Alright, it’s the last fruit update from Taiwan. *Sigh* I’m going to miss the fruit here, both the familiar and the strange, as well as the easy access to fruit. Fruit stands on the corner are fantastic, I have to say, not to mention convenient. Well, on to the fruit.
First up, the custard apple ‘family’. Custard apples look like a big green pinecone, at least to me. They are full of delicious custard-like flesh and inedible black seeds that you get at by peeling the green sections off one by one. Eventually you can just scoop the delicious innards out. It’s a slow eat, due to the seeds, but the taste of custard is delicious. It has the consistency of a ripe to overripe banana, or maybe a really squishy, beat-up apple – soft, but with underlying firmness.
There’s also the pineapple-custard apple, a crossbreed which we only saw right before we left Taiwan. I think a friend called them Buddha fruit once. They’re a cross-breed and are close to custard apples (obviously), but with fewer seeds, firmer flesh, and a sweeter taste. I quite enjoyed them and was sad that this was probably a once-in-a-lifetime taste. Oh well, once is better than never!
Staying on a green streak, next up are jujubes. I don’t know the Chinese, or even if this is the ‘proper’ name for this fruit, but that’s what I’ve heard it called in English the whole time I’ve been here, so I’ll stick with it. This fruit is like a small, tart apple – very crisp and juicy, with a pit in the middle. They’re great for traveling around with – no worries about bruising, tasty, and cheap.
Changing over to red, but staying with fruit that was new to me in Taiwan, here we have wax apples. While jujubes might have the consistency of an apple, wax apples, surprisingly, do not. I think the name comes more from their shape and colour, but that’s where the similarities end. Wax apples have the consistency of watermelon – rather porous, but not as juicy. They’re crunchy, but more crunchy like that fresh-cut watermelon, rather than crunchy like an apple. They’re terrific, just as long as you get that idea of apples out of your head. There’s a little twist to the taste, but it’s hard for me to describe. I guess you’ll just have to try it yourself, sorry!
We’ve discovered a couple of different types of melon while here – the red cantaloupe, as it’s called in Chinese, and the meinong gua (meinong melon), which as far as I know has no English name other than the one I just gave it (Meinong is a town outside of Kaohsiung, but I have no idea if the two are connected). The red cantaloupe was quite tasty, definitely looking more reddish than a normal cantaloupe, but tasting pretty much the same.
The meinong melon is yellow on the outside and white on the inside and has a taste closer to a honeydew, but with much firmer flesh – it’s almost crunchy. I quite enjoyed both, but the meinong melon wins out in my estimation here (Chris isn’t a big melon fan in the first place).
Chinese New Year has come and gone. Oranges are a huge symbol for the holiday, representing wealth, I believe. This year, we saw giant oranges for sale and just had to pick one up. They were almost as big as your head and looked especially huge sitting next to the regular oranges and the kumquats. When we peeled it, however, we found that it was mostly peel and the fruit wasn’t terribly great. Go figure. Ah well, it was worth the experience.
Lastly, I have to give a shout-out to candied fruit. You see it all over, anyplace there is a gathering of people. Usually you find candied strawberries and cherry tomatoes, but there’s also a dark fruit (not pictured here) that I haven’t figured out yet. Figs? Sometimes they stuff it in the tomatoes as well. It’s all covered with a delicious red candied topping – no candied apples here, but candied strawberries more than make up for that fact for me!
And that’s it for fruit in Taiwan. Goodbye, my tropical sweets!