Sunday, January 22, 2012

Adventures in Fruit

Summer has arrived in our part of the world.  The days are getting hotter and hotter (and hotter), kids are out of school for the summer holiday, and shark patrols are in full force at beaches around the country.

One less obvious sign of summer is the exotic fruit at our local grocery store.  Drew and I have been eying the strange looking plants for awhile and last week, we decided to take some home.

First up was dragon fruit or pitaya as it is also known.  Although native to the Americas, this fruit is also cultivated in Asian countries as well as Australia.  The skin of the fruit is a vibrant pink and so beautiful that we couldn't resist buying it.  
Consensus on the taste?  The taste was very, very mild...think of the taste of honeydew melon and then water it down...a lot. It has a crunchy texture somewhat reminiscent of watermelon but with seeds like a kiwi fruit.  It would be a nice addition to a fruit salad in the future.  Plus, it makes me think of cookies & cream ice cream.  :-)

Up next was a durian which is known as the "king of fruits" in Southeast Asia, mostly for its size and distinct odor.  The outside of the fruit is quite spiky and hard enough that we needed a knife to open it.
The inside of the durian looked and felt a bit like bread dough.  The smell, though, was overpowering.  It smelled like fruit that is overripe and on it's way to rotten.  It's not a bad smell, just a very intense smell. Within a few minutes of opening it, our entire apartment smelled of durian.  In some countries, it is even illegal to ride public transportation while carrying a durian.
Sign forbidding durians on Singapore's Mass Rapid Transit
photo from
The last strange fruit that we tried were lychees.  Lychees are related to laurel trees and were first cultivated in China. The fruit has a hard outer shell and it looks rather like a bleached grape when you slice open the husk.  The inside of the fruit contains a seed.
This one was my favorite.  Drew likened the taste to "a smoky grape" and I agreed.  It was the perfect afternoon snack food.  Plus, it's high in Vitamin C so I was able to ward off scurvy at the same time.

Speaking of scurvy, our interest in exotic fruit stems from a game that we played awhile back called Puzzle Pirates.  One of the tasks in the game was to acquire tropical fruits such as durians, rambutans (related to lychees), and carambolas (star fruit).

Back in the States, we also tried horned melon, which will forever be known as "green snot fruit" in our house; quince, this one taught us to always look up preparation tips before consuming as quince is too hard and sour to eat raw; and cacao, a fruit whose seeds are the main component of chocolate.
Photos of fruits from Wikipedia

What strange fruits or foods have you tried on your travels?


  1. Cool post. I had strange fruits in Hawaii, I even picked rambutans.

    1. Very cool! I watch a lot of those cooking reality shows, one of which where they give contestants 4 random ingredients (often strange exotic ones) and tell them to make a yummy dish - durian has been an ingredient before! All the contestants had a hard time with it because of the pungent odor...did you guys end up eating it?

  2. Wow- so pretty! That cookies 'n cream fruit looked yummy. What did the smelly fruit taste like?

  3. I love your colorful pictures...mouth watering! I look forward to hearing about more food adventures.

  4. This is an amazing post! I love the photos, love the information (especially the "no durians on trains" part), love the colors, and love the writing. So very cool.

  5. Your reference to scurvy made me giggle.


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