Papaya is one of the easiest plants to grow, but I don’t see it planted in many Bangkok backyards. This is probably because the fruit is available all year round and can be purchased at any time. This is OK if you are not particular about the variety, but those who prefer kaek-dahm complain that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find.
An old cultivar, kaek-dahm is cylindrical with reddish-orange flesh that is very sweet, and is considered by many Thais as the best. However, the fruit is delicate and does not keep very long, unlike the latest hybrid called Holland, which is now the most common in markets throughout Bangkok.
Holland is a boon to both growers and vendors as it has a thick skin and can travel well, and in the market it has a long shelf life. For these reasons, it was thought to be genetically modified when it first made its appearance some years ago. It is beautiful but nowhere near as sweet and tender as kaek-dahm if its skin is only yellowish or yellow. You have to wait until it has turned yellow-orange, which indicates that it is fully ripe, unlike kaek-dahm which is sweet even when the skin is still greenish.
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