Among Thai speakers, anyone who can name all of the vegetables and fruits whose name begins with the syllable ''ma'' in Thai can lay claim to real expertise where produce is concerned. Even non-Thai speakers with the most cursory knowledge of the language must have noticed this sound coming up non-stop when Thai friends start talking about fruit.
Documentation on the ma fruits and vegetables would fill terabytes of hard disk space. Just for starters there are: mamuang (mango), makrut (kaffir lime), malako (papaya), matoom (bael fruit), ma khwit (wood apple), maphrao (coconut), makham (tamarind), makhuea (aubergine), manao (lime), maprang (plum mango) and mayom (star gooseberry). And these are just some of the better-known ones. There are three more ma plants whose fruit have become obscure or unfamiliar, maybe because they have no place in the daily life of many Thais, are hard to find or possibly because there is no one around now to make a case for them, especially in Bangkok, where the in-with-the-new, out-with-the-old mindset is so strong.
These three fruits are the mawaeng (a type of aubergine), the ma-uek (furry aubergine) and the ma khwaen (small seeds similar to peppercorns). All three have excellent properties of their own, and are ingredients in some wonderful dishes.
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