is versatile and can be used in various dishes, from curries to desserts.
Chicken Egg Banana
The Chicken Egg Banana (Musa sapientum), so called due to its small size and shape, is the national Fruit of Cambodia. This variety of bananas is often used in desserts due to its sweet taste.
The Fuzzy Kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa), also known as Kiwi, is the national Fruit of China. The Fruit is known for its unique sweet and tangy flavour and is a rich source of vitamin C.
The Mango (Mangifera indica), hailed as the ‘King of Fruits’, is the national Fruit of India, Haiti, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Its sweet and juicy flesh is enjoyed in numerous forms across these countries.
The Durian (Durio zibethinus), with its strong aroma and distinctive taste, is the national Fruit of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Despite its divisive reputation, it’s highly prized in these countries.
The Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), recognized for its juicy white flesh and sweet-tart taste, is the national Fruit of Thailand. Its unique flavour and numerous health benefits have earned it the title of ‘Queen of Fruits’.
Ten Fruits to Try in Nepal
Nepal’s geographical diversity makes it a paradise for fruit lovers, with a range of fruits that span from tropical to temperate. Here are ten fruits that you must try when you visit Nepal:
Cultivated majorly in the higher altitude regions of Nepal, with Dolpa being the prime cultivator, the apple is a beloved winter fruit. Beyond their delicious taste, apples are known for their numerous health benefits.
They aid in teeth whitening, liver detoxification, neutralizing irritable bowel syndrome, and reducing the risk of diabetes.
Locally known as Alubakhada, plums have been a part of Nepal’s fruit culture for generations. These seasonal delicacies are grown primarily in the Himalayan region.
Plums are packed with Vitamins C, A, and K and have potential cancer-preventing properties. They can be enjoyed fresh, in wine production, in juice, or in dessert.
The Pomegranate is a vibrant fruit enjoyed for its sweet and tart seeds. It is loaded with essential nutrients and antioxidants, making it a healthy addition to the diet.
Known as the ‘King of Fruits’, the Mango is a favourite during the Nepalese summer. Its sweet, juicy pulp is enjoyed fresh in desserts and beverages.
With its distinct taste and texture, the Jackfruit is a versatile fruit used in various dishes, from curries to desserts.
The Banana is a popular fruit in Nepal, loved for its sweet taste and numerous health benefits. It is consumed fresh and is also used in desserts.
Unofficially recognized as the national Fruit of Nepal, the Raspberry, locally known as Aiselu, is enjoyed for its unique flavour. It is eaten fresh, dried, or turned into puree for various dishes.
8. Blackberry/Black Plum (Jamuna)
The Black Plum, or Jamuna, is a juicy fruit rich in antioxidants. It can be enjoyed fresh or used in desserts and beverages.
The Pear is a popular fruit in Nepal, known for its sweet and juicy flavour. It is packed with essential nutrients and can be consumed fresh or used in various culinary preparations.
10. Lychee (Litchi)
With its sweet and fragrant flesh, the Lychee is a popular summer fruit in Nepal. It is typically enjoyed fresh but can also be used in beverages and desserts.
Unearthing the Unique: Beyond the Fruits of Nepal
As we wrap up our exploration of Nepal’s delightful fruit diversity, it’s pertinent to remember that Nepal’s uniqueness extends beyond its vibrant array of fruits.
The nation is replete with cultural, historical, and natural elements exclusive to its landscape, each contributing to its captivating allure.
The Triangular Flag
Nepal takes immense pride in its national flag — the only national flag in the world that isn’t quadrilateral. The two pennants of the flag represent the Himalayas and the two major religions, Hinduism and Buddhism.
The Living Goddess (Kumari)
Nepal is also home to the ‘Kumari,’ or the ‘Living Goddess.’ This tradition involves worshipping young pre-pubescent girls as manifestations of divine female energy. The tradition of Kumari is a unique and fascinating aspect of Nepalese culture.
The Legend of Yeti
Fascinating tales and legends surround the elusive Yeti, often known as the ‘Abominable Snowman.’ While the existence of the Yeti is debated, the legend is an integral part of local folklore and continues to intrigue locals and tourists alike.
Nature’s peculiar blend of the animal and the plant kingdom, Yarsagumba or the ‘Himalayan Viagra’, is a unique caterpillar-fungus in Nepal’s higher altitude regions. Harvested for its supposed medicinal properties, it is a significant source of income for the locals.
The Spiny Babbler
The Spiny Babbler (Turdoides nipalensis) is a bird species endemic to Nepal, meaning it’s found nowhere else in the world. Its existence adds a unique feather to Nepal’s biodiversity cap.
As we end our journey, it’s clear that Nepal’s unique tapestry of fruits is just a slice of its rich and diverse cultural, natural, and historical wealth.
Each element we’ve explored paints a part of the bigger picture that is Nepal — a nation as lush and varied as its fruits.
Just as one must savour the various fruits of Nepal, it’s equally essential to relish and appreciate the uniqueness that permeates every aspect of this fascinating country.
Frequently Asked Question on topic – National Fruit of Nepal
As of now, Nepal does not officially recognize any fruit as its national fruit. However, several sources, including Wikipedia, suggest the Raspberry (Aiselu in Nepali) as the country’s unofficial national fruit.
Nepal boasts a wide range of unique fruits such as Lapsi (Nepali Hog Plum), Kimbu (Mulberry), and Aiselu (Raspberry). Other popular fruits include apples, plums, pomegranates, mangoes, jackfruits, bananas, black plums (Jamuna), pears, and lychees.
Although Nepal does not officially designate any fruit as its King or Queen, the mango and mangosteen are often referred to as the King and Queen fruit due to their popularity and delectable taste.
Beyond its fruit diversity, Nepal is unique for several reasons, including its triangular national flag, the tradition of the Living Goddess (Kumari), the legend of the Yeti, the Yarsagumba, and the Spiny Babbler bird, which is endemic to Nepal.
Many fruits are popular in Nepal, including apples, oranges, bananas, mangoes, and pomegranates. The country’s climate and geography make it suitable for a wide range of fruits, providing diverse flavors for locals and visitors alike.