Tropical Fruit Goodness and Papaya Jam

Poolside at the Apsara Rive Droite

Poolside at the Apsara Rive Droite

Don’t you love the delicious things you discover while traveling? My favorites are anything with fruit, either fresh or made into something delightful.

I’ve discovered several new fruits during my travels this year—snakeskin fruit and milk apple being two I’d never even heard of before.

I also surprised myself by enjoying a fruit I’ve known about since I was a kid, but have always tried to avoid eating: papaya. I’m not sure if my taste buds have matured or if it has just been perfect papaya season here in Southeast Asia (for the past four months!). Regardless, I’m happy to add another healthy and yummy fruit into my diet.

I spent several weeks in Luang Prabang, Laos, in January, where the papaya was particularly good. It was served to me almost every day for breakfast, regardless of whether I was staying at a hotel I was reviewing for (lucky me) or whether I was on “vacation” and staying at a guesthouse on my own dime.

One boutique hotel I stayed at did something particularly delicious with papaya. The Apsara Rive Droite ( is on the “far” side of the river from the UNESCO zone in Luang Prabang. This means a) it is allowed to have a pool, b) it is not nearly as touristy, and c) that you get a two-minute boat ride on the Apsarian Queen when you go to town.

It also means that you get to eat their delicious breakfasts, which included this papaya jam. Many thanks to the Apsara Rive Droite for hosting my stay and for sharing their delicious jam recipe!

Papaya Jam

Papaya Jam

Papaya (or mango) jam adapted from the Apsara Rive Droite, Luang Prabang, Laos

2 kg of papaya or mango, sliced and peeled (or combine them both!)
Juice from 6 oranges and 3 limes (if you roll them firmly on the counter first, you can get more juice out of them)
Zest from 1 lime
750 g sugar or to taste
1 tsp salt

Add everything into a pot and bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently (be careful not to let anything burn on the bottom of the pot).

Once it cools a little, taste it and decide if you’d like a bit more sugar or lime.

Follow standard jam making directions to sterilize and pack into jars, or keep refrigerated in an airtight container for a week or so.

Spread liberally on everything!


The aspara.

The aspara.

PS: Curious about what an apsara is? A beautiful Hindu and Buddhist water nymph, famed for their dancing ability!

Johanna Read

About Johanna Read

TravelEater, aka Johanna Read, is a Canadian who loves travelling and loves eating, but hates eating tourist food. She collects -- and shares -- advice about eating around the world (and about what to do between snacks). Johanna is World Travel Buzz's new International Eating Expert and will be writing a monthly column.