Today, I’m spending the day bracing myself for the Writing 101 event, so I’m just going to post pictures of tropical fruits available here in Malaysia.
I’m not bringing a stinky durian into this house, so just imagine a cantaloupe that’s covered in spikes and smells like a banana rotting inside a gym bag. It’s a big thing in this country, but almost no one else on the planet likes it. Because of its obnoxious odor, and, presumably, its use as a weapon, it’s banned on the subways in Taipei and Singapore. I tasted it, and had to eat three (3) cloves of garlic to remove the taste from my mouth. Every culture, of course, has some heinous food they consider a delicacy, but which causes most other people to scratch their heads or dry heave. As far as I can tell, durian is the Malaysian answer to Taiwan’s stinky tofu.
Jackfruit looks a lot like a durian, but is slightly larger and more oblong. It’s also crazy sweet and has a slightly fibrous texture. The edible yellow pods have a giant pit in the middle, so one typically eats the fruit by stripping bits of it off like string cheese. This will make your house and refrigerator smell sweet, even weeks after it’s gone. If durian is Jayne Cobb, jackfruit is Kaylee Frye.
We’ve all probably had some sort of passionfruit-flavored this, that or the other at some point. What you may not know is that the actual passionfruit is wonderfully sweet and tart, and has some big black edible seeds that are fine if you eat the fruit with a spoon, but are super annoying when you blend them into a drink. Also weird is that it kind of looks like goblin snot. Pro tip: strain the seeds out before making a beverage out of passionfruit.
Dragon Fruit (Pitahaya)
There are two types of dragon fruit, so far as I can tell: white and red. White is white on the inside, and red is really more of a neon magenta than anything else. Both varieties have black seeds, like those of a kiwi. Also like a kiwi, but to a lesser degree, dragon fruit is tart. The skin (inedible) is waxy, thick and rubbery like a prop for a science fiction movie, but is surprisingly easy to cut with a knife–imagine room temperature butter. One note is that the flesh of the red variety, if eaten in quantity (roughly half or more of one fruit) will stain your insides, and you will be pissing magenta for the rest of the day. It could be a great prank if you have to take a drug test.
I had a post a while back with some pictures of a rambutan tree I found when I stumbled onto an orchard in the jungle. Rambutan (singular and plural), have these thick hairs on their outsides, but they’re almost rubbery like a dragon fruit’s exterior. The inside is white like a peeled grape, and tastes pretty much the same. In the middle of the flesh is an inedible pit the size of an almond, so don’t just chomp into a rambutan unless you’re trying to remove your own teeth.