Saturday, September 18, 2010

Adventures in Fruit

Have there been no adventures of late? I think not. I think if there is ever a lack in adventures being reported it cannot mean an actual lack of adventure, but merely a lack of man's ability to report adventures and still do all the educational research that is due and that doesn't, frustratingly, write itself.

One of the many adventures in which our brave explorers have been engaged of late is the adventure, that great sweet adventure, the adventure of Fruit.

The world is full of much delicious fruit. It is all rather good for you, and even the mediocre among the fruits are able to make one happy. However, some fruits are particularly sweet and delectable and have the added advantages of being among the weirdest freaky things that grow on this planet. Here is a quick tour:

The Sugar Apple

First of all, I think the sugar apple needs a new name. Wikipedia says I can also call it a sweetsop, which I think I will, because this is nothing like an apple and I want to support people who show creativity in their naming of fruits.

The Sweetsop

The sweetsop does not look appetizing. It looks, in fact, rather like the egg sac of a particularly large and creepy insect.

But if you are socially pressured enough to try one, you shall not be disappointed. So suck it up, smile, and put one in your bowl! If it's sufficiently ripe, upon landing in the bowl it will fall open into a pile of white flesh. This may also disconcert you, but just keep eating. You'll be just fine. The taste is magnificent - very very sweet and almost floral. It almost tastes like jasmine flowers. You eat the little sections one at a time - sucking off everything but the skin and the seeds. Like a durian, it's actually a little too sweet to eat a large amount at once. One whole fruit is pushing it. But it is a lovely experience.

¡Aye Carambola!

A carambola is better known as a star fruit. I have no idea why.

This one was particularly lovely while I was slicing it up for my breakfast, but unfortunately not very sweet. The texture is very fun to eat, and occasionally if you get a sweet one it is quite tasty.

Maybe the star fruit isn't exotic enough to be very interesting, but sometimes if you're lucky enough to have a red cutting board it can at least be a fun little political exercise.

Fruit Buffet

I accidentally ate at a steak restaurant the other day. I say accidentally because I was standing outside trying to read the menu and I happen to be very very slow at reading and I was standing there long enough and the waitress looking at me long enough that I started to feel awkward and would have felt like a jerk if I then walked away. Having odd social compunctions can really cost a lot of money sometimes.

The steak was expensive by Taiwan terms - I think I spent about $9 on my dinner, which is astronomical here. But it was from a real American cow. I know this because the icon on the menu was a little cartoon cow with an American flag on its butt. So I ordered it in the hopes that maybe it grew up on my sister's ranch in Lewistown. It probably did. Thanks, guys! It was tasty!

But the best part of the steak restaurant was the all-you-can-eat salad bar, fruit and ice cream. The salad was DANG good, which doesn't happen often here, and the fruit... well, it was just an assortment of everything that's in season now which is, you know. Dragonfruit, passion fruit, star fruit and pomelo. Let me tell you about passion fruit - it's that little cup of yellow jewels in the photo. It's fragrant - you can smell it across the room. And then you eat it and BAM! It's sour and aromatic and smacks you between the eyes. And the black seeds are crunchy and it's just all-around pleasant to eat. Plus, the inside of the shell was holding on to the seeds with these little fleshy stems and I'm just totally sure this is an alien lifeform that accidentally got dropped on earth. Too bad suckers! We totally stole your extraterrestrial fruit and we're gonna eat it all, thank you very much.


And now we're to the pomelo. (I like how all of these things have English names as if any native speaker would have the foggiest idea what you're talking about.)

This is a specialty at Mid-Autumn Festival, and this is how you eat it:

First, you pick one whose skin is starting to get old and dry and saggy. Because older means sweeter and more satisfying. This is also true for cute 29-year-old girls you pick to take out on dates. The smooth green ones are always distracting but don't fall for it!

Then you decapitate them. (Um, the cute girl analogy ended at the last picture) I messed up and cut through some flesh. I don't know how you can tell where the flesh starts and where is just thick white peel.

Then, you make a series of vertical cuts around the side from which you peel.

You have to peel it in one piece. To prove your man/womanhood and dexterity.

Why do you need to remove it in one piece? So you can put it on your head of course. I'm not kidding! I'm being a dang cultural anthropologist here! This is what actual Chinese people do at the mid-autumn festival. They wear fruit peels on their heads.


And even better than the pomelo hat (though you must admit, it's hard to get better than the pomelo hat) is the fruit that you get to eat. It's like grapefruit's older, more responsible sister. Sweet, drier and firm, without the juice everywhere. (Um, I don't know whether that analogy is actually going anywhere. Just eat the fruit and pretend I didn't say anything.)

Another successful culinary adventure!


  1. Ah, Morgan. Only you could make me want to eat fruit that I can't pronounce! :0)
    I have seen that kitty picture but had no idea that was what his little helmet was made of. I think you look cuter in yours, by far. I'm sure your picture will go just as viral.
    Thanx so much for your tender comment on my blog the other night. I read it to my family and we sat there and bawled together. Even the big manly, men. How kind of you to think those thoughts and to share them. Its what I hoped people felt while they were in my home.
    Hope all is well on the other side of the earth---

  2. Ahhh I've been craving pomelo for months now :( And I have yet to taste a Durian-have you had some?! It's on my thing-to-do list :)

  3. I have Lydia - it's very strong and very sweet. I don't think it's as disgusting as some claim, but is definitely an experience to be had. :)

  4. I love pommelos and all the other yummy fruit found in Taiwan. Thanks for the post. Now I miss Taiwan even more.