01/19/2013 - 01/27/2013 72 °F
I came from a family that loves fruit, and my kids seem to have inherited the habit from me. Guangzhou, a sub-tropical city with mild weather and abundant rainfall, offers a wide array of fruit beyond our typical experience. We are used to having a constant supply of fruit at home in Michigan, but the supply tends to be predictable with limited varieties, especially in winter. Here, I LOVE going fruit shopping. I bet I could choose a different fruit every single day and go almost a month without repeating!
This is the shop that we visit on a daily basis for our fruit needs. The owner, standing in the middle of shop, knows us by now and always offers us some discount for the amounts we buy.
This is what I bought one day from the shop. It lasted us a little over a day. The total cost is 150 yuan, about $25.
My Favorites so far...
Before I even got to Guangzhou, Zhexiong bought a huge bag of Shatin pummelos. Shatin is the English spelling for the location that grows them: Sha Tian in Mei County in Guangdong Province. They are of size of bowling balls with a very unique fragrance. People sometimes will put the peel in the fridge as a deodorant, or simply in the room as air freshener. Shatin pummelos are famous for being juicy and sweet, and they top my list of favorite fruits.
...the durian is distinctive for its large size, stomach-churning odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. ...
The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour that is strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as pleasantly fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and revolting. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust, and has been described variously as almonds, rotten onions, turpentine, raw sewage, and gym socks. The odour has led to the fruit's banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia.
The durian pictured here weighed about 15 lb, a big one I guess. It is so ripe that the bottom of the fruit has to be tied together, otherwise it would split apart on its own. Once I took the rubber band off, the fruits easily comes apart into sections. Each piece of the flesh has a pit inside. The smell is distinctive and strong. It definitely tastes way better than it smells.
Skyler's favorites so far...
At home, Skyler loves clementines for their sweet taste and easiness to peel. It is not surprising that his first love after we got to Guangzhou is the Sha Tang tangerine. Sha Tang tangerines resembles clementines in easiness to peel; the peel seems to loosen from the body when the tangerines are ripe. These tangerines are for sure sweeter and juicer than clementines. I have had plenty blah clementines in Michigan, but have not had any bad Sha Tang tangerines yet. Skyler typically eats about 20 in one sitting. Here is his set up when reading his favorite Land of Oz book while enjoying his favorite snack one afternoon.
Skyler's new find love is a fruit called "dragon eyes" if translated directly (its English name is "longan"). It is so named because it resembles an eyeball when its fruit is shelled (the black seed shows through the translucent flesh like a pupil/iris). The seed is small, round and hard, and of an enamel-like, lacquered black. The fully ripened, freshly harvested shell is bark-like, thin, and firm, making the fruit easy to shell by squeezing the fruit out as if one is "cracking" a sunflower seed. Skyler was quite reluctant to try them at first, but immediately fell in love with them after trying one after I lectured him about value of trying new and unfamiliar things. He has not quite mastered the technique of cracking the shell, so it is a project for him to uncover the flesh at this point still.
Ellie's favorites so far...
Ellie is a good eater in general, and she does not seem to be partial when it comes to fruits either. She happily ate whatever we put on the table and did not make any special requests until one day, she saw this.
Sugar canes costs about $1 a piece, and the seller will use a special knife to shell it for you. We bought one and came home with six foot-long pieces in a bag. What people typically do is to bite a piece off, and chew it like a gum. In the fear of Ellie pulling her teeth off when biting the sugar cane, I cut the cane into small bite pieces for her.
Other unusual fruits we had so far...
"Golden Money Orange" that is supposed to bring good fortune and lower your "inner fire". It has a strong citrus flavor and it is eaten as a whole skin included.
"Fire Dragon Fruit" that has this vibrant purple color. Once the skin is peeled off, the inside color is milky white with tiny black seeds. It has a very delicate flavor.