Longan fruit is more known in the western world as the dragon’s eye. Longan reminds more of berries than fruit and it is rather popular in Thailand. Like the lichee, the skin of a longan is thin and leathery. Large fruits are generally used for canning. "Most imported longan fruit is from Thailand and Vietnam. Longans are small, almost spherical fruits with a mottled light brown to beige colored skin.
Exports of the fruit are surging, adding to Thailand’s reputation as the world's largest exporter of fresh Longan. (Dimocarpus longan) Longan was brought to Thailand from China in 19th century. Except longan you will meet the other “members” of soapberry family in markets of Thailand – lychee and rambutan. In Thailand, the longan fruits have been processed into canned longan, dried 'longan nuts', longan nectar and frozen longan (Subhadrabandhu, 1990). Nutritive Value Longan is called a super fruit because it contains glucose, sucrose, and proteins, along with iron. Longan reminds more of berries than fruit and it is rather popular in Thailand.
In Thailand, longan is often eaten with glutinous rice and coconut milk, or crushed ice, but can be enjoyed alone as well.
The fruit comes in season a bit later than the lichee. Except longan you will meet the other “members” of soapberry family in markets of Thailand … There are substantial canning factories for longan in Thailand, China and Taiwan Province of China. Interestingly, the fruit has a nickname of ‘Dragon eye fruit,’ which may make sense when you see the above image. Longan is a tropical fruit that grows in China and South-East Asia, and it is prevalent in countries such as Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. For Thailand’s Longan orchardists, 2017 has been a bountiful year. Chinese call it “the eye of dragon”. New trees can take several years to become fruit-bearing. It does resemble an eyeball. The longan seems to be the most loved of the many lichee-like fruits available in Thailand. Longan trees can be grown from fresh seed but, as seeds are very short lived, they are usually reproduced by cuttings or aerial layering (marcottage). Currently, supply from Thailand is trickling into the China market, although the volume is still limited as the harvest has just started.
The fruit is very common in Asia, but is considered to be a relatively new fruit to the world (acknowledged outside of China only in the last 250 years). Thailand is a great source of raw material and one the top agriculture product exporters in world. Their succulent crop, which is in heavy demand in many World markets, is of higher quality than last year, mainly because of consistent rainfall throughout the growing season.