Saturday, June 8, 2013

Taste Test: Exotic Fruits

Despite my love for food, I refuse to drive for more than 5 minutes to go to a grocery store. That means that trips to the farmer's market, which is 20-30 min away, are a very rare occurrence for me. But when I go, I make it an occasion and buy a bunch of things I don't usually get. At my last trip to the Asian farmer's market in town, I decided to try fruits that I have never had before. I went all out and picked some things that I hadn't even heard of and some fruits that I have always wanted to try. My selection is pictured here:

Top (left to right): Thai guava, zapote, cherimoya
Bottom: dragon fruit, kumquats

The first to go were the kumquats. I don't know if the rinds are edible, but I did eat them. The kumquats did have a pretty acidic flavor, reminiscent of oranges, but a lot more acidic. The rinds weren't bitter. I found this fruit very refreshing and delicious. I loved how they little pieces exploded in my mouth after biting into them.

I was very curious about the zapote and cherimoya because I had never even heard of them. So, I cut into them the first day. The cherimoya was soooo good! I read that it's also called a custard apple, and I see how it gets its name. It is very soft and melts in your mouth. The taste is sweet, but not cloying. It does feel like eating pudding, but with even better, fresher taste. Unfortunately, I was kind of disappointed from the zapote. The one I had was half ripe, half too hard. I couldn't even cut into the unripe part, and the rest was on the point of being mushy. The taste was kind of bland too. But I made the best of it by mixing it with the cherimoya in a fruit salad :) The two different tastes balanced each other very well. In the picture above, the cherimoya is the white mush on the bottom, and the zapote is the orange pieces.

(Important note! I did look up all fruits before I tried them. Turns out the seeds in the cherimoya contain toxic compounds and are inedible. I made sure to remove all of them. If you do decide to try any unfamiliar fruit, please look it up before tasting it.)

At that point I was also anxious to try the dragon fruit. Just like I had heard, it looks pretty, but it has a very mild taste. It indeed is pretty, with its black seeds and bright magenta outer pulp. The texture has some bite to it, it's not all mushy and soft. So I added it to my fruit salad to add almost like a little crunch to the soft cherimoya and zapote. The final product was delicious!

A couple of days later I tried the guava as well. The Thai variety has white flesh, while the Mexican variety is pink. The Thai guava didn't impress me at all. It was very bland, with a slightly tangy flavor. I was hoping to something sweeter and resembling the guava candy they give out in some Asian restaurants. I just want to point out that my guava was ripe to the touch, so the lack of flavor is not due to it being unripe. But now I'm really curious to try the pink guava, which is supposed to be sweeter. Maybe I'll pick it up during my next trip to the grocery store, along with more cherimoya :)