Speaking of (Cr-)Asian Fruits and Fruit Juices (Part 1)….
So far I’ve written about rambutan (funky and delicious) and durian (not so good). I have not even begun to cover the rest of the crazy fruits I’ve come across in (super-)markets. Here’s a brief overview of the ones I have tried so far, no doubt to be supplemented by tons more in a week or so. I have this stuff in the fridge and I’m slowly becoming addicted to that particular “jelly” texture so ubiquitous to the Pan-Asian palate.
First and foremost, yangmei (a.k.a Myrica rubra) – A little hairy fruit with an awesome texture, a bit like what I imagine biting into a baby hedgehog must be like (but not painful). Moist and sweet with a sour twang and a blood-red juice guaranteed to stain your lips and teeth for a few hours. Totally worth it.
Salak (Snake fruit) – This one is a bit odd. What looks like thick, dry snake-sin wrapped around a three enlarged garlic cloves. In reality these are the pulp of the fruit, each containing a big black seed. The flesh has an apple-like texture, crunchy moist, but at the same time sort of chalky, as if coated in a thing layer of starchy powder. The flavor lingers between sweet and sour, a bit like the sour tones of a pineapple but also quite citrusy. Difficult to find something to compare it to. I don’t think I will buy a box of these again but definitely interesting to try out once.
Lychee – well these are pretty well-known around the world. The amazing thing is that a 500 gram carton of these costs around $2 USD at the supermarket and the resulting access people have to that deliciously juicy, moist, pearly white jelly. Before I came here I only ever saw it, peeled, at the bottom of my martini glass. Now I wake up craving that texture, I go into the kitchen, open the fridge, peel a few and pop them in my mouth whole, swishing around the flesh, sucking it off the seed and spitting the seed out. It’s a part of my day now.
Pitaya (Dragon fruit)- The fancypants fruit. If I was a plant I would not take whatever it had to say seriously. Split this thing in half and you get two white pits with tiny black seeds which contrast starkly with the pink frilly exterior, to make this truly the weirdest looking fruit I’ve ever tried. The flesh is a bit like watermelon, not too much flavor (watery) but a really soft, refreshing texture. The seeds are surprisingly savory, not sweet, almost like sesame or pumpkin seeds with their own unique type of oil. Cool to try once, definitely interesting to look at but probably would not get this again as it doesn’t have much to offer flavor-wise.
Black current aloe vera juice. Awesome. Hands down my favorite juice here and probably one of the best I’ve ever tried. The black current is sweet with a very slight tang, a taste which is a blend between dark grape, licorice (the good kind, red) and the “purple” spectrum of a rainbow. Deep, sweet and delicious. Aloe vera jelly floating around inside makes the texture awesome, little gummy bites of jelly in each mouth-ful, a bit thicker juice overall.
Stayed tuned for more!