Although the most common eggplant in the U.S. is long and purple, many different types of eggplant exist. Eggplants can be small and round like a golf ball or thin and long like a zucchini; they can be white, yellow, lavender, pink or green. Some of the more popular of these varieties include the Thai Yellow Egg, the Japanese White Egg, the Ping Tung Long, the African Garden Eggs and the Chinese Round Mauve.
The most common eggplant grown in Thailand is the Thai Eggplant. This golf-ball-sized vegetable is bitter in taste; the seeds are particularly bitter and are removed before cooking. This eggplant comes in many colors, but is typically green with yellow or white stripes. The Yellow Egg is a Thai heirloom eggplant. These egg-shaped vegetables are yellow in color. The Thai Long Green is another heirloom eggplant; it is long and light green. These eggplants are used cubed in hot curry dishes.
Japanese White Egg
The Japanese White Egg eggplant is very productive, giving large quantities of small white vegetables. These eggplants have a thin skin and a delicate, sweet flavor. The vegetable is slender and comes in a variety of colors: it can be white, pink, green, lavender or purple. Its stem is most often dark purple. The White Egg is roasted and served as a vegetable or added to Japanese soups or sesame chicken.
Ping Tung Long
The Ping Tung Long eggplant is long and dark purple. Its flesh is tender and sweet. Named after its native town of Ping Tung in Taiwan, it is popular throughout Asia. It is best when grilled and served with salt and olive oil.
African Garden Eggs
African Garden Egg eggplants are typically small and bitter. They are almost always yellow in color. This eggplant is usually grown in small gardens, and is eaten throughout West Africa. African Garden Eggs are chopped into small pieces, cooked, then mixed into various meat, fish and vegetable dishes and sauces.
Chinese Round Mauve
The Round Mauve eggplant is a Chinese heirloom with small to medium-sized fruits. It is pale lavender in color with subtle patterns of purple. It is usually eaten when it is the size of a tennis ball; this is when the seeds are least noticeable. The skin of the Chinese Round Mauve is soft, so it is rarely peeled. You can use this eggplant in almost any eggplant recipe. The Chinese Round Mauve plant is compact and, because it is highly ornamental, is often used as a decorative plant.