Pepino Melon

 

imageI saw these fruits lying around the supermarket that are roughly the size of an apple, though they are egg-shaped and streaked with purple. After some online research I found they are called pepino melon, though they are in fact not actually melons. That was good news for me as I don’t really enjoy melon all that much.

Well, they may not be related to melons, they sure do taste like them. They have a similar mouthfeel, texture and taste to a melon, which I think is quite watery. They just don’t have a thick rind, more like a chewy skin. Thicker than the skin of an apple at least. I’m sure that if you like melons you would enjoy these little fruits. I on the other hand was less impressed.

Fear Factor – 1 / Taste Test – 5

Advertisements

Persimmon

IMG_7275

Persimmon is another one of those fruits that grows in many places in the world, but is hardly ever eaten in the western countries. At least to my recollection. In Asia it’s quite a popular fruit, especially in China and Japan. It’s an autumnal fruit that closely resembles a tomato in appearance, except that it has an orange color. It can be eaten fresh, dried or turned into cakes.

I tried some fresh ones and waited for them to be nice and ripe. When I cut one open, the inside also looked much like a tomato. The texture, however, is completely different. It’s not at all watery, but rather soft and fleshy like a ripe peach. If you let it ripen until its soft it will also be sweeter, as persimmons can be a little astringent when firm. I must say I rather enjoyed this piece of fruit. As always I added some to my morning muesli and yogurt.

Fear Factor – 2 / Taste Test – 8

 

 

Haw flakes

IMG_7075

Haw flakes is a candy from China that is made from the hawthorn fruit known as haw. Hawthorne is a small tree that grows around Europe, Africa and Asia. The Chinese hawthorn bears a fruit that resembles a red berry. These berries can be eaten raw, but are often made into a sweet dish, such as  these haw flakes.

The berries are treated and compressed into small discs the size of a quarter. Stacks of these discs are sold in supermarkets resembling a fire cracker. I tried some recently and found them to be very sweet indeed. It wasn’t exactly too sweet though, and you could still taste some sourness from the fruit as well. The interesting part was the texture. It was a little like eating old Play dough, soft yet crumbly.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 7

Cape Gooseberry

IMG_7044

The cape gooseberry is one of the fanciest looking fruits, at least in my humble opinion. A little round yellow fruit is covered by a paper skin, giving it the appearance of a lantern. For this reason it’s often found as a garnish on desserts. Here in China, however, the fruit is eaten as any other fruit. They were recently back in season, and I couldn’t resist buying a box of these pretty berries.

Although this berry has many similar looking fruits in the physalis family, not all are edible. The cape gooseberry, that’s originally from Peru, is one of the edible varieties. The small round berry is yellow in color and resembles a small tomato, with many seeds throughout the fruit. When eaten whole, the berry pops like a grape releasing its sweet juices. I found they not only look like tomatoes, but they also taste like them. Therefore I wouldn’t recommend having them with your morning bowl of yogurt and muesli like I did.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Teste 6

Waxberries

IMG_6094

Waxberries are a Chinese berry type that’s also known as yangmei or bayberry. It’s shaped like an orb with lots of pointy bumps all over its dark red skin. I can’t help but make a comparison with a golf ball, if golf balls were red. I mostly see these berries dried or soaked in alcohol, but a few months in a year you can find them fresh.

I picked up a bunch at the supermarket and as always mixed them in my yogurt. I didn’t realize they had a big pit inside. I always thought berries didn’t have a big pit. Perhaps it’s a stone fruit after all. The taste reminded me of blackberries, a little sweet, a little sour and a touch of earthiness. Personally I enjoyed them more with a sprinkle of sugar.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 7

Purple dragon fruit

IMG_6049

I’ve tried dragon fruit before, but always the white variety. There’s also a purple kind that I wanted to try out. I bought some purple dragon fruit and had it on its own as well as mixed in with some yogurt and muesli.

Besides the color there is no distinction between this one and the regular white variety. Both have a soft, yet firm texture, and are sweet and a little watery. If you like normal dragon fruit, then I’m sure you will like this one too. It did have the added bonus of turning my yogurt pink.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test 7

Mangosteen

IMG_5880

The mangosteen is a tropical fruit that grows in South East Asia. When in season it’s easy to find here in China, though it isn’t traditionally cultivated here. The fruit comes with a thick red or purple shell that is difficult to open without a knife. The trick is to push in the bottom with a thumb, creating a hole.

The fruit itself is made up of different white segments resembling a garlic bulb. The flesh is soft to the point of being creamy. The smaller segments can be eaten whole, but the larger sections have a hard pit inside, which you’d better just spit out.

Mangosteens are juicy and sweet, a real treat on a hot spring or summer day. There is an earthiness to the fruit, but the flavor isn’t very strong. If I had to choose another fruit to compare it to I’d say a ripe peach would come close.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 8

Jackfruit

IMG_5867

The jackfruit is like the little brother of the strong smelling Durian. It’s similar in shape and size, often the size of a football helmet adorned with spiked. Jackfruit also emits a strong smell, a sickly sweet smell of a room full of flowers. Jackfruit is usually eaten on its own, though in some countries it’s turned into a curry.

The flesh has a chewiness and a bite to it not unlike that of cooked chicken. I guess that’s why it makes for a great curry. The flavor is sweet, like its smell, but it also has a slightly spoilt taste. This is where the durian comparison comes in.

Personally I like jackfruit a lot better than durian, as it doesn’t just taste rotten, but sweet as well. However, I’m not a big fan either. Sometimes you come across a piece of flesh that does taste more “off”, and it’s hard to swallow.

Fear Factor – 2 / Taste Test – 5

Dragon fruit

IMG_5423

The dragon fruit is a tropical fruit that I’d never even heard about as a kid. It’s eaten all over China and South East Asia, but actually comes from Mexico and South America where it is called Pitahaya. Though there are a few varieties the most common one here in China has white flesh.

The flesh is very juicy and is really refreshing. It’s a little bit sweet as well. The texture is more like a banana, not too soft and not too hard. Like a banana it’s easy to peel making it a handy on-the-go snack. There are dozens of blacks seeds within the flesh, but these can be eaten without chewing as they’re neither big nor hard.

I rather like this fruit, although I wouldn’t want to eat too much of it, as its taste reminds me of cucumber and watermelon, two other watery fruits that I don’t really like. It’s good in a fruit salad though, or with some yogurt.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 7

Durian Pizza

IMG_5953

Earlier on in this blog I mentioned I’d tried a blueberry pizza. Before then, I never thought a fruit pizza could work. Though I’m still not 100% convinced, at least it wasn’t terrible. Today I went for a pizza buffet and found they were serving durian pizza. Durian. My enemy. I shall conquer you one day. Perhaps today would be my lucky day.

There was no bad smell coming off the pizza, but if you came in close, you could definitely smell that distinct aroma. Taste wise it was a similar experience. The flavor of durian was there, that slightly rotten taste, but it wasn’t overpowering. It wasn’t a side note on the background, the taste was definitely there. It was just not off-putting. I could actually finish the whole piece. Perhaps I finally conquered the mighty king of fruits. I didn’t go back for seconds though, it wasn’t THAT good.

Fear Factor – 7 – Taste Test – 5