Waxberries

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Longan

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The longan, or dragon’s eye in Chinese, is a small round fruit that’s similar to a lychee. I would consider it a tropical fruit, because I never saw it anywhere in Europe. The fruit is mostly eaten raw here, though it is sometimes used in sweet and sour meat dishes.

The tree bark-like skin peels away easily revealing a translucent fruit with a black stone inside. This gives it its Chinese name, as the black stone resembles an eyeball. The flesh is extremely juicy and very refreshing. It’s sweet, with just a hint of soapiness that I link to lychees.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 7

 

Sea buckthorn juice

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Sea buckthorn is a fruit that grows in Europe, even in my own country, and yet I had never heard of it until I saw bottles of its juice here in Chinese supermarkets. That’s probably because, at least according to Wikipedia, the fruit is very acidic and unpleasant to eat.

They’re also difficult to harvest due to the abundance of thorns on the plants. You can, however, use the fruits to make juice or jams if you just add enough sugar. That’s how the once sour, almost inedible berry found its way to my kitchen.

The juice still had to touch of sourness, which reminded me of a green apple, but there was also a sweetness that I would swear resembles pineapple. It was nice to find multiple layers of flavor in the juice of only one fruit. That’s something you normally only find in a blend of juices. It’s good for you too, as it’s high in vitamin C.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 9

Durian chocolate

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Here’s the second round for that notorious king of fruit, the durian. In Indonesia I was beaten, and now I was back for revenge. This time the smelly fruit manifested itself in the form of chocolate. I really thought that this time I would come up trumps, as I am a bit of a chocaholic.

That sweet yet putrid smell of decaying flowers that entered my nose on opening the packaging brought me back to Bali immediately. Now I was hesitant. Reluctant even. That taste of raw onions and rotting meat also came back to me.

The second time around I was still horrified by the taste of this foul smelling fruit. The chocolate did mellow it out just enough for me to swallow my first piece of chocolate, but not enough to go back for seconds.

Fear Factor – 8 / Taste Test – 1

Kumquat

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Another mysterious fruit of my youth, the kumquat. The kumquat comes from the citrus family. It’s orange in color, shaped like an egg, but much smaller than any of the other citrus fruits. I’d only ever heard about these fruit when I was younger.

I picked up a bag of kumquats from the supermarket blatantly unaware of how to eat them. As I cut into one of them thinking I’d eat it as if it were a tangerine I was surprised by the lack of visible flesh. What little was there was very juice and sweet, but at this rate I would have to open about a hundred before I would have quenched my thirst.

Perhaps they weren’t fully ripe yet, so I had a look on Google for some more information. It turns out that you eat them as a whole, skin and all. I cut another open and removed the pips and cut off a few slices.

I expected the rind to be bitter, but there was only a slight underlying bitter note. Instead I found a little piece of textural heaven all in one bite. First you go through the chewy, slightly bitter, ring. Then comes the sweet almost creamy flesh and at last you get a big hit of sweet juice as the flesh releases its juice. This was a nice little find. I can imagine it makes for a great marmalade.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 8